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How to lower your waste and carbon foot-print

The Future Living Skills community education programme on sustainability is available free online, from today.

The website-distributed sustainability education materials are now available on-line free anywhere in New Zealand, thanks to a grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Management Fund, as announced today, 27 Sept.

Future Living Skills is the new national edition of the Sustainable Living Programme, earlier versions of which have run locally by 14 participating councils. Future Living Skills supports lifestyles and consumer choices that generate less carbon to the air, less waste to landfills and less pollution to rivers, so they are very topical (on the same day as School Strike for Climate Change and weeks as the UN summit.) Find it at sustainableliving.org.nz

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage launches the nationwide roll-out of Future Living Skills in Christchurch on Friday 27 September, accompanied by Housing and Energy Minister Megan Woods.

Future Living Skills begins with reducing waste and protecting waterways, and goes beyond. Our learning guides help you to understand lower-carbon living, in your energy, travel and food choices and decisions made when homes are designed or renovated,” National Coordinator Rhys Taylor says.

“A year ago, the IPCC stated that we have 12 years to drastically reduce global carbon emissions in order to stay below 1.5°C of warming, and the world at last began to wake up.”

“One of the School Strike (SS4C) Christchurch organisers is attending the Future Living Skills launch event. They recognize the urgent need for community education of their parents and grandparents, and they are expecting adults to catch up with the younger generation’s commitment to transition to a low carbon emission economy.

“To take effective action on reducing waste, protecting water and avoiding global warming’s worst effects, we all need practical knowledge on how to get more from less. Future Living Skills’ website provides information on eight topics, informed by science and independent of commercial bias. In member council areas such as Christchurch, Timaru and Dunedin where we run groups and classes, there is also the encouragement of learning and discussion with others, which is a strong motivator of action.” says Taylor.

Evening courses and public workshops will be available through the member councils that have driven the programme in their districts, and others are invited to follow suit.

The Sustainable Living Education Trust, which runs the programme, will help councils to recruit and train facilitators and tutors, assisted by the grant from the Waste Minimisation Fund (up to $77,000 spread over three years, or 43% of project budget).

Trust chair, Tony Moore, who works as Principal Sustainability Advisor at Christchurch City Council, says “the Sustainable Living Education Trust has been hosting courses in partnership with its dozen or so member Councils. Communities enjoy these courses and learn to make changes in their lives. Our members range from the Chatham Islands to Kapiti Coast, from Dunedin to Nelson, Masterton to Thames Coromandel. We are lucky in the Canterbury Region to have Christchurch, Waimakariri, Timaru and Kaikoura all supporting the delivery of this community education programme, which was South-Island grown, initiated in Marlborough.”

Each partner organisation helps people learn and take action, in varied ways that make it easy for their community: environment centres, polytechnics, Workers Educational Association and high schools have been involved. Learning guides designed for groups are published on the web.

“Much internet information on global issues comes from unknown sources and is unreliable and sometimes deliberately fake, so providing reputable New Zealand-relevant information on reducing your footprint is important,” Taylor says.

Future Living Skills gathers and presents useful information from reputable sources to support behaviour change and consumer choices. Member councils fund and check programme content, support local courses and can provide geographically-specific information. (For some examples see member councils page https://sustainableliving.org.nz/SLP/Councils for Hauraki, Christchurch, Dunedin, Timaru.)

Try out the Future Living Skills learning guides for free, by registering at sustainableliving.org.nz.

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