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Sustainable Cities e-digest

Sustainable Cities e-digest 17

28 July 2005

Initiatives and other good news

Community Angels

Lyttelton on the Banks Peninsula is lucky enough to have some real live angles in the angels - A time bank has started in Lyttelton which enables people donate time to others in the community and to access help when they need it. To get the scheme started they have employed a community angel who is able to help out those in the locality for free. Read more about the scheme on. http://le.org.nz/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=26

Car Sharing expands in Europe

Car sharing is gradually gaining ground around the globe, and the future looks bright for a concept once derided as a green dream. About 300,000 people worldwide now participate in car sharing; it's taken off especially well in European nations like Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, where the largest company has 2,400 cars and 60,000 members there are a total of roughly 1,000 shared cars in the U.S. New technologies like online car booking are making it easier for companies to manage larger numbers of vehicles and for customers to sign up to use them. Even big-biz are showing interest which suggests potential for future growth and profitability. 14 Jul 2005 NY Times


Ecological Inspiration

Inspiring interview with leading ecological architect . William McDonough who embodies Einsteins concept that "no problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it" saying . "Our job is to dream -- and to make those dreams happen" He has made a god start by creating buildings that generate more energy than they consume and factories whose waste water is clean enough to drink . May 16, 2005 http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7773650/site/newsweek/

Designer urges emphasis on 'healthier buildings'

Britain's buildings and public spaces are encouraging obesity and public health problems, according to the government's chief architecture adviser who has demanded that new developments be designed to improve the nation's fitness.

"There needs to be a return to the interaction between buildings and our health," said Selwyn Hodge, deputy chairman of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. "Busy life-styles have created buildings which have factored out healthy living. Shopping centres and supermarkets are anti-pedestrian and in rural environments we have new estates with no footpaths." June 13, 2005 Guardian


US study shows Sustainability saves money and ensures Economic Growth

Newly released data show that Portland has reduced emissions below the levels of 1990,( the benchmark for the Kyoto accord) while booming economically. July 3, 2005 NY Times (free sign up required for access to complete article)


Equality gain in Spain

Under a reformed civil code, marriage contracts in Spain will include a pledge to share housework, child rearing and care of the elders. June 26 Observer


New Zealand and Canterbury sustainability

Local events.

As well as listing events below I have entered local events of interest to those concerned about sustainablity on our website


Sat 30 July 9 - 3 Train for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Vounteer community home tutoring. 25 hour certificate course over 3 Sats. Essential to phone 377 3141 for more details

30 - 31 July -Otamahua / Quail Island Restoration Trust planting season starts and continues for the next four weekends. The ferry departs Lyttelton at 9.30am, returning about 3.30pm. Places are limited to 35 volunteers each day. Contact Alison Ross, email venice@xtra.co.nz

Tues 2 Aug 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm Seminar Climate Change: Impacts Facing New Zealand In The Medium Term Speaker: Dr Jim Salinger, from NIWA's National Climate Centre

At Our City Otautahi, Municipal Chambers (Oxford Tce/Worcester St). All welcome. No charge.

Wed 3 Aug 7 - 9pm - for 9 weeks Sustainable Households course at Riccarton High School Cost $40 must be pre-booked with Riccarton High School Continuing Education, Curletts Road, Christchurch 8004,

Thurs 4 Aug - 22 Sep 6 -8 pm Economics As if All Life Mattered course :64 Kilmore St Cost $30 Contact caroline@sustainablecities.org.nz 377 8566 (Read more about the course http://sct.wji.com/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=12)

Fri 5 Aug 1 3.30 pm Electoral Forum run by Christchurch Housing Forum - MP's from all parties invited. Oxford Terrace Baptist Chruch Hall. Cnr. Oxford Tce. and Madras Sts. contact 379 1122

Saturday 6 Aug 5pm Lantern Ceremony, Remembering those who lost their lives in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Victoria Square.

Peace Poetry 6pm Live readings of peace poetry by Patricia Grace and local poets. TV 1 Pavilion, Victoria Square

Sunday 7 August 7.15pm Tau Te Mauri/ Breath of Peace, Academy Theatre, Arts Centre. Launch of film documentary of 8 NZ peace people. (Also showing at Southern Ballet Theatre, 11-12 August at 1pm; 13 August 6 and 8pm.) Bookings essential from Academy Theatre ph 366-0167.

Tues 9 and 16 Aug Energy Saving, Short Course at Mairehau High School Community Education, Hills Road, Christchurch. Enquiries to Adrienne Lomax lomaxa@mairehau.school.nz $10

Friday 12 Aug to Sunday 14 Aug NZ Plant Conservation Network annual conference in Christchurch. The theme of the conference is 'Restoring our threatened plant life - empowering our community'. Further information on the conference and registration forms are found on the Network's website at: www.nzpcn.org.nz.).

Friday 12 August 5.30pm Addington Community Peace Concert , St Mary's Church, Church Square, Addington.

Sat 13 Aug 7 pm "Native Plant Life of Canterbury - has it a future?" Canterbury Horticultural Society room, 57 Riccarton Avenue, South Hagley Park opposite Christchurch Hospital A special public lecture by Dr David Given (Botanical Services Curator, Christchurch City Council) on the subject of: : Entry is free (a gold coin donation would be appreciated to help cover costs)

Cycleways in Christchurch

In response to Christchurch City council" cycleway moratorium the local branch of the cycling organisation SPOKES has issued a petition which 800 people have added their name to more signatures welcome on http://beam.to/cycleways. Latest details and background info about the moratorium can be found at http://www.can.org.nz/spokes_chch/moratorium/.

