Old tools for new livelihoods – with Stephen Wood from Tools for Solidarity

Tools For Solidarity is a small charity based in the cities of Belfast and Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. The charity collects, refurbishes and sends old unwanted hand tools and sewing machines from here in Ireland to skilled tradespeople living in Africa, helping them to secure productive livelihoods for them, their families, and their communities.

Tools for Solidarity has been running since 1992, and over the years it has slowly developed and expanded on the initiatives that it has chosen. There is so much that I admire about this charity. In particular, its passion for overseas aid work, its reuse of unwanted tools, the sustainability education work it does in schools and its commitment to giving meaningful work to people who have special needs. On top of this, the organisation is run in a way that includes a commitment to consensus decision making, equitable pay and a non-hierarchical structure. Fantastic!

In this show recorded on 29th March 2017, I visit Stephen Wood from Tools for Solidarity at their Belfast workshop to talk to him about some of the work that this charity is doing.

 To listen to this programme about Tools for Solidarity please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=c320e66b-bb71-4fa5-924e-3097b86e1031. (If you want to listen to this show and the link is not working – please let me know! We endeavour to re-air our older popular shows on request.)

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

  • About Tools for Solidarity, go to http://www.toolsforsolidarity.com/ Contact – Tools For Solidarity,
    55A Sunnyside Street, Belfast BT7 3EX. Tel Tel: +44 (0)28 9543 5972. E-mail: tools.belfast@myphone.coop

This show was originally broadcast on the 4th May 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Stephen Wood, along with his brother John Wood, are two core volunteers at Tools for Solidarity, without whom it would not exist.

Outside the Tools for Solidarity workshop in Belfast. There is also another workshop in Downpatrick (not pictured here).

Sewing machines are donated to Tools for Solidarity. These are refurbished and converted so they can be operated manually without electricity before heading off to Africa.

Stephen Wood in the hand tools section of the workshop

Tool boxes are the latest venture of Tools for Solidarity. Each is targeted to a specific trade skill. Still at planning stage, it is hoped they can be distributed to young skilled workers in Africa.

Hand saws sorted according to teeth size. Excellent sorting and labelling skills are required at Tools for Solidarity!

Laura Rio Fernandez, a sustainability educator, leads the Education for Sustainable Development Programme that is offered to schools by Tools for Solidarity.

 

 

 

Successes in Compulsory Kerbside Composting – with Clive Catterson

The newly formed Ards and North Down Borough Council is leading the way across Councils in Northern Ireland to reduce waste being sent to landfill. In particular, it has set itself ambitious targets to reduce food waste going to landfill by introducing a compulsory kerbside collection composting scheme that takes food waste and other compostibles and composts it safely and aerobically. In addition, the Council has a fabulous smartphone App that gives detailed advice to users on exactly what they can place in their dry recycling bin as well as other Waste and Recycling information.

In a very short period, the council is already achieving very significant reductions in waste to landfill. I’m interested to know how the Council has made their initiatives so successful. Perhaps we can learn and apply some of their strategies in Dunedin, New Zealand.

On this show recorded on the 15th of December 2016 I talked to Clive Catterson, Recycling and Waste Minimisation Officer, with the Ards and North Down Borough Council.

To listen to this programme about Compulsory Kerbside Composting please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=19068dbb-12bc-4cf2-ab82-fd487b554ec2

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 29th December 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Clive Catterson, Waste Minimisation Officer, Ards and North Down Borough Council

Clive Catterson, Recycling and Waste Minimisation Officer, Ards and North Down Borough Council

The Waste Transfer Station in Bangor

The Waste Transfer Station in Bangor

 

Ards and North Down Borough Council have a stall at the Food Expo in Greyabbey, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Ards and North Down Borough Council have a stall at the Food Expo in Greyabbey, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Shirley Howard putting a used teabag into the food waste caddy supplied by Ards and North Down Borough Council to households

Resident Shirley Howard putting a used teabag into the food waste caddy supplied by Ards and North Down Borough Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dry recyclable (execpt fr glass) put in blue bins, food waste including dog poo in brown bin, residual waste to land fill in the grey bin.

Dry recyclables (except for glass) are put in blue bins, food waste including dog poo in brown bin, residual waste to land fill in the grey bin.

Belfast, a Sustainable Food City – with Kerry Melville

There are many people passionate about good sustainable healthy food in Dunedin, such as the grassroots collective – Our Food Network Dunedin, as well as Dunedin’s permaculture movement and the great increase in community gardens around the city. In particular it is exciting that currently work is being carried out by the Dunedin City Council to implement an action plan to support local food producers and businesses, promote local food events, and generally assist Dunedinites to obtain healthy sustainably produced food. It is with this knowledge in mind that I am especially interested to see what is also happening in other cities.

