Love the Earth? So do we! Earth Day is celebrated globally on 22 April each year and Christchurch City Libraries is kicking off an Earth Smart programme for kids this April school holidays as part of the Christchurch City Council’s commitment to sustainability and climate change initiatives. The following initiatives, programmes and resources are a great introduction to ‘environmental literacy’ for our tamariki, the future guardians of the Earth.
Earth Smart – school holiday programmes
A school holiday programme with an emphasis on sustainability and recycling. Children explore environmental issues with a focus on connecting to the planet around them using books, interactive activities, digital media and craft.
If you miss these sessions, look out for more later in the year.
Eco-conscious Books and Resources for Kids
Borrowing from the library is the ultimate in recycling – check out these eco-friendly reads!
Environmental Picture Books These picture books and narrative non-fiction books contain valuable messages about the environment, pollution, recycling, the importance of trees, water as a resource, sustainability and saving the Earth. These environmentally-friendly themed resources include eBooks and apps and New Zealand content.
Non-Fiction Environmental Children’s Books
A selection of non-fiction informational text and how-to guides for kids on related topics around recycling, climate changing, caring for the earth, sustainability, composting and water resources. Includes craft activities.
Every little bit helps… What can you do in Canterbury?
Watch two Christchurch kids show us how to ‘recycle right’ !
When you toss your plastic bottles and containers into the recycling bin, are you unintentionally doing more harm than good? Christchurch people are great at recycling but a few common mistakes are causing issues at the city’s recycling plant. See how to make it easier for council to recycle.
FESTA is a “biennial weekend celebration of urban creativity” and one of the coolest events on Ōtautahi’s calendar. It is on this Labour weekend, kicking off with the SuperWOW disco at the Dance-o-mat on Friday 21 October, and ending with PechaKucha on Monday 24 October at 7.30pm. The unmissable big event is Lean Means on Saturday 22 October.
I had a chat to FESTA’s director Jessica Halliday to get a flavour of FESTA 2016.
What is FESTA?
It is about creating a collective positive experience for the people of Christchurch and visitors.
FESTA helps people reconnect to the central city, to rebuild that severed relationship. A big street party is a positive experience, and connects them with places that are regenerating. It catalyses changes in architecture and design. The collective making of a big project like this is a microcosm of the cooperative way we can work together.
What’s on at FESTA 2016
Lean Means is on Saturday 22 October, and is the biggest event of FESTA with 10,000 to 15,000 people expected. There will be 18 projects to experience. The tallest is around 6 metres and most are about 4 metres. Some will be integrated into existing structures.
There is a full programme of events with a lot of workshops, speakers, and a symposium on the resuse of materials (organised by Rekindle working with Objectspace), and a session with artist Hannah Beehre on drawing Christchurch architecture. Events for kids include creative junk and mutant monster workshops.
If you want to experience a Human Library, Talking Books and Freerange Press bring together a collection of passionate experts on a range of topics including the state of the city,music, and brewing beer. You can book a twenty-minute, one-on-one conversation with a human talking book.
Utilising waste streams – Sustainability, Re-use
Jos de Krieger of Superuse Studios in Rotterdam is a specialist in urban installations and interventions and the creative director of FESTA 2016. He developed the concept, visited, and gave lectures and design workshops, and also met with New Zealand and Australian studios. The idea is to get a brief and a budget, then look for waste materials in the vicinity to be reused. Using such materials requires a lot of research.
The materials for Lean Means are lightweight – plastics, cardboard, bottles, post-consumer plastic bags and are local to the studios. The pavilion for the Ōtākaro Orchard is made of hundreds of metres of frost cloth from the Big Barn in Sydney – it can come over easily on the plane with the students as it’s so light.
Re-use is part of what FESTA is now. Students were re-using stuff anyway, with one of 2014’s projects using plastic bottle rejects on their way to China for recycling. They went on to be recycled after appearing at FESTA CityUps.
FESTA closes the loop with connections back to sustainability all the way through. Cassels will be there, and they are working on cleaning up the Heathcote, and Punky Brewster have a focus on reducing water in beer sales. There will be a second hand market with upcycled things for sale.
We are trying as best as we can to make it consistent.
Art and architecture
CreativeNZ funding has enabled three artists from three different disciplines to be involved: Juliet Arnott of Rekindle, artist Julia Morison and movement artist Julia Harvie.
Julia Morison has been integrated into a team from Massey University, School of Design at the College of Creative Arts. Her philosophy is that art shouldn’t be a “brooch pinned on at the end”, and that artists should be involved in informing the development of projects.
