Plastic Free July: what we learned

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Hey guys! George, Juliet and Poppy here! As part of Plastic Free July, we have been working with UC Sustainability to share with you guys how we have been cutting down on our single use plastics, both on and off campus. You might have seen Poppy’s takeover on the UC Sustainability Instagram (@ucsustain, check it out!), but if you missed it, here’s what we have been up to this month.

The top four single use plastics are plastic bags, cups (coffee cups), plastic straws and plastic cutlery. There has been some progress around UC in terms of providing alternatives for single use plastics which we think is rad, but there is also a lot you can do to help! This can be as simple as buying a bamboo toothbrush (super hip and not expensive – literally $5), bringing your own coffee cup and lunch container to uni, dining in at restaurants/cafes or bringing your own reusable bags to the supermarket.

We have taken it to the next step, by heading out around Christchurch on our bikes in search of a few more ways to reduce the use of single use plastics and save some pennies at the same time!

Our favourite locations for bulk food and household items:

Bin Inn – Stanmore Road, also Lincoln Road and Hawke Street (New Brighton).

What we loved:

  • How strongly they encourage you to bring your own container/jar to reduce costs and eliminate packaging (you’ll never throw away another jam jar again!)
  • Every type of bulk food imaginable i.e. oats, nuts, couscous, rice, pasta, muesli, spices, lentils
  • Even liquids such as oils, honey, molasses, vinegar… on tap!
  • General household items i.e. dishwashing liquid, spray and wipe, laundry powder and dish wash powder (just BYO bottles, and/or tip the liquids into old spray bottles when you’re home)
  • Friendly service – the Bin Inn in New Brighton has a ‘Jar Library’ to help you out if you forget to bring enough jars/containers.

Serious money saver!! Bulk items are always so much cheaper than pre-packaged supermarket 

  • alternatives, plus you also get an extra 5% off if you BYO containers.

See Bin Inn’s videos for handy tips on bulk shopping!

Our favourite thing about Bin Inn was making our own peanut butter, it is cheap! The little jar in the picture was about $2 of peanut butter.

Piko Wholefoods – Corner of Barbadoes Street and Kilmore Street

What we loved:

  • The range of certified organic bulk foods available i.e. rice, lentils and oats – a huge range of gluten free options too
  • Also yummy tea, coffee and breads etc.
  • They are big supporters of Fair Trade products – LOTS of fair trade tea, coffee, sugar, nuts, spices, cold drinks, cocoa and chocolate options! YAY!
  • It’s encouraged to bring your own container/jar for your bulk goods (or they often have spare containers there for you to use!)
  • A wide variety of ingredients/items either wrapped in paper or in packaging that looks like plastic BUT can be composted in your home compost bin!
  • A little more pricey, but a great place to visit for your specialty goods, or yummy treats. Although the maple syrup (buy it on tap) was the cheapest we’ve seen anywhere! Yum!
  • Nice vibe and super friendly people. They also run yoga workshops and classes in the upstairs space!

We hope this helps anyone out there who is trying to be a little more plastic free (and for those already doing it! Go you!). All these little changes do make a huge difference, plus they are fun, and give you a sense of satisfaction to know that you are doing something positive for the planet and your pennies.

Huge thanks to Poppy, Juliet and George for their Plastic Free July inspiration! We think the tip about the peanut butter is awesome, what was your favourite? #plasticfreejuly

This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office.
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Eden’s RYLA experience in North America

Student Eden Skipper went to the Rotary Young Leader Award Conference in North America in July. He shares his experience.

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International hour to remember
A two minute showcase of New Zealand either typically in the form of dance, song or poetry.

For this I demonstrated a hongi with one of my peers and spoke my shortened mihi. I finished my act with the proverb ‘Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei’.

North America expo
The expo was a chance to share with other delegates New Zealand and or Rotary projects in District 9970.

For my presentation I shared my whakapapa from Birdlings Flat, Waiwera rūnanga. Catching tuna from Lake Waiwera is not only a privilege for any Ngāi Tahu member but also anyone else. The eeling experience is unique, one which I am fortunate to have done and had to kōrero with others in Washington. As a teina I recall waiting behind the pā for what felt like hours in absolute silence in pitch black night. After which we snuck up to the drain and begin to hook tuna with our gaffs. A good nights harvest would exceed 200+ tuna. They would be processed, smoked then given to our extended family with us having a few for kai as well! Unfortunately due to environmental conditions of the lake and the decline of the eel population, harvesting tuna could exhaust them – one of Waiwera’s treasures and natural resources. I also spoke about the exhausting of our land and resources. Lake Waiwera being an example of this due to eutrophication.

See an article of eeling in Birdlings Flat here>

Who are Ngāi Tahu? Who are Māori?
These were some of the questions asked throughout the conference. For the delegates who didn’t know who Māori are, I introduced this in my slide show. The Treating of Waitangi and a very brief background of Māori.