While writing this I am in Northern Ireland, and for this show I travelled to Belfast its capital. Belfast is home to approximately 334,000 people, and like Dunedin it has embraced local food resilience – aiming to support a thriving local food economy that is healthy as well as environmentally sustainable.

Kerry Melville is Coordinator of the Belfast Food Network, an NGO that has received funding to initiate a wide range of activities that will help promote a thriving food economy in the city that is both sustainable, healthy and equitable.

Kerry was born in South Africa, has spend many years in England and since 1999 has lived in Northern Ireland. She says she is passionate about this little country and that it is almost as beautiful as New Zealand which she visited for five months as a WWOOFer in 2005. (As I was born in Northern Ireland and live in NZ – I also must agree!)

I spoke with Kerry on the 29th July 2016 about the exciting initiatives and achievements of the Belfast Food Network. I have included photos from the September 2016 Feeding the 5000 event in Belfast, which the Belfast Food Network coordinated along with Friends of the Earth NI.

To listen to this programme about Belfast – a Sustainable Food City please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=248f1317-d84d-473f-905b-cccbb6061c07

For more information

This show was originally broadcast on the 4th August 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Kerry Melville, Coordinator of the Belfast Food Network

Kerry Melville, Coordinator of the Belfast Food Network

The Belfast Food network obtained food from farmers in Northern Ireland that was surplus and would otherwise have gone to waste. The food was served by volunteers. Friends of the Earth NI and Hare Krishna group ?? coordinated preparation and cooking.

The Belfast Food Network  and Friends of the Earth NI collaborated for the Feedin the 5000 event. Surplus vegetables from farmers in Northern Ireland were donated – food that would otherwise have gone to waste. The food was  prepared and served by volunteers and cooked by Iskcon Belfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerry, in action at the Feed the 5000 event in Belfast, 2016.

Kerry and volunteers at the Feed the 5000 event in Belfast, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Place Composting and Recycling

Here in Dunedin we have a good reputation for using kerbside recycling, and many of us also compost at least some of our food waste – turning it back into valuable nourishment for the garden.

But what about recycling and composting in public places? Public Place Recycling is something that we  are getting the hang of since the Dunedin City Council introduced public recycling bins around the city. In fact, currently Dunedin has the best public place recycling record in all of New Zealand.

Our topic for this programme is PUBLIC PLACE RECYCLING AND COMPOSTING – focusing on what’s happening at the Otago Farmers Market. The Otago Farmers Market have improved and extended their recycling and composting systems for members of the public coming to the market. They are leaders in Dunedin, and possibly New Zealand. I’m especially interested in this issue because in August I volunteered along with other members of the North Dunedin and South Dunedin SAC (Sustainable Action Communities) groups to assist people at the Otago Farmers Market with using the public recycling bins there. Helping people sort their waste is a lot of fun!

My guest for this radio show is Kate Vercoe, General Manager of the Otago Farmers Market. Kate has spearheaded this new collection system. We talk about the benefits and challenges of public place composting and recycling. Kate shares tips for setting up this system.

To listen to this programme about Public Place Composting and Recycling please click on http://www.accessradio.org/media/download/201509181609381442549378-NZOA64k-2015-09-17—Eco-Living—Public-Place-Recycling-and-Composting—Kate-Vercoe.mp3?_uid=1442548918-819-13

For more information –

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  17th September 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and is supported by Sustainable Dunedin City. The radio show Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard, a Sustainability Educator and Facilitator.

 

Brigid Bloom, volunteer with SAND (Sustainable Action North Dunedin) 'wo'mans the recycling hub at the Otago Farmers Market

Brigid Bloom, volunteer with SAND (Sustainable Action North Dunedin) ‘wo’mans the recycling hub at the Otago Farmers Market

Aug to Sept 2015 026

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Street and her son, volunteers from the group Sustainable South.

Linda Street and her son, volunteers from the group Sustainable South.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gail Kirk and her grandson - member of the SAC group Sustainable South

Gail Kirk and her grandson – volunteers for the SAC group ‘Sustainable South’

Composting toilets for rural properties – with Matt King

Composting toilets – many people either love the thought of them or hate them. I think some of the dislike of the idea of the composting toilet is that we mistake it with memories of the old long drop – that definitely was a very unpleasant experience! The composting toilet is a very different beast – when its operating properly it’s aerobic (oxygen loving), fairly dry, and produces non-odorous CO2 – not methane, ethane and sulphurous odours.

