Category Archives: Sustainability

UC Sustainability Champion: Meet Abby

This year, we’re proud to be profiling students and staff who we believe are contributing to the culture of sustainability at UC. We are running this campaign in the lead up to the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards, so get thinking about who you’ll be nominating this year! Nominations for the Awards are open from now until the 31 August (see our website for the nomination form and all the details).

In the meantime, read on and enjoy our next Sustainability Champion profile from the wonderful Abby – she’s a keen advocate for climate justice, one of our regular community garden volunteers, and is on the exec for two of our fave UCSA clubs: Digsoc and the Eco Clubs Network. You might also recognise her from the recent UC Me campaign, or perhaps one of her regular pieces in Canta.

Somehow, she’s doing all this while studying towards her BA in Philosophy and Te Re Māori – so make sure you check out the video below of Abby singing a beautiful waiata during last year’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori!

Tell us about yourself!

Kia ora koutou katoa! My name is Abby and I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Te Reo Māori. I am passionate about eco-sustainability, languages, and music. A fun fact about me is that I am slightly obsessed with my dungaree collection – I own six pairs of dungarees and one pinafore, and am always on the hunt for more. I have also been teaching myself guitar for 3 years, and have aspirations of becoming a high school languages teacher in French and Te Reo Māori, as well as maybe English, Music and/or ESOL.

Abby in gardens

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Tell us how you become involved with sustainability at UC.

I initially started studying a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Psychology (I’m now doing a BA in Philosophy, Te Reo Māori and French – but that’s another story) and I have always been passionate about the environment and advocating for climate justice. When I changed my study pathway I still wanted to keep myself involved in sustainable/eco/environmental pursuits and I started volunteering at the Waiutuutu Community Gardens on campus (previously Okeover Community Gardens). I started helping out there in June 2017 after I accidentally found myself at their end of term pizza party (homemade in a pizza oven onsite!) which was absolutely delicious/glorious, I might add.

Kim, Varvara, Andrew and Abby

What has been a sustainability project that has meant a lot to you?

An ongoing sustainability project has been the process of moving towards a more bilingual community garden at UC, which acknowledges te ao Māori and the relationship tāngata whenua have with their taiao (environment). This includes the new name/ingoa hou that was gifted by Kai Tahu kaumatua at the end of 2018: Te Ngaki o Waiutuutu, or in English, Waiutuutu Community Garden.

Waiutuutu is the historic/original Māori name for our Okeover Stream that runs through UC’s main campus. It translates to waters of reciprocity.

Abby leading a waiata as part of te Wiki o te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week 2018 in Waiutuutu Community Garden

Tell us about some other areas of your life at UC.

  • QCanterbury, Social Media Manager
  • DigSoc, Events ‘Wormlord’
  • CANTA Contributor
  • Thursdays in Black, General Exec
  • Eco Clubs Network, General Exec

 What is something that has made you feel really proud and a part of UC?

End of year sustainability party

I helped to organise a pizza party last year at the gardens last year that had an amazing turn out. It was a little overwhelming to have fifty to eighty hungry university students, staff, and Ilam locals wander through our māra and feed them homemade oven fired pizza. We also had the smoothie bike up and running, and finished with pineapple sage tea and an outdoor movie screening of Occupy the Farm. I loved being able to share my favourite place on campus (and best kept secret) with new people.

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Where to next for you?

I am finishing off my undergraduate degree, after which I intend to complete my Masters of Teaching (Secondary) to become a high school teacher in Te Reo Māori and French.

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This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on FacebookInstagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our Sustainability Champions Campaign, where we profile UC students and staff doing great things for sustainability. This is part of our wider communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.

Want to see how we celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight on campus?

Last week, UC Sustainability celebrated all things ethical and fair trade with one of our favourite events of the year: our annual Fair Trade Fair! Missed out? Read on, we’ve put together a highlights reel so you can see what we got up to.

 

Held in the beautiful Haere-roa, we welcomed over 200 students and staff to come and learn about fair trade, try some yummy (and fairly traded) goodies, and meet our suppliers who make our Fair Trade University possible. The fair trade cold brew, banana smoothies (made by pedal power on a smoothie bike of course!) and hot chocolates went down an absolute treat, and we loved seeing our suppliers share their stories of the real people and communities behind their products.

What is fair trade, and why should we care?

