Walking the length of the South Island – with guest Becky Cameron

We live in an increasingly frantic and speeded up world. For many people, even driving at 100km/hour has become too slow. One major growing counter-revolution to this frenzy of hurry – is Slow Travel. And when it comes to slow travel – we can’t get much slower than walking.

Walking brings us experiences that we don’t have when we jump on a plane, in a car – or even on a bicycle. It changes us in good ways – both physically and mentally.

Someone who chose to Travel Slow by walking this summer, is Dunedin artist Becky Cameron, who walked the length of the South Island taking the Te Araroa Trail. I talk to her about why she did it, how it has changed her and what benefits we can expect with walking as our predominant mode of travel.

This show was recorded on the 27th of April 2017.

To listen to this programme about Walking as Slow Travel please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=67c9c449-f739-4a88-b0a5-c28f50bf603b

(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 recent 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 11th May 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Becky Cameron at her destination – Bluff – the south of the South Island of New Zealand

Travers Pass – just one of the outstanding landscapes Becky passed through.

Becky found much inspiration for her daily drawings in the landscape. Here is her drawing of Travers Pass.

Home again after two months away. Becky weeding out the thistles in her garden in Dunedin.

 

Biochar for small farm productivity – with guest Dennis Enright

Is biochar the answer to restoring our productive soils as well as mitigating climate change?

Dennis Enright is an organic market gardener, and the owner of TopVeges, an organic market garden business based in Mosgiel, close to the city of Dunedin in New Zealand. In addition to organics, Dennis also has a passion for making biochar and using it as a natural soil amendment for vegetable growing and carbon sequestration. Biochar is charcoal made by the burning or pyrolysis of carbon rich materials at high temperature in the absence of oxygen.

Due to his interest in Biochar, in the last few years Dennis’s life has taken a very interesting twist! He now spends a portion of each year in remote areas of Thailand advising and assisting local farmers to create and use biochar instead of traditional slash and burn methods. His work is showing very promising results in terms of crop productivity, as well as wider environmental benefits. As part of his work, Dennis works with local organisations – Greennet and Warm Heart Worldwide.

This show was originally recorded on the 10th April 2017. I talk to Dennis about his work making and using biochar, and scientifically testing it as a soil amendment for small farmers in Thailand.

To listen to this programme about Biochar for Small Farm Productivity please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=cbbd6220-9ef4-467a-a1d3-2ccf6acfde12. (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

This show was originally broadcast on the 27th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

For more information –

 

 

Dennis assesses soil quality on the test and control sites that have biochar added/not added. To the right of the photo is ‘Vermis the Worm’. Dennis plans to use him as a voice for talking about soil, particularly for kids. Vermis has travelled to various parts of Thailand and other places!

A pit is a simple and effective way to make biochar.

Why I like hitch-hiking – with guest Paul Armstrong

Is the idea of hitch-hiking something you regard with horror, or with fond memories of travel adventures from your youth?

According to WikiTravel.org, hitch-hiking in New Zealand is classified as Common, Easy and Legal. This mode of travel is good for our planet, for the simple reason that it turns single occupancy car travel into shared travel thus reducing the personal carbon footprint of each occupant.

Apart from the lofty goals of mitigating climate change, there are of course many other reasons why people hitch-hike – from the interesting people you can meet to low cost travel. In this show I chat with local Dunedinite Paul Armstrong who has hitched many times before and thoroughly enjoyed it. We chat about the unexpected as well as the expected joys of hitching, and share some of our life enriching hitching stories.

Please note. The risks of hitching are low but potentially serious. Before you stick your thumb out, I recommend you check out the website HitchWiki.org. Here you will find many safety tips, as well as as information on where to hitch in the various countries you visit, what to wear, and so on.

TO LISTEN to this programme about Hitching please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=b5b3a5ea-512d-4346-862c-6fcfcc6ad3bb. (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 –

This show was originally broadcast on the 3rd December 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Paul Armstrong

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.

 

 

 

A Grassroots Protector of the Climate – with guest Rosemary Penwarden

When you go out walking do you find yourself picking up the litter of strangers? Do you sign petitions to change government policy? Do you go on rallys, or introduce recycling at work or school? Whatever environmental protection actions you take – if you are trying to change your bit of the world for the better – then you can call yourself a protector of the planet.