Toxins on public database

The public now have access to a database of 90,000 chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hazardous creatures and plants previously only available to poisons and emergency medical experts www.toxinz.com.

Planned sewage discharge next to aquifers

A developer plans to discharge sewage from 189 houses on to land close to Christchurch's sensitive drinking-water supply, but says the impact on the water will be negligible.

The consent applications have been publicly notified by ECan. Submissions close on August 3. 20 July 2005 jthe Christchurch Press.


Consuming Sustainably

UK - Energy could be rationed

Every individual in Britain could be issued with a "personal carbon allowance" - a form of energy rationing - within a decade,if proposals being considered seriously by the Government are enacted. Under the scheme for "domestic tradeable quotas" (DTQs), or personal carbon allowances, presented to the Treasury this week, everyone - from the Queen to the poorest people living on state benefits - would have the same annual carbon allocation. 2 July 2005 Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/02/nrg02.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/07/02/ixportaltop.html

Big City Garbage

Each day 50,000 tons of trash travel from New York to huge landfills and incinerators in other states. Waste management experts say these types of long hauls have become the norm for big cities as homegrown landfills fill up and close. In 2003,ten states imported at least 1 million tons of trash 12 Jul 2005

USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-07-12-trash-diaspora_x.htm


US article extolling the environmental benefits of hand mowers.

http://www.grist.org/advice/ask/2005/07/13/umbra-lawn/index.html?source=da ily

Sustaining food?

Jamie Olivers School Dinners.

This series now finished was a moving example of how celebrity can be used to promote positive change and heighten awareness. Jamie Oliver was inventive, imaginative and persistant in his successful attempts to wean schoolchildren off junk food and onto real food. When he suceeded both health and behaviour improved significantly. Some of his recipes are on the website below.


and here is another website for those fed up with fast food http://www.slowfood.com/

Junk food

Michele Simon writes of the battles nutritionists have (largely lost) trying to get junk food banned from schools despite expensive intensive lobbying from corporations "a strong piece of legislation was completely gutted in Oregon thanks to corporate lobbying. The bill would have banned carbonated soft drinks, candy, and fried pastry products in schools. But the law that passed calls only for schools to have "wellness policies." "

June 16, 2005 Common Dreams


Climate change - crops bigger not better

A small but growing body of research is finding that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, while increasing crop yield, decrease the nutritional value of plants. 12 July 2005 Grist.


Biodynamics -sense or nonsense?

Article starts by stating that Biodynamic food is even more expensive than organic produce and is gaining popularity. It asks if any farming system that follows moon cycles and involves burying cow horns stuffed with manure be taken seriously? However it goes on to say that research in NZ "concluded that biodynamic compost was indeed of better quality than compost from conventional farms" and that biodynamically grown carrots are structurally different from other carrots. June 15, 2005 Guardian


Global Sustainability

US Investors pouring millions into new nanotech solar

At least three U.S. start-ups are aiming to develop thin, flexible sheets of tiny solar cells for the mass market. If perfected, the companies say, these nano-cells would catapult solar to the forefront of clean-energy generation: they'd not only cost much less to produce than current solar panels, but would provide electricity as cheaply as average utilities. It may take five years or more before the technologies are perfected for mass production, but investors are enthusiastic -- the three companies have collectively raised more than $120 million in funding since 2001. 11 Jul 2005 San Francisco Chronicle


Pollution on the move

Sea birds are transporting industrial and agricultural pollutants to the Arctic, according to new research 15 Jul 2005 BBC


Global warming the effect on oceans

Excessive carbon in the atmosphere is already causing irreparable environmental damage to the Earth's oceans. A report by the Royal Society, the UK's leading scientific academy, said that rising carbon levels caused by the burning of fossil fuels had dramatically increased the acidity of seawater, threatening the oceans' ecosystems. http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/07/04/oceans.acid/index.html

Rich spend 25 times more on military than aid

Research to be unveiled in the UN's human development report later this year shows that every country in western Europe and North America has a bigger military budget than overseas development budget, with the biggest disparities in the United States and Britain. Wednesday July 6, 2005


Oxfam accuses West over farm subsidies

Larry Elliott writes about an Oxfam report damning the west for 'creative' accounting and redefining rather than reducing subsidies at the WTO. Guardian Weekly.


A history of ending poverty

In this potted history of the wish to 'make poverty history' Gareth Steadman Jones argues "In two respects, the thoughts of the 1790s revolutionaries still seem ahead of the 'make poverty history' campaigners of today". He says the C18 revolutionaries were committed not so much to aid as to the equalisation of the opportunities of rich and poor, nationally and internationally. Second, they were far more critical of the role of charity - or, in today's world, the place of NGOs. Appeals to relieve debt, alleviate famine and provide start-up resources reproduce on an international scale the approach of 19th-century Poor Law administrators and charity organisers at a national level. In terms of the abolition of poverty, the debate is stuck in a pre-1914 time warp." July 2, 2005 Guardian


Corrupution who are the major players?

Will Hutton says that before accusing African leaders of being innately corrupt, Westerners should clean up their act . He gives examples supporting the argument that Wall Street and the City have become world benchmarks for personal earnings against which Asian plutocrats and African dictators alike compare themselves, at the same time offering examples of how to rig markets and salt corrupt cash away June 26, 2005 Guardian.


Many Thanks to our donors - Community Trust. Andy Spanton of Natures Oganics in Opawa and other generous but retiring individuals

If you have news you would like to circulate in this e-digest, please send us an e-mail to: 'caroline@sustainablecities.org.nz'.


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