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Posts Tagged ‘local’

Habitat for Humanity

Monday, February 16th, 2009



What do they do?
Habitat for Humanity is an international not-for-profit organisation. The ultimate goal of Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the face of the earth by building adequate and basic housing. Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand is a not-for-profit Christian organisation that works in partnership with people of goodwill and families in need, to eliminate sub-standard housing by building and selling simple, decent houses on an affordable basis.

How can I get involved?

Volunteering for house builds - There are 11 Habitat for Humanity “affiliates” (branches) throughout New Zealand, from Northland to Invercargill. House builds take place throughout the year, dependent on land availability and building consent.

Assisting with fundraising - Habitat for Humanity encourage individuals and volunteers to come up with innovative and fun ways to work together with the community to raise further funds for their activities. If you would like to run an event or create personal challenges that will raise funds, contact your local affiliate.

Assisting with administration at your local affiliate – Volunteers can help in a range of different ways, not just on the building site! They need people that can assist with fundraising, catering for events, general administration, and all sorts of things. If you have a skill and some time that you think they may be able to make use of, go and check them out – they’d love to see you.

Global Village Trips - This is where teams of volunteers visit countries in need and help build houses in the local communities. Global Village teams bring invaluable support to the communities they visit. More homes are built each year because of the donation Global Village teams make to the host community. You do not need prior building experience. If you have a sense of adventure, are in good health and willing to work hard, you can be part of a Global Village team! Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or be part of an organized school, faith or service group. If you would like to join an existing team as an individual, check out the Global Village Trip Schedule and contact the team leader.

Connected Media

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009



What do they do?

Connected Media is a New Zealand based charitable trust whose mission is to promote sustainability through media.

How can I get involved?

In partnership with Enviroschools and the Global Education Centre, Connected Media run an annual Sustainability Film Challenge called ‘The Outlook for Someday’. Anyone up to the age of 20 can make a film on sustainability of any length up to 5 minutes, of any genre they like – drama, documentary, animation, music video, advertisement, video blog, reality tv. The prizes are awesome – laptops, cameras, even a short course at a film school. Deadlines for films is usually late September. Check out the website here: www.theoutlookforsomeday.net


Preparing for life after oil

Friday, September 12th, 2008

By Hannah Robson

oil_photoaWhat is the issue?
We all know about global warming and climate change and we all know about the rising price of petrol, but do you know that cheap’ oil WILL RUN OUT?! The world is so dependent on oil, but it is becoming increasingly expensive, we are running out of easily accessible oil and soon it will take more energy to extract it than it is actually worth.

Who is it going affect?
The consequence of Peak Oil is a potential energy crisis and, like global warming, will affect EVERYONE. Oil is used for so many things in today’s society, from the fuel in our cars to heating, food and clothing production, petroleum products are used to make plastics, fabrics, even cosmetics and medicines. Basically, your parents will start complaining about the cost of petrol and everything else (even more than they do now!), and from there petrol will become so ridiculously expensive that no one will be able to afford it. This is going to have a dramatic affect on us and change the way we live our lives. The cost of transport will mean we will travel less, trade fewer goods with other countries and we will have to give up or find alternatives for many everyday objects, from lip-gloss, to fertiliser to CDs!

What are people doing about it?
transition-townsWhile some people (mostly scientists and politicians) are focusing on new technology and other sources of energy, over 500 communities all over the world (including New Zealand) are facing the challenges of climate change and peak oil by looking for ways to become less dependent on oil and reduce their impact on the planet. These towns are known as Transition Towns and their aim is to create vibrant and thriving communities that are prepared for life after oil. There are dozens of these communities all over Britain, as well as the Sunshine Coast, Australia and New Zealand’s very own Waiheke Island, Orewa and Kapiti Coast. All up over 1,527,000 people are involved!

While this is happening at a local level there are also national and global principles in action. Nationally, some governments use energy rationing systems to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and globally, the Oil Depletion Protocol encourages nations to collectively reduce consumption, both oil producing and consuming nations.

What can we do?
There are lots more towns around New Zealand that have expressed interest in participating in this initiative. What about YOUR town?