Fair trade supports marginalised farmers and workers in developing countries. By supporting them, we’re enabling them to take better care of their environment and to build a better life for themselves, their families and their communities. From the coffee you drink, the chocolate you eat and the clothes you wear – products that are fairly traded create a real, positive difference in people’s lives. By choosing to buy fair trade, we are guaranteeing producers receive a minimum price regardless of global trends. We’re also ensuring that workers receive liveable wages, safe working conditions, access to clean water and schooling for their children.

Our University has been proudly Fair Trade since 2017. To learn more about who we’re working with to make our University fair trade, and real  examples of what they are doing for their communities, check out the suppliers stories below (and spot them in the photos!)

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you enjoyed seeing our fair trade celebrations – and we’ll see you again next year!

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on FacebookInstagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This is part of our contribution to Fairtrade Fortnight, where we encourage our UC community to get involved and support the empowerment of producers overseas. If you’d like some more information on our Fair Trade University, see our website. Big thanks to Corey Blackburn and Mark McNeill from UC Marketing for the photos and videos of the event.

Common Good Coffee Roasters: More than just your daily coffee

You love their coffee but do you know their story?

Common Good card

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, we’re getting up close and personal with people and businesses connected to UC who are making the world a better (and fairer) place. Read on to learn about the people behind UCSA’s fair trade coffee supplier, Common Good Coffee – who are doing so much more than just good coffee!

So what makes Common Good Coffee so special?

On top of an epic roast and a 100% commitment to a fair trade supply chain, Common Good Coffee is using its profits for good in Aotearoa and around the world. From the fair trade principles behind their coffee supply, to the roasting of that same coffee right here in Christchurch, and the reinvestment of their profits into communities around the world, Common Good Coffee is a very, very good time. And the best bit is, all you have to do be a part of their story is simply drink their coffee!

The man behind your coffee addiction: Vernon roasts (and delivers) kilos of coffee each week to UC

So, about that coffee…

The coffee you’re sipping on has come a long way before the baristas at UC (and you) got their hot little hands on it. For example, the Ethiopian Sidamo coffee bean that makes up your brew has come all the way from the Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union of Ethiopia (OCFCU).

The Layo Teraga Cooperative in Southern Ethiopia (part of the OCFCU) currently has 1200 members and has maintained Fairtrade certification since 2009. Since becoming certified, the fair trade social premium has paid for depulping equipment, two transport trucks, and in 2010 the community was able to build an elementary school. Before this, the nearest school was a two hour walk away.

Common Good Coffee also contributed directly to the building of the elementary school – last year they donated $19,000 towards teacher’s accommodation, allowing itinerant teachers to spend less time travelling and more time teaching.

Elementary school - common goodTeacher’s accommodation in the Layo Teranga cooperative’s elementary school, Sidamo/Guji region, southern Ethiopia

But wait, there’s more!

Common Good ladies Kolkata

He aha te mea nui o te ao
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

What is the most important thing in the world?
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Before, we mentioned that Common Good Coffee reinvested their profits into communities around the world. This is where the bigger picture stuff comes in: Common Good Coffee Roasters is actually part of a wider business called Common Good, based in Kolkata, India. Common Good has since created jobs for fifteen women to make products like bags and wristbands, which are proudly worn all around the world. Better still, 100% of the profits from Common Good are going directly to services like sanitation, clean water and education – meaning not only do fifteen women have dignified and meaningful work, but their families and communities are now able to make choices that weren’t available to them before.

And finally, they get local too

Just in case you thought they were done…

Addington Coffee Co-op

Common Good Coffee is roasted at Addington Coffee Co-op, 297 Lincoln Road (definitely worth checking out, make sure you go hungry), and they recently donated $100,000 to the local Addington Primary School. The Addington Te Kura Taumatua Whanua Room was funded by Common Good to grow community connections within the school, and is used by a diverse range of people from the school community.

whanau room

So, it’s more than just a cup of coffee! (but at the same time, it’s all about that cup of coffee…). And to think that every time you buy a Common Good Coffee from The Shilling Club, Cafe 1894 or Chilton’s, you’re actually directly contributing to all the above goodness…. who knew making good more common would be so easy?!

Want to know more about Common Good and what they’re doing locally and globally? Come and meet them at our annual Fair Trade Fair on Wednesday 14 August, 11am – 1pm in Haere-roa. We’ll be showcasing the incredible suppliers that make our Fair Trade University possible, and celebrate the impact they are having on communities around the world. See the Facebook event here for all the details.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This is part of our contribution to Fairtrade Fortnight, where we encourage our UC community to get involved and support the empowerment of producers overseas. For more information on the fair trade movement, see the Fairtrade NZ website.

