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One more World Environment Day event tomorrow

10 June 2008

One more World Environment Day event tomorrow

Thousands of Wellingtonians got involved in the city’s World Environment Day events last week - and the Arbor Day planting last Thursday, the ECO Party on Friday night, and ‘ECO Homes’ tours on Saturday were all hugely successful.

There’s one more event scheduled - the second Sound Bites lecture tomorrow night (Wednesday 11 June). This free event begins at 6pm in the Illot Theatre, Town Hall. Guest speakers, who will address the audience for 10 minutes each on the challenges of kicking the carbon habit, include Al Morrison, Director-General of the Department of Conservation, Peter Neilson, CEO of the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Hamish Sisson, CEO of Right House (Meridian). New Zealand sign language interpreters will be on hand to ensure the message reaches as wide an audience as possible.

An estimated 350 attended Arbor Day last Thursday, including 260 schoolchildren who helped Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs, city councillors, Council staff and others to successfully plant 5000 native plants on the slope above Macalister Park in Vogeltown.

Close to 1200 people attended the ECO Party at the Town Hall on Friday night, which was funded by the Ministry for the Environment and managed by the Council. Ryan Prebble, Sam Flynn Scott and the Bunnies on Ponies, and Open Souls provided the entertainment, along with MCs Derek Flores and Woody Tuhiwai. There was also a range of information stalls from EECA, Forest & Bird, a new local group Intersect and others.

“It was a fantastic night with people spending time at the stalls, learning about climate change and sustainability and also enjoying the bands,” says Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, the Council’s Climate Change portfolio leader.

“It was a great event that aimed to celebrate people’s commitment to the important work that needs to be done. I am really struck by young people’s response to the environmental challenges facing us. They seem to have a different sense of urgency than older age groups.”

There was enormous public interest in the ECO Open Homes on Saturday. Well over 400 people bussed and carpooled their way around the city to view an architecturally designed solar home in Wadestown, a permaculture garden in Hataitai and Cr Celia Wade-Brown’s retrofitted house in Island Bay.

Cr Wade-Brown, who is also the Council’s Environment portfolio leader, says she and her husband had an extremely busy day talking to the many visitors.

“People were really interested in learning more about the simple things you can do to live more sustainably.

“Ours is an average house and people related to that. After all, most of us live in old timber houses in Wellington but there are things, not all of them high cost, that can make a real difference – from putting floor-length, thermal-backed curtains on south-facing windows, to putting in ceiling and underfloor insulation.”

Cr Ahipene-Mercer says being the international host of World Environment Day this year had put the spotlight on the important issues of climate change, and the hard work ahead.

“Hopefully, it will help to encourage and incentivize us all to take personal responsibility, both at home and in the workplace, to make a difference,” he says.

“We need to link hands together, and make a small wave of change grow into a much bigger wave.”

Cr Ahipene-Mercer says a special thanks must go to the Ministry for the Environment for its financial support which made all of the World of Environment Day events in Wellington possible.


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