In NZ, there are rules around properties that can have a composting toilet. If your property is connected to the mains sewage system then you must use it. However there are a significant number of households at the rural margins of Dunedin where this is not the case and where the composting toilet is a very suitable alternative to the septic tank and avoids many of the problems associated with septic tanks. In Dunedin, approximately 0.5% of households have composting toilets installed.

This show on COMPOSTING TOILETS is aimed at listeners who are not connected to the wastewater system. As well as all the rest of us who just find this a fascinating topic!

My guest is Matt King. Matt is the Director, Marketing manager, and maker of Emergency Composting Toilets, a business that has emerged subsequent to the earthquakes in Christchurch. Matt is familiar to the challenges faced by people following emergencies. Over the last few years he has travelled and worked through Indonesia and Papua New Guinea managing aid projects related to community resilience and tsunami recovery.

He is now based in Otaki, on the Kapiti Coast where he runs GreenEarth Development, a consultancy company focused on project design and management in sustainable construction and community development

To listen to this programme about Composting Toilets for Rural Properties please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=8ea2d655-d0f4-473e-b850-817d2cd6df8a

To find out more about

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  21st May 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Matt King

Matt King – Director, Marketing Manager and maker of Emergency composting Toilets

Matt showing the Emergeny omposting Toilet in flat paked state

Matt showing the Emergency composting Toilet in flat packed state

Double buket system for the Emergeny omposting Toilet. One buket is for solids, the other for liquid waste.

Double bucket system for the Emergency composting Toilet. One bucket is for solids, the other for liquid waste.

Composting Paper Towels – with Jen Rodgers

In the workplace, paper towels used to dry hands in bathrooms are responsible for a significant amount of the waste going to land fill. Being soiled, the paper is not suitable for recycling back into paper or cardboard. Composting it seems the obvious answer.

How can workplaces compost their paper towels? Where can the paper towels be composted so they are mixed with a suitable balance of organic materials high in nitrogen? How should workplace staff be involved so that the towels are separated from any other waste material?

The Otago Polytechnic is a pioneer when it comes to sustainability within tertiary education. They are one of a number of growing number of organisations and businesses who are taking action divert used paper towels from the landfill, by composting them.

In this programme I chat with Jen Rodgers who is the Sustainable Practice Manager at the Otago Polytechnic about how the Otago Polytechnic is composting paper towels as an interim measure while they progressively install energy efficient old blade handdriers across the city. We also chat about some of the other interesting sustainability initiatives happening at the Otago Polytechnic.

To listen to this programme about Composting Paper Towels in the Workplace please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=d215ac2f-d586-4511-bcdb-f37d576807d5

To find out more about

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  18th June 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Natural Funerals – with Lynda Hannah

Death is part of life and though its something most of us want to avoid as long as possible – eventually we all must face it. On this programme, our topic is Natural Funerals. The decisions that we make around how we manage the funerals of our loved ones are very personal and everyone should to be respected for their choices.

Its something I have a lot of interest in. I’ve played an active role in the group Dunedin Advocates for Natural Burials since it was initiated in 2010. As a result of our and others efforts – and importantly the enthusiasm, cooperation and leadership from the Dunedin City Council – we now have a natural burial site here in Dunedin situated at Green Park near Brighton. It feels pretty good to know that at the end I have a place to go where I will return to feed the soil and the native tree that will be planted on top of me!

Here on Eco-Living in Action we did a show on 26th June 2014 on the topic of natural burials in Dunedin with Dunedin Advocates for Natural Burials – with guests Elizabeth Thompson and Elizabeth Duke. You can check out this show this site. There are some photos displayed showing the Green Park site.

In this programme, I speak by phone to Lynda Hannah from Motueka about some of the key aspects of NATURAL FUNERALS.

Lynda is Director of Living Legacies, a natural funeral company, that offers a sustainable, holistic and celebratory approach to life, death and funerals. Her service includes guidance and support through the process of planning, arranging and co-ordinating an eco-friendly funeral and the care and disposition of the body. She also provides advice on eco-friendly options like biodegradable coffins, as well as a counseling service.

To listen to this programme about Natural Funerals please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=49183d99-ba0b-42bc-a67a-c73424f358d3

To find out more about

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  28th May 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Lynda Hannah, Director of Living Legacies

Lynda Hannah, Director of Living Legacies