Category Archives: Sustainability

Seeing the Change for the SDGs in Aotearoa

The first online hui of the Aotearoa/NZ Sustainable Development Goals Summit Series was held last month, attracting virtual participants and a group of inspiring speakers, who sparked conversations and connections across Aotearoa.

Co-hosted by UC and Lincoln University, the 2020-2021 SDG Summit Series focuses on how Aotearoa can implement and take action on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The series is designed to take people on a journey; from an individual understanding of the Global Goals to how to take collective and urgent action to achieve them. This journey will take place through a series of online events and a final in-person Summit event to be held in September 2021.

Last month’s online hui was themed ‘See the Change’ and was designed to help participants gain a solid foundation and a better understanding of the SDGs. It was also an opportunity to hear from inspiring people in our communities, through lightning talks and a panel Q&A. The event was MC’d by Corban Te Aika, Kaiārahi, and the incredible speakers included;

  • 14-year-old climate activist and singer/songwriter Lucy Gray (coordinator of the Christchurch School Strike for Climate)
  • Ngāi Tahu student Tāmati Cunningham (Cashmere High School student leader and manawhenua representative for Environment Canterbury’s Youth Rōpu)
  • Raewyn Jones (WEL Energy Trust Chief Executive and Waikato Wellbeing Project Co-Chair)
  • Dr Pedram Pirnia (Special Advisor for Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Association of New Zealand).

See Raewyn Jones speak to the collective impact happening within her community as part of her work as Co-Chair of the Waikato Wellbeing Project, below:

Following a beautiful musical performance by Lucy, the hui finished with participants breaking out into two practical and interactive workshop streams, one aimed at those new to the SDGs and one for those wishing to take them to the next level through creativity and visual story-telling.

See the entire first half of Hui#1: See the Change here:

Interested in being part of the journey with us?

The second online hui, ‘Be the Change’ is scheduled for 25 March 2021, and the third online hui, ‘Working Together for Change’ will be held on 24 June 2021.

The third and final summit will be a face-to-face event on 2-3 September 2021, with day one being held at UC. The theme of the third Summit will be ‘Collaboration for Systemic Change’ with day two featuring field trips to experience SDGs in action in and around Waitaha Canterbury.

More information on these events and how you can participate are coming soon.

What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

The 17 SDGs are the world’s best plan for achieving a better future for all. In September 2015, the leaders of all 193 UN member states (including Aotearoa New Zealand) adopted Agenda 2030, a universal agenda that contains the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Over the next ten years, countries will mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring no one is left behind.

New Zealand’s eight universities have unanimously resolved to work together and with other sectors – specifically central and local government, civil society, the private sector and youth – to show leadership in the implementation of the SDGs at a national level.

This includes a commitment to hosting a series of national summits that aim to promote, build and accelerate multi-sector action to implement the SDGs in New Zealand.

The 2020-2021 SDG Summit Series is co-hosted by the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University. This event and the ones to follow are organised with Ngāi Tuahuririri and Ngāi Tahu, as well as Pasifika communities, and involved support from the Ara Institute of Technology and the Christchurch City Council. Supporting partners also included ChristchurchNZ, SEEDS Podcast, Tourism NZ and the New Zealand National Commission for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Stay connected with the Aotearoa SDG Summit Series via their website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and by signing up to the mailing list here.

Did you know UC is an edible campus?

Kia ora UC community, 

My name is Ash Anderson, and I am currently interning with Zin South at UC Sustainability over summer! Zin and I are interning through the UC Arts PACE program.

Zin and I by one of the many wonderful fig trees.

I thought I would share a little about myself. I am a second year student at UC studying a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Classics. I have always been interested in living a more sustainable life so being able to work with likeminded people has been an absolute treat so far!

The main project Zin and I are working on with the incredible team at UC Sustainability is updating the edible campus map! Wait, did you not know UC was an edible campus? Well, neither did I before being introduced to this project. Thanks to the Geospatial Research Institute and their wonderful intern Matthew Conley, we have been able to partner together to create a virtual story map of UC’s food forging locations! This means that everyone can help themselves to various fruits available on campus! Including peaches, berries, apricots, figs, feijoas and much more!

Pears growing on the tree near Cafe 1894
A fig growing on the tree by the Fine Arts building.