UC Alumni founds ethical soical enterprise

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight! Over the next two weeks, UC Sustainability is sharing stories of people connected to UC who are working to make the world a fairer place. Sneha Pulapaka graduated from UC in 2017 and has since started a social enterprise called The Native Loom which works with marginal artisan, weavers and tailors in rural South India. We recently caught up with her to learn more about what her business does, and the impact it is having on a community across the world.

You’re UC Alumni! What did you study during your time at UC?

Yes I am proudly UC alumni, I spent one of my best years at UC. I enrolled into course at School of Health Sciences at UC. I completed my Post-Graduate Diploma in Health Sciences, with an endorsement in Health Information Management from University of Canterbury.

My time at UC was full of new experiences, meeting people and acquiring some entrepreneurial skills.

 Since graduating, you’ve founded your own social enterprise, The Native Loom. When and where did this story begin?The earliest memory of sustainable textiles is from my childhood. As children, my sister and I wore handmade clothes and I remember my mother repurposed her old cotton sarees as baby clothes, nappies and baby quilts for both of us. The texture of the fabric was so soft and even after years it didn’t tarnish. While in college, I had this idea of repurposing an old dress of mine into new, so I got crafty and sew some coloured sequins. A few years ago, I visited some artisan clusters within rural South India and learnt more about how they made textiles. I was fascinated by the fact that all these textiles were actually woven by a person on a hand loom, which is very labour intensive. The process involves sourcing sustainable cotton, followed by preparing the yarn, dyeing the yarn and then weaving it over the hand loom. This process summarises the most sustainable way a piece of textile can be made.

I learnt that it takes 10 days for a weaver to weave a saree that is around 6 yards. Hand loom weaving skills are traditional skills, practised from generations. Within a family of artisans, you will see that all members participate in textile production process. Unfortunately, these skills are at the verge of extinction as there are no young people ready to learn the traditional textile making skills. And also, the fact that artisan communities need to compete with power loom is what drove me to help these artisan communities and The Native Loom was born.

Tell us about the ethos behind your business.

“People, Planet and Culture”

We are about all of these things: ethically made textiles, empowering artisan communities and caring for our planet through eco-friendly products. At The Native Loom, we believe our choices matter so we have carefully curated our products not just because they are natural or organic and ethical but because the people and the stories behind them benefit directly from our support, both through purchase of the products and through the giving of our profits back to these communities and also projects here in New Zealand. Our actions preserve the planet, empower the lives of artisan communities and provides possibilities to future generations.

What products are being made, and by whom?

We currently produce natural fibre based textile products. Our collections include homewares such as fruit and veggie produce bags, reusable tea bags, accessories such as totes, scarves and earrings.All products are designed here in New Zealand and made in India. Our artisan groups comprise of women from marginalized communities, they are part of cooperatives/self-help groups based in Southern India. The artisans work with only GOTS certified organic cotton.

We’d love you to share any key learnings you’ve had over the last year.

Sustainability is not a one off, it is a gradual process that becomes a way of living eventually. We consciously need to take notice of how we produce and consume together as a community and it’s no different for us as a social enterprise. Producing sustainable textiles is just part of what we do as a social enterprise. Building communities that thrive is our vision.Key Learnings:

  • Over the last year we had some leftover fabric post our production and we didn’t want to waste so we repurposed them as product tags, accessories like earrings, necklace, hair ties etc. We saved around 9 kgs of textile from going into landfills. Solutions are all around us and we just need to take a close look.
  • As a social enterprise based out in New Zealand and working with artisans from another country, it can be very overwhelming at times. The Native Loom is all about collaboration and communication plays a key factor in this process. We take measures to keep open communication with our artisan groups. It is very important that we hear them out first and how they plan to approach things. So we learn together and grow.
  • Over the last year we were able to empower 14 women from our partner groups in achieving fair wages and safe working conditions. We were able to eliminate the use of over 1,435 single use plastic bags and saved over 1,000 liters of water. We also donated our profits to support native New Zealand tree planting through the Million Meters Streams Project here in Aotearoa.

Where to next for The Native Loom? 

  1. Ethical: Our plan over the next three years is to provide a platform for the weaver and artisan communities through a digital interface. We are also working on reaching more artisan clusters that ensure safe working conditions and fair wages.
  2. Ecological: We plan to support more native tree planting projects and other environmental initiatives within New Zealand and also in Southern India.
  3. Empowering: We plan to empower women artisans with education and entrepreneurial skill training so they can use the digital interface (that we plan to develop) with confidence. Also, we plan to launch artisan and weaver well-being programs over the next two years that include health and nutrition.

