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Environment day interest exceeds expectations

Media release 30 may 2008

world environment day interest exceeds expectations

Interest in World Environment Day on Thursday next week has exceeded Environment Canterbury’s expectations in Christchurch with over $45,000 worth of sustainable products and services being donated for an expo, the main event marking the day in Canterbury.

Heat pumps to pellet fires, nappies to composting and solar panels to consulting packages all are features at the day.

The expo is being organised by Environment Canterbury and The Ministry for the Environment, and the key event partners are Switch and the Christchurch City Council.

World Environment Day (WED), commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

The main international celebrations of World Environment Day 2008 are being held in New Zealand this year with events throughout the country and Wellington acting as the international host city.

“It’s been just amazing,” Environment Canterbury Communications Manager Bill Simpson said.

“The interest in the day is certainly building. We have organised the Step Up Canterbury Expo as the days main event in the region but we are also broadening the reach by handing out free tree seedlings and encouraging people to use public transport on Thursday.”

“We have far more products for the auctions at the expo than we expected. The Expo provides a great opportunity for the public to have direct contact with businesses supplying sustainable products and services – they will learn a lot in a fun environment and have the opportunity to earn points for free to bid for products in the auctions during the day – no real money changes hands.”

Items up for auction include HRV ventilation systems worth $4,500, New Zealand Nappy Alliance reusable nappies valued at $3,000, Solarchitect Home Energy rating Reports worth $2,400, an EcoCoffin worth $900 and Sola60 Flat Plate Solar Collectors valued at $3,500.

‘We are asking Cantabrians to ‘Step Up’ and adopt a cleaner, greener lifestyle as part of World Environment Day,” Simpson said.

“We will be in the world’s environmental spotlight on Thursday and we are very keen to make sure we do our bit.”

Doors open at the expo from 12 noon and admission is free. There are auctions and entertainment on the Switch Stage throughout the day that include a debate between Christ College Students and City Councillors on whether Environment Canterbury is doing enough to tackle global warming, the opportunity to learn how to be more sustainable at home with eco TV expert Tristan Glendinning from TV3’s Wa$ted and some surprises organisers have planned to keep the day informative and entertaining.

The expo also features Rejuvenate, an arts competition using reclaimed and recycled materials with master Artist Tony Bond. It will be the artistic and cultural highlight of the Expo that will see 10 designers and artists competing for first prize in the competition.

The expo features a number of innovative exhibitors, including an early 1900s electric truck and the Solar Fern Racing, a team of Christchurch engineers who designed, tested and built solar powered racing car, the Solar Fern. It was New Zealand’s only solar powered car to enter the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge, a gruelling 3000km solar powered car race from Darwin to Adelaide. They are currently preparing for the 2009 World Solar Challenge.

Cantabrians throughout the region will also have the opportunity to pick up free tree seedlings from fifteen participating BP Service stations. The tree seedlings offer motorists the opportunity to plant a tree to help absorb carbon, demonstrating their commitment to ‘Kicking the Habit” (the ‘carbon’ habit).

ends
Editors notes
 For more Step up Canterbury expo information see http://www.stepupcanterbury.org.nz/
 Switch is a Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd business based in Blenheim Road, Christchurch. Switch provides integrated energy solutions for businesses and homes, with a focus on renewables, and markets wood pellet boilers, solar water heating and other energy appliances with a network of distributors throughout the country. Go to www.switchenergy.co.nz
 World Environment Day (WED), commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
 The main international celebrations of World Environment Day 2008 will be held in New Zealand and although there are events throughout New Zealand, Wellington is the international host city.
 The focus of the global 2008 celebrations hosted in New Zealand will be on the solutions and the opportunities for countries, companies and communities to "Kick the habit" and de-carbonize their economies and life-styles.
 World Environment Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP. (United Nations Environment Programme)
 The day's agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day is also a popular event with colourful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, as well as recycling and cleaning-up campaigns.
 On that particular day, heads of State, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Environment deliver statements and commit themselves to care for the Earth. Pledges are made which lead to the establishment of permanent governmental structures dealing with environmental management. It also provides an opportunity to sign or ratify international environmental conventions.
 Last year, the main WED event was held in Norway, with the theme Melting Ice? a Hot Topic?, and focused on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, and the ensuing consequences around the world.
 Measures include greater energy efficiency in buildings and appliances, including light bulbs, up to a switch towards cleaner and renewable forms of electricity generation and transport systems
 To measure and reduce your CO2 emissions, visit www.carbonzero.co.nz/calculators/
 More details on World Environment Day including a calendar showing the build-up of events in New Zealand can be found at www.world.environment.govt.nz .


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