The UC Sustainability Office’s goal is to help create and change practices within the university and the wider community to be more sustainable and economical. Food forging is just one of the ways they embody this. Having access to fruit trees encompasses many of the UN’s  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we can’t wait to share more about this in our next blog post. 

Stay tuned on social media for updates around this project, including the launch date of the map!

Until next time,

Ash Anderson. 

This message was brought to you by Ash Anderson written on behalf of 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. For more information on sustainability at UC, see our website.

Okeover-Waiutuutu Stream Clean Up

Good news for our campus, and for our streams!

This week, UC is collaborating with Christchurch City Council and City Care to remove significant amounts of sediment from Okeover-Waiutuutu Stream.

For many years we have committed significant resources to taking care of our campus streams. Keeping our streams healthy is difficult, partly because we receive contaminants from a wide catchment – for an urban stream such as Okeover-Waiutuutu, this includes around 800 homes and many roads.

Sediment build up creates many problems, including smothering habitats and trapping ecotoxic heavy metals from the surrounding areas.

This week, City Care will start cleaning up four sites along the Okeover-Waiutuutu Stream. You will be able to see the work being done near Engineering Road, Engineering Pond, Biological Sciences Carpark and Te Ao Mārama.

This project will involve significant in-stream works, including water diversion. Please bear with us while this happens, it will make a huge improvement to the health of the stream. The work is expected to be completed by the end of November.

Which Sustainable Development Goal is this project linked to? SDG 14  “Life Below Water” and SDG 15 “Life On Land” are two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015.

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.

Strong commitment to sustainability shown among UC staff

Last month, all UC staff were invited to take part in a sustainability survey to help measure the extent to which sustainability is embedded in the culture of our university. The results from this survey have allowed us to benchmark how we are progressing against other universities and other organisations.

Called the Sustainability Culture Index (SCI), the purpose of this survey was to get a better understanding of staff views about sustainability, and what factors are both helping and hindering staff to achieve sustainability outcomes. These barriers and opportunities are built around the ‘enablers’ of a culture of sustainability – both individual and organisational. By assessing the extent to which those enablers are present at UC, it is possible to better prioritise and target to embed sustainability in culture.

What are the enablers?

The individual and organisational enablers for sustainability range from the psychological: for example beliefs about sustainability, responsibility and perceived control, to the support mechanisms: for example strategic commitment, leadership, job responsibilities and facilities.

The results are in!

The University of Canterbury scored above the tertiary institution average for 7 of the 13 enablers, with results suggesting that while staff see some tangible efforts to embed sustainability they would like to feel more empowered and educated to make sustainable choices.

On an individual level however, the SCI shows that overall there is a strong commitment to sustainability among UC staff – those who participated in the survey believe it is important and are prepared to make it a priority in their life and in their work.

Even better, the SCI has shown that UC staff are performing a higher frequency of sustainability-related behaviours than those in other tertiary institutions, both when at work and when at home. These behaviours range from sorting waste to reducing consumption of materials and resources, and being mindful of the impacts of their transport and commuting choices.

Written comments in the survey suggested that reducing transport-related emissions, increasing energy efficiency and reducing paper usage are key areas where UC can improve its sustainability performance.

Interested in learning more?

If you’re interested in seeing in more detail how these enablers play out for staff sustainability-related behaviours at UC, see the full report on our website here.

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.

Commonwealth Climate Resilience Challenge Grants now open

Kia ora colleagues

The Association of Commonwealth Universities has launched this grant round today.  It is open to both academic and professional staff. The deadline is 11.59 pm GMT on 13 November 2020.

“Today on UN International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, we are delighted to announce the launch of the ACU Commonwealth Climate Resilience Challenge Grants. Aimed at academic and professional staff, the grants can be awarded to ACU member universities from any country to support initiatives addressing climate resilience.

Grants of up to GBP 2500 each are available to help meet the costs of organising projects that promote the aims and priorities of our Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network (CCRN).

If you are involved in enhancing the climate resilience of universities themselves, and/or enhancing universities’ contribution to the resilience of communities, business and government – then you’re eligible to apply.

The grants can be used for a diverse range of projects, workshops and events….”  You’ll find more details and the application form on their website.

Karen Mather, People and Culture