Save Foulden Maar – with guest Andrea Bosshard

Years ago, I visited Blackhead, a geological outcrop that lies just beyond St Clair in Dunedin. For many people, it’s better known as Blackhead Quarry, that supplies gravel made from pulverised columnar basalt rock. It’s certainly not a place to visit on a Sunday afternoon. Or is it?

In Northern Ireland where I am originally from, there are columnar basalt rocks too – but they haven’t turned them into gravel. Instead, the area was declared a World Heritage Site and a nature reserve, a Visitor centre was built, and a million people visited it in 2017 alone. I’m talking about The Giant’s Causeway, arguably the biggest tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.

But here in Dunedin, Blackhead was made into a Quarry.

I want to give you an idea of how special Blackhead possibly could have been. I found this online from a Geocaching group’s website.

In Dunedin in 1867 the well-known rambler Pakeha (Peter Thompson ) admired the columns at Blackhead (then called “Green Island Peninsula”). His article in the Otago Witness 25 October 1867 says:

… The base of the hill is composed of a magnificent range of basaltic columns, standing erect, of much larger size than the beds above, quite as complete as those of Fingal’s Cave at Staffa, or the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. Indeed, the rocks here are as worthy of a visit as either of these Old Country lions and there is no doubt, were they as well known, they would be equally famed.

So now you understand my surprise, and my horror at seeing what has been done to Blackhead. There’s still a remnant of it left, but it’s not a place we’d recommend visitors to go see.

Of course I’m not saying this to promote Northern Ireland over New Zealand. Northern Ireland has plenty of its own foibles!

I’m bringing this up because today’s show is about another geological treasure near Middlemarch in Central Otago called Foulden Maar, a small but very deep 23 million year old volcanic crater that contains layers of beautifully preserved fossils.  If you are from Dunedin you will have heard of it by now if you read the papers or listen to the news, because its future is in peril from being mined for its diatomite. [But see latest developments! http://www.odt.co.nz/business/further-bad-news-troubled-plaman%5D

My guest for this show is Andrea Bosshard here to tell us about the site, why it is particularly precious, what is threatening it, and what we can do to save it. Andrea has thrown her heart and soul into this campaign and has been key in raising its profile. She is a filmmaker, making the well appreciated Coby, along with Shane Loader. She’s currently living in Dunedin as well as near Middlemarch where they are building their small eco-friendly house.

Listen to this programme on FOULDEN MAAR

FOULDEN MAAR was first aired on the 7th June 2019 through Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM and was supported by Sustainable Dunedin City with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. Eco Living in Action’s host Dr Maureen Howard is a Sustainable Practice Educator at Treedom NZ

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Andrea Bosshard, Campaigner to Save Foulden Maar

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Why we need good curtains – with guest Sara Crow, Dunedin Curtain Bank

This might be a mild winter but there’s still a wintry chill in the air. And my wonderful woodburner has been getting good exercise pumping out some toasty warmth in the evenings. But where is that heat going? One exit point is out the window and the big solution there is to have a good well fitted curtain.

As well as keeping us warm, curtains are also good for the planet – as we can stay warmer with less firewood and less electricity.

Unfortunately good curtains are expensive! So we’re lucky in Dunedin to have the Dunedin Curtain Bank to help people in the community who are on a tight budget to get good quality curtains. And the eco-bonus is that they are reducing waste to land fill because these curtains are made from material that has been diverted from the landfill.

On this show I spoke with Dunedin Curtain Bank Manager Sara Crow. Sara has brought many new initiatives to the organisation and it is going from strength to strength, providing more curtains each year to families who need them.

I’m keen to ask Sara about how we can get these curtains, where they are coming from, how we can fit and use our curtains to best effect, what other services are available from the Dunedin Curtain Bank, and how we can help other people stay warm this winter.

Listen to this programme on CURTAINS

CURTAINS was first aired on the 30th May 2019 through Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM and was supported by Sustainable Dunedin City with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. Eco Living in Action’s host Dr Maureen Howard is a Sustainable Practice Educator at Treedom NZ

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Sara Crow, Dunedin Curtain Bank Manager

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Why we need Transition Engineering for a low carbon future – with Susan Krumdieck

What is Transitional Engineering and how we can use existing technology to move our society away from a fossil fuel dependent culture? My guest is Professor Susan Krumdieck from the College of Engineering at the University of Canterbury. Susan has carried out research on every type of renewable and alternative energy technology, and sustainable energy systems. She’s also interested in research in energy transition of buildings, cities, transportation and freight. She has a keen interest in Dunedin. I remember reading her excellent Peak Oil Vulnerability Assessment for Dunedin report published in 2011 that was commissioned by the Dunedin City Council.

In this show I find out more about engineering solutions that will help transition us to a low carbon economy. Given the speed at which change needs to occur, what is possible to do rapidly? What kinds of systems will be feasible to operate in a future low carbon energy world? And why mining for yet more fossil fuels needs to stop.

