News from the UC Sustainability Office


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Donna’s Garden Update: Spring ahead

It’s great to know we’re past the Winter Solstice (June 21) and heading for spring and warmer soil.

Turning the compost

The year has been a busy one so far. Semester 1 began with loads of volunteers attending our Friday afternoon working bees – up to 35 at one session! This meant that we were able to do plenty of planting, harvesting and general sorting of the gardens. Spring cleaning the shed and tidying the back shed were two great achievements.

In June we had a pizza party to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the end of Semester 1. We bid farewell to some of our international gardeners who had helped to make the garden a lovely place to be over the semester.

Our compost area had been rather neglected most of the year, while the garage at the back of one of UC’s properties, directly behind the bins, was being rebuilt. In June our bins were back and we were able to build a compost heap – a great workout for everyone – which heated up very nicely. We’ve just turned it again and it’s breaking down nicely.

Tatsoi

In terms of growing, we’ve been harvesting tatsoi, a very attractive leafy green veg, loads of delicious yams, kohlrabi, mini-caulis, garlic, surprise Urenika potatoes – the biggest once was about 15cm long – perpetual spinach and Florence fennel, Jerusalem artichokes and much more. The purple sprouting broccoli is still going strong (I’ve heard that plants can live for up to 5 years is you keep harvesting the florets!). We’ve got enough leeks and parsnips to see us through to the end of winter. The broadbeans we planted back in May are doing well, and we’ve sown some red-flowering ones to add a bit more colour to the gardens. Our garlic went in in May, and is doing well; we’ve got a couple of different types, Prinatour and Southern Softneck, and courtesy of Bridget, one of our volunteers, we’ve got some elephant garlic. The quince tree outdid itself again this year with more than 30kg of fruit which volunteers made into quince paste and jelly.

Some more garden highlights:

  • A garden angel who delivered Welsh tea cakes for afternoon tea
  • Revamping the herb spiral and establishing two herb baths. We’re slowly increasing the number of herbs we have in the gardens and will hopefully manage to keep our lemon verbena seedling going over winter!
  • The procrastabaking of some of our volunteers meant goodies for afternoon tea
  • Pineapple sage tea! A very refreshing and relaxing brew. Luckily we harvested and dried some leaves to see us through until next season
  • The huge puffballs popping up in the orchard – the largest weighed over 2kg!
  • The revival of DigSoc, the student gardening club, thanks to the lovely Ailsa and Alice

Tending the herb bath

In the next month or so, we’ll be working on the hugelkultur bed, planting NZ Cranberries/Chilean guava and creeping fuchsia, generously donated to the gardens by UC Grounds. We’ll also be putting in a selection of other perennial plants, including herbs. We’re coming up to the busy seed sowing and planting time of year, so that will be a big focus for the next few months.

The Gardens are involved in the Poroporo for the Port Hills project, organised by the Port Hill Rangers. The project aims to germinate thousands of poroporo seedlings to help revegetate the Port Hills following February’s fires. Our seedlings are up and hopefully by mid-August we’ll be potting them into recycled coffee cups ready for growing on a bit and then planting out. If you’d like to be involved in this, just let us know.

UC Sustainability will be holding Sustainapalooza in September (18-22nd), a week of sustainability-related events. On Friday the 22nd Sept, DigSoc will be hosting a Spring Equinox Gala at the gardens with pizza and cake. This will also be a celebration of 15 years of Okeover Community Gardens. If you’d like to come along, please book in, as spaces are limited. See the Sustainapalooza page for details.

For other information about the community gardens, check here. For information on becoming a volunteer and attending working bees on Friday (12-4pm), check here. The community gardens also have a dedicated Facebook Page.


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UC Student Flo Hinder takes on Plastic Free July challenge

Fourth-year Civil Eng student Flo is one of the UC students who is going plastic free during Plastic Free July. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it. Flo shared some of her plastic free tips with us, and why she is doing it.  

What will you try to do during July?

To cut out all waste actually, not just plastic! This means not purchasing single use items, no wastage (not even recycling!). However, I will use the organics collection bin because it’s a super system in Christchurch for making compost.

Why are you doing the challenge?

