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10/04/2019 12:00pm

Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga is keen for council to sign up for a proposed sustainable living community education programme.

At a presentation by Sustainable Living Education Trust on 9 April, Mayor Tregidga said the Local Government New Zealand sponsored initiative made sense.

 “This is an area we are seriously interested in,” he said.

Other eco-projects

The educational programme would fit in well with many eco projects council was already involved with, such as the Mayor’s programme to deliver worm farms to every school in Waihi and the proposed reuse centre in Paeroa, he said.

Climate change

Mayor Tregidga also supported hundreds of students from all Waihi schools who marched for climate change recently.

Hauraki District Council was also one of the first to sign the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) climate change declaration, in which signatories acknowledge a need for climate action.

Simpler Living

Sustainable Living Education Trust national co-ordinator Rhys Taylor said the Future Living Skills sustainable living education programme focussed on simpler living.

“It’s about a set of choices that reduce your environmental impact while maintaining your quality of life,” he said.

Eight topics

The programme includes eight topics, from energy efficiency and travel to waste minimisation, eco design, food choices, gardening, water saving and community resilience. A ninth topic, about local economies, is currently being developed.

It also offered member councils facilitator recruitment and training, and the use of promotional graphics and materials.

The new normal

About 15 councils nationwide had so far signed up for the programme, which involved a series of public workshops for each topic.

Research had shown the programme had a positive effect so far, he said.“For the people that take part, it makes a significant difference, they become the role models for their friends and family. Once they understand that there are practical things they can do, they use it,” he said.

 “The benefits of a new approach are being able to live in a warmer, drier, house, and we talk about the financial benefits. We’re looking for the positive messages which show that sustainability is a positive thing, it’s becoming the new normal.”

What happens now?

Mayor Tregidga will take a recommendation to the next council meeting that council sign up to the programme.