Want to learn more about Sneha and The Native Loom’s story? Catch her at our Fair Trade Fair on Wednesday 14 August, 11am – 1pm in Haere-roa. We’ll be showcasing the incredible suppliers that make our Fair Trade University possible, and celebrate the impact they are having on communities around the world. See the Facebook event here for all the details.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on FacebookInstagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This is part of our contribution to Fairtrade Fortnight, where we encourage our UC community to get involved and support the empowerment of producers overseas. For more information on the fair trade movement, see the Fairtrade NZ website.

 

 

 

Who won the 2017 Supreme Sustainability Award?

Nominations for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards are now open!

To celebrate, we caught up with the Supreme Winner from 2017, Glynne Mackey. We wanted to share her story of sustainability and social justice with you, and inspire you to think of who you will nominating for a Sustainability Award this year.

Nominations for the Sustainability Awards are open from now until  31 August. The nomination forms and all the information can be found on our website.

In the meantime, enjoy hearing from Glynne Mackey, Senior Lecturer in the College of Education, Health and Human Development.

L-R: Glynne Mackey, Wendy Lawson and Matt Morris

Introduce yourself!

Nga mihi nui.

Sustainability and social justice has been significant during my childhood and young adult years. As a primary school teacher, I could see how excited and engaged children became when learning about their world; the environment; their relationships with their family, place and community. Since I began lecturing in 2004, I have been involved in teaching courses on sustainability and social justice to both early childhood and primary UC students.

You’re a senior lecturer in teacher education. Tell us about your work at UC, and how you came to develop courses on sustainability and social justice.

I came as a lecturer in the early childhood programmes at the College of Education. A colleague was trialling a year 3 course for preservice early childhood teachers and I asked to be involved. It is great to be able to teach in the area where I have interest and passion. This was a compulsory course and gave all EC teachers the knowledge and confidence to take their learning into teaching teams where they were employed. Since 2012, Sustainability and Social Justice has been an option for all EC and Primary students in the final year of their degree. I have worked with other inspired lecturers in this course, each has added new perspectives and new energy. The course now has a focus on the values associated with sustainability and social justice, such as caring for self, others and the environment; being an advocate for children and the environment; recognising children’s agency; teachers and children taking action in the community; and reflecting on how they, as teachers, have a responsibility to the centre or school community to uphold the principles of sustainability and social justice.

My involvement is not just about teaching. I have joined University groups and committees and presently on the UC Sustainability Reference Group. I have also developed a Sustainability Strategy for the College of Education, Health and Human Development.

What has been a significant moment for you on this journey?

There have been several moments! The most powerful moments come from past students I meet who tell me what the course still means to their teaching practice and how they have continued to make it part of their teaching commitment and philosophy. I know from their enthusiasm that children will be contributing to make their communities a better place.

Another significant moment has been to have had influence on the document for all teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand. ‘Our Code. Our Standards’ (Education Council, 2017) sets out the professional responsibilities for the teaching profession ‘in shaping futures by promoting and protecting the principles of human rights, sustainability and social justice’.  With the statement now embedded in the document, there will be a requirement for teacher education, teacher registration and professional development programmes to show evidence of how this professional responsibility will be achieved from early childhood, through primary and secondary.

You won the Supreme Award at the 2017 Sustainability Awards! Wow! Could you tell us more about this?

Amazing! When I counted up the years I have been teaching degree courses and the number of students involved, it becomes apparent that education has the power to change and impact on the learning of children and young people. The ripples from the courses have spread widely into early childhood and primary. Winning the award is recognition of the importance of teacher education to lead change and build relationships and my role in being part of that.  I am encouraged by UC initiatives that promote research and teaching in areas of sustainability and social justice.

Where to next for you?

Through my research, I have made strong international connections with a growing research community involved in early childhood education for sustainability. These connections continue to provide opportunity for me to collaborate in academic publications, attend international conferences and contribute to international documents on education for sustainability and social justice.

My present research with colleagues will produce a resource for teachers to reflect, review and document their sustainability practices and explore social justice issues. The resource or tool kit easily accessed by all teachers is intended to motivate and inspire teaching teams and individual teachers to extend their sustainable practices and respond in a meaningful way to social and cultural issues in their educational setting.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on FacebookInstagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.