I think waste and consumerism have become two really big problems in today’s society. So many items are being created just for convenience, driven by purely short-term thinking and yet this will ruin us in the long term. I also think the University should really try cut down its waste more, with so many (food) places having only the option of single use items. By doing this challenge I want to show people that it is possible to live without creating as much waste!

What do you think is going to be hard?

I think going out for dinner, and going for drinks/social occasions will be challenging as it’s not a social norm to carry around your own container or glass to drink from! I also think being able to resists bargains when I am shopping will be hard, even when they are wrapped in single use plastic.

What are some of your favourite waste-free items?

I have a little wee cup set that I keep in my bag 24/7 just in case I want a beverage on the go, and there are only plastic cups. I am also pretty passionate about waste-free bathroom products. I have a safety razor that is not made of plastic and can be reused. The one I have cost about $13 and came in only cardboard packaging with tonnes of little refill blades and it works a treat! I also love my trusty bamboo toothbrush, just google ‘bamboo toothbrush’ and you’ll find heaps of options. Instead of bottled shampoo or soap, I use shampoo bars and soaps. I order mine locally from Ethique, which is run by a UC alumni! I recommend trying out the starter packs. I use a menstrual cup for that time of the month, the UC pharmacy stocks them or you can find them (cheaper) online, and I honestly think it was the best purchase I have ever made!

Want more info on plastic free bathroom products? Check out

How to get an eco-friendly beauty routine: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-get-a-sustainable-eco-friendly-beauty-routine

Zero waste bathroom essentials: https://www.youtube.com/?v= watch QMAo9O40zp0

How to have a zero waste period: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQb0HormWMc

Are you keen to take on the Plastic Free July challenge too? You don’t have to go all out! You can choose to do it for a week or the whole month and you can either refuse ALL single-use plastic or the TOP 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws. Have a look on the website for ideas on how to get started (and no, you don’t need to sign up)!

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

   

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Emergency preparedness: Build your own emergency kit

Photo credit: Consumer NZ

The consumer organisation Consumer NZ has labelled many of the pre-made emergency kits sold in New Zealand a ‘disaster’. A recent test by Consumer NZ showed that off-the-shelf emergency kits either lacked key items or performed poorly in tests. Their main finding was that people are better off building their own ‘getaway kit’ rather than buying a commercial one.

Putting together your own survival gear not only offers better value for money but also provides a good starting point for a discussion with your family or flatmates about what your plan will be in an emergency. The Ministry of Defence offers an easy-to-use PDF that guides you through a few things to consider in an emergency plan.

Emergency preparedness. Despite being faced with a number of natural disasters in the last decade, the emergency-preparedness of New Zealanders is still poor. A report last year by the Royal Society of New Zealand on the implications of climate change, suggests that in particular floods are likely to become more common in the future, further highlighting the importance of being emergency prepared. This means being prepared to survive for a few days at home when the lights go out and the water stops running but it is also crucial to have an emergency grab bag for when you need to leave quickly.

Build your own emergency grab bag.  Consumer NZ suggest the following items for an ideal emergency grab bag:

  • Backpack
  • Torch: Consumer NZ testing showed that radios and torches powered by disposable batteries were a better option than their wind-up counterparts
  • Radio
  • Spare batteries
  • Hygiene items: Anti-bacterial wetwipes/Tissues/toothbrush and paste/hand sanitiser/female hygiene products/etc.
  • Cash
  • Photo ID and important documents (Could be put on USB)
  • Walking shoes
  • Warm clothes and hat
  • Raincoat and emergency rain poncho
  • Water and drinkbottle
  • Water purification tablets ($13, Life Pharmacy)
  • First aid kit (e.g. Protec first aid kit handy pack) and prescription medication
  • Dust mask (e.g. Rivet Filter Mask Set 2 Piece,$6, the Warehouse)
  • Thick gloves (e.g.ardwell Work Gloves)
  • Snack food
  • Emergency food 3-day ration ($20, Survive-it)
  • Pocket Survival bag ($7, New Zealand Mountain Safety Council)
  • Duct tape
  • Rubbish/plastic bags