One person who firmly fits the label of planet protector is Rosemary Penwarden. Rosemary spent many years working as a medical laboratory scientist, is a proud grandmother (‘Rama’) and lives in Waitati north of Dunedin. In the last five years she has become actively passionate about the issue of climate change, and is involved in opposing fossil fuel extraction in New Zealand and particularly in Dunedin. She is part of Oil Free Otago and CANA (Coal Action Network Aotearoa).

On this show recorded on the 24th February 2017, I chat with Rosemary Penwarden about her personal journey to grassroots action, and what it is like to directly oppose big business corporations in the fossil fuel industry in New Zealand.

To listen to this programme about Protecting the Climate please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=a3b8ea7f-59ce-4b9a-8da6-621cd4d247f7. (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 –

This show was originally broadcast on the 16th march 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Oil Free Otago spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden stands in front of their banner at the Dunedin Railway Station clock tower. The group wants the government to invest in clean energy projects instead of deep sea oil and gas drilling.

 

Oil Free Otago campaigners peacefully protest at a petroleum conference blockade, Sky City, Auckland. 2016

CANA (Coal Action Network Aotearoa) protest against Fonterra’s continued used of coal at their Clandeboye plant near Timaru – 2017. Photo taken by Shannon Gilmore.

Rosemary enjoys some family time with her grandson Arlo (2016)

Learn more at The Organic Centre – with guest Hans Wieland

Whether you are just beginning or an experienced organic grower, there is always more to learn about organic food production. The Organic Centre in Co. Leitrim in Ireland, was set up as charity with the purpose of providing training and information about organic growing and sustainable living. It started from small and humble beginnings in 1995. Now in 2017, it boasts demonstration gardens, numerous pylytunnels, a wetland disposal system, display composting systems, a large orchard and native woodland. The lovely central building with its grassroof, shop and eatery has won awards for its ecological design. Over 100 courses are on offer at The Organic Centre each year! 

In this show recorded on 31st March 2017, I chat with Hans Wieland, Training and Marketing Manager, at The Organic Centre about how the centre got started and what it has on offer for people wanting to learn more about organics and sustainable living.

 To listen to this programme about The Organic Centre please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=96f79f5d-1728-4079-8f5f-2cc6129e2e77. (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 The Organic Centre, go to www.organiccentre.ie, or ring the centre at 00353-(0)71-98-54338. The Organic Centre is located near the village of Rossinver in Co Leitrim. Note that the centre is open from 18th February to 12th November in 2017. Open 10am-5pm Tuesday through to Sunday.

This show was originally broadcast on the 20th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

The Organic Centre in Co. Leitrim, Ireland. The main building has won an award for its ecological design.

 

The main building has an eatery, informational area and organic products including seeds.

Hans Wieland, Training and Marketing Manager, at The Organic Centre, Co Leitrim

Courses and workshops are taught at The Organic Centre.

Look out for the sign to The Organic Centre!

 

Fostering Energy Resilience in Blueskin Bay – with Scott Willis

Since it was formed in 2008, the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) has had its share of successes as well as its challenges. Back in 2013, Scott Willis from the group came on the show to talk about their exciting proposal to build three wind turbines to generate energy in the community of Blueskin Bay, just north of Dunedin. Unfortunately, despite community support, the turbine proposal has also faced some local opposition leading to a reduction in the number of planned turbines being proposed.

But BRCT is as resilient as its name suggests, and provides many other positive benefits to the local community (and Dunedin) such as Home Performance Assessments, the ClimateSafeHouse project, Community Energy Advice, bulk firewood and insulation, and Climate Change planning.

In this show, recorded on 3rd April 2017, I talk to Scott Willis about positive developments for BRCT, setbacks, the big picture of community based energy resilience – and what keeps Scott motivated over the long term.

To listen to this programme about COMMUNITY ENERGY RESILIENCE please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=a9a0ad0b-edcd-4133-aa92-6beed95bb4b3

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

This show was originally broadcast on the 13th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Scott Willis, Project Manager at Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) in Waitati, Dunedin, New Zealand

Early mock up of the proposed wind development on Porteous Hill. Currently for one turbine.

Preparing the wind site for geotech assessment

Services that BRCT provide include firewood delivery to the Blueskin Community.

BRCT also provides advice on energy efficient homes. Here are most of the Home Performance Assessment team