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Posts Tagged ‘social networking’ - An International Day of Climate Action

Friday, July 24th, 2009

24 October - An International Day of Climate Action

link here:


You Can Save the Planet

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

by Jacquie Wines and Sarah Horne

This book introduces and explains massive global problems that need to be addressed now. It’s packed full of useful things you can do to make your homes, schools, and neighbourhoods more environmentally friendly. Including:planet_photo1

  • How to save water around your house.
  • How to persuade your local supermarket to reduce the number of plastic bags used.
  • Ways to organise your household recycling that really work.
  • How to spread the word on saving the planet.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

350 Animation

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Because the world needs to know….

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


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 and for loads of ideas on reducing your personal carbon footprint
Check out some great tips for organic gardening at

    Do try some alternative pie

    Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

    Hannah Newport
    doorway to freedom shopIn this age of information (or is it the year of the Rabbit? I forget which) we are inundated with junk. A vast sea of messages and sub-messages. Contrary to Rupert Murdoch’s vision though, our media is not completely conformist. Popping up in the most unexpected places all around the world are little hubs of activism, where a voice outside the mainstream can be found. Mexico, Scotland, Germany, New Zealand… a great many regions of our lovely planet are home to what some like to call these “infoshops”.

    So, you’re in New Zealand’s fine city of Wellington, wandering along Cuba. Past the bucket fountain, past the pile of what you really hope is a wet fake-fur hat (shudder), and past the funny man on the corner with his fiddle. Ahead looms a fork in the mall. Well, more of a barely-noticed alley off the side, really. Go on - take the path less travelled!

    So, you turned off the beaten track. Welcome to the Left Bank; home to Wellington’s cheapest satay, several small Asian clothes outlets and Oblong, a volunteer-run activist Internet café. Wander yourself on inside, and you might be in for a pleasant surprise. The ever-metamorphing Freedom Shop currently calls Oblong home, and does so with an exciting array of alternative media.

    The Freedom Shop started out as a tiny punk-orientated anarchist bookshop on the upper end of Cuba St. It was run by a small collective of a few dedicated souls. Not too much has changed since then really but, with two new locations , some say the atmosphere has become welcoming to a wider audience. The shop has expanded in stock and collective size, however the central ideals remain the same.

    A recently re-written Kaupapa of the Freedom Shop emphasises the aim to spread radical information and support DIY anarchist culture, and says “We are fighting for a world free of oppression and coercion. We believe in acting in a manner consistent with our ideals. Therefore, the collective and the shop must be free of domination and discrimination, including but not limited to racism, sexism, homophobia, physical violence and harassment of any kind.
    freedom shop inside
    The shop is unashamedly an anarchist infocentre, and certainly has an outstanding collection of anarchist literature, but some would also say that it’s about so much more than that: seek and you will find a book on veganism, organic gardening, anti-consumer culture, animal rights, anti-racism, parenting, sexuality, fair trade indigenous rights, feminism, anti-war, how to create your own zine…

    Really what the Freedom Shop is, more than anything else, is choice. It’s a place to find information that you wouldn’t find in mainstream outlets.

    With the lease for the space coming up for renewal in January 2007, the shape and flavour of the shop in 2007 and beyond lies in question, but there is no doubt that it’s not about to disappear into the stratosphere. Collective members of both The Freedom Shop and Oblong are always plotting and scheming. Plans are brewing to bring something brighter, shinier and more revolutionary than ever to the people of Wellington! And Wellington is not alone in this exciting wave of uber-awesome infoshops. Revolutionary folk in Auckland have been running Cherry Bomb Comics, to provide a place for people to stories and ideas which step outside the status quo, particularly feminist media. Dunedin too joined the bandwagon in 2003, when Black Star Books was born, as an anarchist bookshop and infocentre.

    The phenomenon is worldwide. With the help of a little website, some more brief web searching and even old fashioned talking to people, it soon became apparent that countless countries play host to sparkling alternatives like the Freedom Shop. Melbourne, for example, is home to Barricade Books, Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse is resident in Baltimore, while Infoshop Assata can be found in The Netherlands. In Mexico, the San Christo Bal. And so on. Whether you’re in Argentina or Birmingham, the idea infoshops that represent is one of solidarity: Don’t hate the media, become the media! We don’t have to mindlessly swallow the “news” without challenging its inherent bias. Like, why is that soldier called a patriotic hero, and that one a barbaric terrorist? And why are they really killing each other in the first place?
    leaflets in freedom shop
    Everywhere, people are becoming aware of how mainstream bias subconsciously conditions our perceptions. Sure, every source of information has its bias (spoken like a true post-modernist!). But only with a range of information can we really hope to escape a pre-fabricated opinion. Places like the Freedom Shop offer an alternative, to counter-balance the often patronising, and rarely challenging lullaby that is our western media.



    • Visit The Freedom Shop and Oblong:
      Shop 204B, Left Bank, Cuba Mall
      Ph (04) 3847980
    • Visit Cherry Bomb Comics:
      41 New North Road, Eden Terrace, Auckland
      Phone: (09) 374-4504
    • Visit Black Star Books
      24 Stafford St, Dunedin
    • Make your own zine or pamphlet
    • Challenge your local or national newspaper to print a story about an issue you care about

    Partying up at Parihaka

    Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

    Rose Lawson

    When I first heard about volunteering for the Parihaka festival I had no real idea of what it might entail. It sounded like a good idea — a chance to hear a lot of really good bands in one place — so, with two of my friends from school, we packed our bags and headed up from Wellington to Taranaki.

    All I knew about Parihaka was a little of the history, so I was really amazed at the stunning setting of the festival — tucked into a sheltered valley, with Mount Taranaki huge and beautiful in the background.

    We were greeted with great friendliness and the cultural experience over the next three days was one none of us had ever experienced before — and one that we really enjoyed. Because there was a much smaller turnout than expected, and because so many people were keen to volunteer, we didn’t end up having to do anything. We kept pestering people and asking them if we could help — but, in the end, we were forced to relax and listen to the music!

    The stalls and different organisations there covered an interesting range of viewpoints and issues, and I reckon people were pretty impressed with the Global Education Centre stall! It was really great to see so many different kinds of people helping out and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere. It felt like how New Zealand could be — and should be — if people learned to respect each other and to embrace the unique lessons the Māori culture can teach us all.

    I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the music was the highlight though (!) — especially the 40 hour techno-tent. The roots and reggae were also amazing. It was disappointing that there weren’t more people there, but hopefully next time people will have heard how great it was and there will be better attendance. It’s the kind of festival I can see growing and improving every time.

    All three of us thoroughly recommend this festival to everyone — whether you want to go with your friends or family, you won’t regret it.


    Visit the Parihaka website and learn about Te Whiti O Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi and their methods of non-violent resistance which have inspired the world. Also find out the latest on the festival.

    Read Global Bits - Parihaka: the Gift of Non-violence

    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