My phonecall with Susan was recorded on the 22nd May 2019

Listen to this programme on TRANSITIONAL ENGINEERING

TRANSITIONAL ENGINEERING was first aired on the 24th May 2019 through Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM and was supported by Sustainable Dunedin City with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. Eco Living in Action’s host Dr Maureen Howard is a Sustainable Practice Educator at Treedom NZ

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Clothing Upcycled – with guest Kirsten Koch

Kirsten Koch, a Masters student of Sociology at the University of Otago is with me in the studio to talk about upcycling in the clothing industry.

Every time we recycle, we often end up with something that is of lower quality or value. For example, a plastic bottle might be turned into insulation, or office paper could be made into toilet rolls. In contrast when we upcycle we improve the product to something that is of higher quality or value.

Kristen chats about what upcycling mean in the clothing industry? And how it can help reduce some of the waste in this industry. We chat about what’s happening globally and locally, and what Kirsten would like to see happen.

Listen to this programme on CLOTHING UPCYCLING

CLOTHING UPCYCLING was first aired on the 16th May 2019 through Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM and was supported by Sustainable Dunedin City with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. Eco Living in Action’s host Dr Maureen Howard is a Sustainable Practice Educator at Treedom NZ

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Taken by Sarah Flourish

Dairy Farming Differently – with guest David Diprose

The dairy industry has profoundly changed our rural New Zealand landscape; replacing cows with sheep, extracting water to green the land, adding nitrates to waterways, and significantly contributing to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.  My guest David Diprose is a dairy farmer who is modelling better environmental practices with two herds in Southland. Better practices include riparian planting and fencing of waterways, no irrigation, less fertilizers and supporting family farms. Keen to share his perspectives, David is the Chair of the Purakinu Catchment Group, as well as a committee member of the Three Rivers Catchment Group and he has recently joined Te Ao Marama – a runanga created entity that looks at the water and land, and feeds advice on policy, procedures and perspectives to assist legislation. I caught up with David at the Permaculture Hui in Riverton on the 6th April 2019, at which he was one of the guest speakers.

Listen to this programme on DAIRY FARMING

DAIRY FARMING was first aired on the 11th April 2019 through Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM and was supported by Sustainable Dunedin City with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. Eco Living in Action’s host Dr Maureen Howard is a Sustainable Practice Educator at Treedom NZ

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David Diprose

Travel by Freighter Ship – with guest Hamish Jamieson

Yes – travel by freighter ship is possible, and it’s a fascinating way to see the world and cross the ocean.

Plus here is a surprising statistic. Travelling as a passenger by freighter ship emits approximately 2% of the CO2 emissions as travelling as a passenger by aeroplane the same distance (Dr Inga Smith, Department of Physics, University of Otago).

If you want to leave New Zealand for a while to explore the world, this might be the way to go!

On this show, I chat with Hamish Jamieson of Freighter Travel NZ to find out what he loves about it, what you can expect, and what routes are possible to take. For more information about Freighter Travel NZ

Listen to this programme on FREIGHTER SHIP TRAVEL

FREIGHTER SHIP TRAVEL was first aired on the 4th April 2019 through Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM and was supported by Sustainable Dunedin City with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. Eco Living in Action’s host Dr Maureen Howard is a Sustainable Practice Educator at Treedom NZ

Hamish Jamieson and his wife on a return journey from Australia.

A Rocha: Caring for Creation – with Rev Dr Selwyn Yeoman

Are you a Christian who also cares for the earth?

This week our topic is a Christian perspective on caring for the earth, focusing on Dunedin‘s A Rocha group and my guest is Rev Dr Selwyn Yeoman, who is Minister of Church of Christ in Dunedin and a Minister of the Presbyterian Church in Dunedin.

Selwyn is also Chair of the Dunedin Branch of A Rocha, an international organisation whose purpose is environmental conservation.

“A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand, is part of the A Rocha family of Christian environmental conservation organizations which currently operates in 20 countries around the world. As a family, we focus on environmental science and research, practical nature conservation, environmental education, creation care and advocacy through a variety of programmes and initiatives.” Aotearoa NZ A Rocha.

Selwyn believes that care of the Earth is an integral part of the concerns of christian theology, and he based his PhD on this topic which will be published later this year!

I’m keen to find out more about what A Rocha are up to in Dunedin, about Selwyn’s spiritual beliefs and how Selwyn expresses his environmental beliefs in his personal life.

For more information, go to A Rocha Dunedin.

Listen to this programme on A ROCHA

A ROCHA was first aired on the 29th March 2019 through Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM and was supported by Sustainable Dunedin City with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. Eco Living in Action’s host Dr Maureen Howard is a Sustainable Practice Educator and Communicator at Treedom NZ

Photo source: A Rocha