Surviving at home. In addition to a grab bag, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) recommends having the following basic supplies at home:

  • At least 3 days of water (9L for each person)
  • Long-lasting food that doesn’t need cooking, at least enough to sustain each member of the household for 72 hours. Also include food for babies and pets
  • Toilet paper and large plastic buckets to fashion an emergency toilet
  • Dust masks and work gloves

Further information:

Thanks to Consumer NZ and Radio New Zealand National for the content.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

 

 

 

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Donna and Chloe taking over the UC Community Garden reigns

UC has two community gardens on campus: Okeover (off Engineering road) and Dovedale, where you can go to rest and revive, or to volunteer (Okeover, every Friday 12-4 pm). A few months ago we said goodbye to Jane Aistrope, UC’s former community gardens coordinator, who made a huge contribution to how the gardens look and are being run. And we welcomed Donna and Chloe, the lovey, capable women who are taking over the garden reigns.

Donna Lusby

Kia ora, my name is Donna Lusby. I’m the Community Gardener at Okeover. I am originally from Paeroa in the North Island, and came via Wellington and Wanaka to Christchurch! In the past I studied languages (French, Spanish, Japanese) and was involved in English language teaching in NZ and overseas for a number of years. I’ve also spent time working in student accommodation in Wellington and Christchurch. I’m currently finishing the second year of a course in organics at the Biological Husbandry Unit at Lincoln University. I’ve always had a passion for growing, and am excited to be able to share that with students and the community at Okeover gardens. I also enjoy tramping, biking and the outdoors in general.

Chloe Wium

Hi there! My name is Chloe Wium. I’m working part-time for the UC Sustainability Office, helping to co-ordinate the community gardens on Friday afternoons. I did a BA at the University of Otago, majoring in Geography and Environmental Management. When I’m not gardening, I’m riding my horses, playing with my dogs, dreaming of travel, and hanging out at Addington Coffee Co-op.  I love being part of connected communities, and the UC garden is a pretty special place to be.

For more information about the community gardens, check here. For information on becoming a volunteer and attending working bees on Friday (12-4), check here. The community gardens also have a dedicated Facebook Page.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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UC students taking on the Plastic Free July challenge

A group of UC students is so passionate about reducing plastic waste that they are taking on the Plastic Free July challenge. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems and amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it! You can do the challenge for a day, a week or the whole month. You can try to refuse all single-use plastic or try ‘just’ the top 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws.

UC students Juliet, Poppy, Florence, Maddy and Alex are gearing up to refuse all single-use plastic for a month and they’ll be vlogging and intagramming their progress. So keep an eye out for that on Insiders Guide, our Facebook and Instagram. Inspired? Why not get a friend or your flat taking on the challenge too? #ucplasticfreejuly

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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Do you have a great idea for Eco Week 2017?

Some of the events we ran last year.

In September (18-22) the UC Sustainability Office will host UC Eco Week. This yearly festival of events celebrates and promotes everything to do with sustainability. This is a festival that is partly student-run and we would love your input. Are you passionate about making kombucha and want to hold a workshop? Know a great speaker and want to invite them? Love second hand clothes and want to organise a clothes swap? Saw that amazing thought-provoking movie and would like to screen it?

We are looking for students who have great ideas for sustainability-focused events to hold during Eco Week 2017. If you have the passion, we may be able to help you make it come true!

Write down an outline of your idea and send it to Puck at the UC Sustainability Office (puck.algera@canterbury.ac.nz) before the end of May.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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UC Bike Parking Update

The Sustainability Office is currently working on a plan to get 1500 additional bike parks onto campus. This needs to be done as a staged project given that many sites we want to put bike stands in are currently under construction or have hoardings around them. However, we are making progress. For example, we have recently placed an order for an additional 300 bike parks, which should be in place in the next few months. Additionally, parking for 110 bikes is currently becoming available on the north side of Engineering and the Health Centre. Last term we also welcomed back the enclosed bike parking facility on Creyke Rd (for 80 bikes), which had been unavailable for two years.

Also, you will start seeing these posters around in the secure cycle stands as an integral part of UC’s programme towards more secure cycle parking.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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