For those who knew about Māori or wanted to know more, I spoke about Ngāi Tahu as a tribe, business and charity, including; scholarships, career opportunities, Whai Rawa (savings scheme), governance, environment all of which sits under the Ngāi Tahu kaupapa. Lots of praise was shown for the interaction of Ngāi Tahu specifically with the environment, governance and education throughout New Zealand.

I believe the collaboration between Māori (iwi) and pakeha is a leading example of biculturalism with the indigenous people.

Mr RYLA competition
The finale night, delegates were given the opportunity to perform a dance/song/poem etc. infront of their peers to compete for Mr/Mrs RYLA 2018. This is not necessarily a cultural requirement. 

For my act I started with the proverb ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!’ this quote was used by past International President Ian Risley. I then spoke about the respect I had for everyone in the room. Each and every one of them were committed to making other lives better. After speaking my respect I showed my respect by performing Tika Tonu.

A question following my performance was ‘when is a time you have shown courage?’, my response was, when I performed this haka six months ago on behalf of my koroua this is also the same time I realised a lot of what he taught me aligned with Ngāi Tahu values and I began to feel the cultural connect to my iwi. 

I had delegates coming up to me afterwards giving me a hongi, shaking my hand and thanking me for showing them. The gratitude I was shown for my performance was incredible, I couldn’t be prouder of how respectful and encapsulated everyone was with our traditions. The selection panel were thankful and impressed, which lead to me being awarded Mr RYLA 2018. My prize is winning my conference registration for 2019.

At the conference I promoted awareness of New Zealand and Ngāi Tahu to over 40 countries, gained the respect of many of the delegates by showcasing New Zealand, Māori and Ngāi Tahu culture in an honourable manner demonstrating our collective mana.

Indigenous practices in educational institutes is one of the core interest areas I focused on whilst at RYLA NA. Of the candidates I asked, none of their respective home countries had indigenous practices integrated in their institute. For education there is not one size fits all for learning. Multiculturalism in education adds differing opinions and challenges others thoughts, all of which helps develop a growing brain. It is also a show of respect acknowledging the indigenous people of the land and the history it holds.

I think UC can be a world leader in this and inspire other universities and businesses to do the same.

I braced myself for the impact…

Earlier this year, second year student Victoria was in a hurry to get to a lecture on time – she knew she was cutting it fine. Here she talks about why she didn’t make it to the lecture at all…

The lecture was about to start and I knew how long it would take me to bike to Ilam campus from Avonhead. I biked past Dovedale campus and then along Ilam Fields. As I got to the Ilam Road crossing I saw a car coming, which I thought would stop for the crossing. I slowed but didn’t stop and entered the crossing.

Pretty much as soon as I entered the crossing I knew the car hadn’t slowed down enough to stop. I was the only one on the crossing and I remember the car vividly, it was coming towards me and it was getting so close, freakishly close. I knew the car was going to hit me.

The impact
I don’t really remember the car hitting me, but I remember lying on my back on the ground and feeling my legs tingling and an odd sensation. I felt extremely winded and could feel pressure on my left side. Security staff told me later that I had jammed on my brakes, put my foot down and I braced myself for the impact.

I was hit on the crossing but landed a few metres away on the road. I was just taken along with the car as it was moving. I was wearing my helmet – so glad that I did. A whole chunk of it broke off. The ambulance guys told me if I hadn’t been wearing it, I would have been knocked out.

It happened so quickly – in a couple of seconds. I was lucky there wasn’t a car coming from the other direction. I just lay on the ground for a couple of minutes afterwards and closed my eyes – possibly in denial! I think I was in shock. I think the driver who hit me was in shock too.

The aftermath
Heaps of people came to help me, and the security team were really fast at calling an ambulance and getting all my stuff together.

I had bruising on my ribs from where the car hit me, and bruises and cuts from the road on my legs – I was lucky. Because I was on a bike I was elevated, if I was a pedestrian I would have been bowled over.

I sent a text to my friend afterwards and told her what had happened. As you can imagine I got a quick reply. She took me home – driving very cautiously! I never did get to the lecture.

My ribs took the longest to heal, they took most of the impact and were quite uncomfortable for a while. I think it took me a week to understand everything that had happened.

Think first
I’m definitely more cautious now and a lot more aware of what’s happening around me. I don’t take the same risks, it’s just not worth it – it’s better to be a couple of minutes late and to get there safely in one piece.

If you do take a risk you’re putting yourself and other people in a vulnerable position. You’ve got to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Imagine being the driver, they don’t want to hit a cyclist or pedestrian just as much as you don’t want to be hit.

Below: The damage to Victoria’s bike helmet.