The 12 steps of Transition
Curing our addiction to oil.

1. Get a team together — you need a group of keen and dedicated people to get the project going

2. Awareness raising - start informing people and get them talking about the issues, show some films like A Crude Awakening: the oil crash or An Inconvenient Truth, get some speakers in….make some noise!

3. Lay the foundations — find out what people are already doing in your community, start networking and build relationships with local businesses, schools and community groups.

4. Organise a Great Unleashing — have a (eco!)party and share your vision with the whole community.

5. Form working groups - get people focused on specific aspects of the process like food, water, transport, waste etc.

6. Try Open Space — bring everyone together and explore a particular topic or issue, with no agenda, no timetable, no coordinator and no minute takers, just let the ideas and discussion flow and see what happens.

7. Less talk, more action! Don’t just organise lots of meetings, show people what you are achieving.

8. Facilitate the Great Re-skilling — we seem to have forgotten how to do lots of things. Organise workshops on cooking, cycle maintenance, sock darning, gardening and food growing etc.

9. Make friends with your Local Government - Whether it is planning issues, funding or providing connections, you need them on board.

10. Honour your elders — Our grandparents lived in a lower energy society, before the age of consumerism and convenience. We could learn a lot from them.

11. Go with the flow — once your community is behind this it might not always go as your planned. Be flexible.

12. Create an Energy Descent Plan — Sounds serious doesn’t it? This is about combining all the work and plans so you cope as oil gets more and more expensive.

For more details on the 12 Steps to Transition and heaps more information go to www.transitiontowns.org.nz


You don’t have to be involved in Transition Towns to take action you could leave the car at home and catch a bus or train or walk— if you don’t need to drive, DON’T! — come on guys, you know the drill. Buy less, grow your own food, recycle. Don’t let the Peak Oil Crisis be another global issue that isn’t addressed until it becomes even more difficult Stop making excuses — it’s time to make ourselves aware and show we care!


Check out Beyond the Petrol Pump, by Omar Hamed
Borrow A Crude Awakening: the oil crash, An Inconvenient Truth, Syriana and loads more DVDs from the Global Education Centre
Check out the Green Party’s Peak Oil Campaign
Go to www.globalcool.org.uk and www.4million.org.nz for loads of ideas on reducing your personal carbon footprint
Check out some great tips for organic gardening at www.sustainablehouseholds.org.nz

    Let’s end poverty together!

    Thursday, December 8th, 2005

    Pania Walton

    Between August and October 2005 a group of dedicated students from Athena Montessori College in Wellington started investigating poverty with the Global Education Centre. What is poverty? Is it even a problem in Aotearoa New Zealand? What has it got to do with us? What can we do about it? As the questions started flowing, the answers followed, and the need to do something fun and interesting that would also make a positive difference started to grow.

    “In every country there’s poverty, and not just in the harsh countries like Africa and India.” Lily

    “I learnt that there’s poverty in New Zealand, which I didn’t know there was.”

    The students (Lily, Rowan, Caitlin, Jess, Tess, Caroline, and Chrissa) ended up painting a mural at the intersection of Ghuznee and Willis Streets in Wellington. But painting a mural isn’t as easy as you might think! The group wrote letters to the building owner, and St Peter’s Church next door to make sure that they could paint the mural where they wanted to. And because the wall faced a carpark, they had to make sure that the cars would be moved on the day they wanted to paint. Wellington City Council had to be consulted with too to make sure that they didn’t need to get resource consent. And then there was the weather — which wasn’t very cooperative!

    After researching how other muralists (such as Diego Rivera) got their point across, and carefully considering the message they wanted to portray, the group got to work.

    “If a bunch of kids can do something like this, then adults should too.” Jess

    “I thought that since we’re all separate countries that we’d all have our own rules and things like that, but I think it’s poverty that links us all.” Caitlin

    The mural can be seen on the corner of Ghuznee and Willis Streets in Wellington. Check it out next time you’re in the neighbourhood!

    Banking with minutes

    Monday, November 14th, 2005

    Omar Hamedclock

    A young minor offender being sentenced by his peers, an American insurance company being paid for in time, a peer tutoring system that rewards students with recycled computers and Glasgow residents paying for tarot card readings by doing gardening. Four very different applications of one simple idea. Time as currency.

