How can I be more sustainable?
It's AWESOME you're asking that! Being more sustainable often seems to mean doing WITHOUT! But, no: Becoming more sustainable means doing and being MORE with LESS.
Using the areas of sustainability that the Sustainable Manawatu database is categorised under, we suggest the following:
With business, organisations and government agencies?
- Shop at local, green businesses - Check out the '100 kms shopping list' and 'Local Green businesses'
Encourage less packaging by bringing your own bags. See local business POOP
- Encourage less packaging by making your opinions to vendors known
- When buying takeaway coffee or food, bring your own cup (See Ideal Cup) or container
- Encourage businesses to consider where they source their products' raw materials from
- Buy local, buy secondhand; or 'make', instead of 'buy', see MAKE
- Join local environmental groups and support their causes, and benefit from their activities. See 'Not for profit groups and NGO's' ï»¿
- Support larger national or international groups. See Transition Aotearoa, Global Focus, for some examples of these. ï»¿
- Check out and show your support for sustainability initiatives of PNCC, of Horizons of DOC. See 'Government Agencies'
Research local, green candidates; vote for the environment. See Environment Network Manawatu website for local candidates' answers to ENM's 2010 environmental survey
- Use the groups you're in to advocate for sustainable actions: kapa haka; Toastmasters; church; playcentre; your arts or sports club etc. This can be as simple as organising recycling or composting for your group's centre.
With food and gardening?
- Begin composting and wormfarming. See Going Greener courses; Supergrans wormfarming video; Organic Pathways ï»¿
- Plant your own vegetable garden. See Pickyourownfromhome, Palmy seedsaver or 'Iwi Perspectives'
- Join a local community garden. See 'Community Gardens'
- Upskill or share your gardening skills with the many community courses and initiatives.
- Buy organic, local food. See Palmy Farmers market; Steves Whole Foods; Organic Living shop
- Avoid excess packaging.
With Education, Activities and Advocacy?
- Keep actively informed about current issues under scrutiny in local and wider government and write submissions to local and wider government See Manawatu Action Group
- Join local groups' submission activities. See Forest and Bird Manawatu; PNCET; WECA; Manawatu Action Group for some examples
- Experience the value of getting out in nature and sharing the connection with others. See 'Places to visit, bush walks, getting out in nature'
- Join local environment groups: www.environmentnetwork.org.nz
- Build resilience through connection-strengthen networks in your own neighbourhood. See Ashhurst Action Group, Neighbourhood support, Environment Network Manawatu, Transition Towns
- Recognise areas of sustainability knowledge you'd like to develop more and commit to a course! See 'Education, Activities and Advocacy'
- Recognise areas of sustainability knowledge you may have and offer to share it!
- See our database for endless ideas for ways to keep motivated and to make a difference in these areas
- Cycle, Bus, Walk and Carpool. See 'Active Transport' and 'Central Region Rideshare'
- Consider joint ownership of cars. Visit 'Creative ways with cars'
- Surrender ownership of cars and join a car share group: 'Carpools'
- Support biofuels research and electric cars. See 'Renewable Fuels'
- Let your support for more and new public transport initiatives be known at PNCC, Horizons. See 'Government Agencies'
- Drive less and more economically. See Energywise for some tips
- Own a smaller car
- Get to know your neighbours-share transport
- Support, have your say on, urban design initiatives that are public and active transport-friendly. See Sustainable City Group
With Energy and Recycling?
- Invest in energy-saving lightbulbs and dispose of them wisely. See Rightlight
- If buying new appliances, purchase on the basis of energy efficiency
- Adjust your hot water
- Support renewable energy initiatives. See local inventor's vege oil car!
- One person's trash is another person's treasure. See 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'
- Recycle your old computers' hard drive, monitors, printers. See Green Hub
- Insulate. See local insulation companies at 'Conserving energy'
With Natural Environment?
- Plant more trees. For ideas, see 'Growing natives'
- Learn more about weed threats. Visit, 'Pests and weeds'
- Plant more local seed sourced, native trees
- Conserve your water; protect your waterways. Check out, 'Water Quality'
- Make consumer choices that are based on kindness to the environment
- Visit and value nature often
- Protect natural environments from threat: Horizons covenants; DOC Biodiversity support
- Be aware and upskill on the Resource Management Act. See RMAlink
...some sustainable thinking tips...
To act more sustainably, we need to think more sustainably: How do I think more sustainably?
- Be aware of the pressure to €˜buy new and better' and resist it
- Value the old and already-used
- Try to avoid economics versus environment thinking; rather see environmental sustainability as an opportunity for profit
- Encourage a value system that transcends the materialistic
- See the creative potential in objects for upcycling and recycling
- Be future based in your thinking eg will my action help preserve this resource for my grandchildren and for their grandchildren?
- Value your connection to the Earth and to all the resources it/he/she provides us
- Be open to nature's complexity, beauty and to learning about and respecting the interdependence of nature's ecosystems.
- Consider the finiteness of the resources we use
- Consider the generations to come
- Talk with friends and family about these ways of thinking
Keep moving in the right direction, one step at a time. If you slip up, don't give up, don't beat up! Just get back to keeping on walking in the same direction: sustainably, for the increased value of the present, for the good of the future, for the good of the Earth.
Come see Sustainable Manawatu database for ways to resource these ways of thinking.