Kiwis go green as economic woes bite
By GILES BROWN - The Press | Monday, 04 August 2008

New Zealanders are turning to sustainable living as they feel the bite of economic pressures.

Since 2001, 26 regional councils have signed up to promote the Christchurch-based Sustainable Living Programme.

Evening classes run by the group are regularly fully booked.

It is thought interest in the power and fuel-saving ideas they promote has been boosted by spiralling energy and petrol prices.

The Sustainable Living Programme grew out of an initiative by Marlborough District Council, but has since spread across the whole country.

The programme educates people to live more efficiently through activities such as growing their own vegetables, composting and driving less.

National co-ordinator Rhys Taylor said the idea of sustainable living had become more fashionable recently as people looked for ways to save money.

"It has become really important and relevant to reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel," he said.

"It is relevant to plan how you can reduce your electricity bill. Having an insulated house that's cheaper to heat has become really relevant."

When councils sign up to the scheme they make a commitment to educating the public about how to live sustainably, as well as trying to work sustainably themselves.

Weekly evening classes on the subject in North New Brighton are fully booked and Taylor said there was keen interest in classes which begin at Hagley Community College this month. "At the classes people share their experiences and share ideas and we have found that people do make substantial changes to their lifestyle after going.

"It's not something just academic, they do this and they put it into action," Taylor said.

Spreydon woman Lesley Pawley, 34, said she had changed her lifestyle significantly since going to a class last year.

"I cycle instead of taking the car, I compost all my scraps and try to conserve water," said Pawley, a nurse, lives with husband Jon, 33, four-year-old son Isaac and four-month-old baby Emma.

"A lot of it is really good financially because we have got a young child and I am trying to survive on a limited income," she said.

Pawley is so taken with the idea that she is going to take part in teaching a course in October.

From here.