    Across 12 countries, over 500 Time Banks are working towards what many see as the “Third Economy”. From Ghana to Japan there are now community organisations structured not around money but around time. It’s not charity, it’s community; it does not value dollars, it values time. Time Banks trade hours of voluntary work, work done for the community and for individuals. It does not create an economy, it creates a society.

    It works simply, you give up one hour of your time to voluntary work and you gain one time dollar. You can spend that tax free dollar on local services and other people’s time volunteered by other participating individuals and organisations. And it does not matter if you are a corporate lawyer doing community legal work or a sixteen year old tutoring your neighbour’s children, everyone’s hour is worth the same. A computer system calculates how many time dollars you have and sends you an account based on your earnings and spending.

    In London you can spend that time dollar on drama classes or gaining IT skills. There are no longer recipients of charity or what the creator of this system, American Civil Rights Lawyer, Edgar Cahn, calls “the throw away people”.

    Time Banks are based on four principles; Assets, that every human being is one, Redefining Work, no more taking women’s, children’s, or volunteers’ work for granted, Reciprocity, replacing one way acts with two way ones, and Social Capital, what British PM Tony Blair calls the “magic ingredient”, the work done that benefits the community and through ongoing investments of which we can turn social breakdown into social cohesion.

    Surprisingly, Time Banks have been incredibly successful. In London alone there are 31 Time Banks that have clocked up over 28 000 hours in voluntary work. In Chicago refurbished computers were given out to 4800 students, in up to 50 problem schools, who did one hundred hours of peer tutoring and whose parents also did eight hours of community work. Academic results went up, bullying went down.

    The crime ridden and notoriously poverty stricken housing development Benning Terrace in Washington DC now clocks up enough hours to buy four tons of food per month at the local food bank.

    Law firm Holland and Knight billed the Shaw community in Washington for $230 000 in time dollars after they closed crack houses, made frozen government money available for a local playground, cleaned up local police corruption and kept the neighbourhood school open. The community repaid this by helping with the local clean up, school tutoring, a night escort service for elderly and by phoning in license plate numbers of drug dealers’ cars.

    The benefit to the community does not end with the deed. With each payment and repayment bonds within the community strengthen and those people who have been told that they have no value; the unemployed, immigrants, the young and the elderly discover that they can in fact be an asset to the community. One participant of the scheme said it was “impossible not to make friends”.

    In the UK, participation in Time Banks by those earning less than ’£10 000 is double that of the same demographic group participating in traditional volunteer work. Time Banks are redefining the responsible democratic citizen. A Californian law firm receives payment for legal advice by clients turning up to demonstrate outside the workplaces of bad employers.

    Time as money schemes have the potential to revitalise the public sector by turning it from resource-stretched to resource-rich. With the expansion of the Time Bank scheme long waiting lists of mental health patients will be a thing of the past.

    British doctors are already referring patients with long term depression to local Time Banks. What about New Zealand’s over stretched parole service and high rates of reoffending? In San Diego ex-prisoners pay for aftercare services in time dollars earned by being part of a support group.

    In Washington D.C. volunteer youth jurors on a special Youth Court jury are paid in time dollars for their work. The youth offenders go before the court and are given community service sentences, Lifeskills training, they must make an apology to the victims and become a youth juror themselves.

    The Youth Court is helping break down the cycle of reoffending which many justice systems encourage. In this way youth suddenly become responsible for participating in their community and finding alternatives to crime. One youth who was sentenced at the Youth Court later became a volunteer juror, helping other youth like himself.

    What of Auckland’s growing traffic problem caused by low rates of public transport use? Plans have already been made in London for a “Tutor Commuter” program. You will be able to learn French on the Underground or teach English to new immigrants on the bus on your way to work.

    In the 21st century Time Banks will have their day. Cahn’s goal, “To create a society where decency and caring are rewarded automatically” is becoming a reality in London, Washington and many other cities. How long before New Zealand joins this global movement? It is only a matter of time.


    Time Dollar USA

    Time Banks UK