Moving artist Julia Harvie will suspending herself of the COCA gallery gantry and weave herself a nest from coppiced hazel shoots. The performance teases out ideas of making a city that nurtures children, and what parents can do to influence the creation of that environment.
Help FESTA transform Christchurch by supporting Lean Means, and share in a positive reimagining of the city – full of lights, colours and people. This Labour Weekend, we will transform central Christchurch with a large-scale reimagined city called Lean Means, live for one night only, free and open to all, on Saturday 22 October.
FESTA 2014 – CityUps
FESTA 2013 – Canterbury Tales
FESTA 2012 – LuxCity
Libraries and reading
As a kid, Jessica went every week to Hornby Library. Her main preoccupations were:
Christchurch and cycling have always gone well together. That winning combination of flat terrain and wide roads makes the Garden City a great place to cycle. With new cycleways rolling out around the city, it’s becoming more and more bike friendly.
Assuming that you have a bike, that is.
Luckily there are options for people who don’t have their own wheels to pootle about on.
Similar to the “Boris Bikes” of London, Spark Bikes offer those in Central Christchurch the opportunity to travel further than their feet can take them, but without the hassles of parking.
The bikes, which come complete with a lock and adjustable helmet, are available at 5 stations around the central city and can be used for 30 minutes, free of charge. Additional time is charged at $4 per hour, or a bike can be borrowed for a full day for $20.
Kind of like a library but with bikes instead of books!
There is an initial $4 charge to register and “borrowing” is managed either via an app or the mobile website, so it’s also quite smartphone dependent. The project is currently in pilot so may extend to more bikes and more stations in the future.
RAD stands for “Recycle A Dunger” and is a not-for-profit initiative that takes donated, unwanted bikes and parts and helps turn them into rideable bikes.
From their shed headquarters (shedquarters?) at 70 Kilmore Street, RAD Bikes provides all the tools, equipment, parts and expertise to help get your bike roadworthy. They also gift recycled bikes to charity organisations.
If you’re in the envious position of having too many bicycles then maybe you’d be interested in exercising a little bicycle altruism?
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and access to education and healthcare is a real issue for people who live in remote areas.
a large number of people living in rural communities could not afford to get to a health facility when they needed it. They were totally reliant on volunteer community health workers (CHWs) to travel to them. Most of these CHWs have to walk to visit sick patients. But, if you give them a bike then suddenly they can cover three times the distance!
The plan is to collect 400 adult size mountain bikes and ship them to Northern Madagascar. The collection day is on Saturday 15 August: Bikes need to be dropped off at SB Global Logistics, 11 Syd Bradley Road, Dakota Business Park (next to the Christchurch Airport). If you can’t make it on the collection day: You can drop your bike at an alternative location by Friday 14 August at Limitless Supplements, 22 Stanley St, Sydenham.
If there are surplus bikes these will be donated to ICECycles for local use.
That’s me in your kitchen – used tea bag in one hand, empty yoghurt container in the other and a hunted look on my face. I am the dazed recycler. I freeze in the presence of colour-coded waste bins with their plethora of little post-its telling me what not to do with my rubbish, and whiteboard notices shouting out in red pen and capital letters: Who is putting the wrong stuff in the small green bin by the fridge. Stop Now. You Are Killing My Chickens. That sort of thing.
From the moment recycling first began occupying the high moral ground, I knew I had been set up for failure. Now not only will I be chased by soggy teabags and messy disposable nappies when I pass on to the other side, but infuriated chickens and tetchy owners will be in hot pursuit as well.
But why am I such a reluctant, heel-dragging recycler? I’m not really a horrible, careless person, it’s more to do with the earnest humourlessness of the whole sad and sorry mess. As a result I’ve always assumed that reading matter on recycling will be dull and green and brown. And there is plenty of serious digital material available, but a quick scroll down the recycling books available at the library shows that this belief, although occasionally true, is by no means the whole story. For example, there’s Embrace Your Space for arty gardening tips, Recycled Chic for quirky clothing and the utterly delightful, totally irreverent, non-PC How to Save the World by Recycling Your Sex Toys.
But this not the material that got me thinking about recycling. Instead it was the velvet covered, stunningly beautiful book Dining with the Maharajas, in which I stumbled on the following recycling extravaganza created for Emperor Jahingir. Here’s how it goes: At the beginning of a year take 365 chickens. Each day kill one chicken and mince it with saffron. Feed this mixture to the remaining chickens. Continue like this for a whole year, until at the end there is only one surviving chicken grown plump and juicy on this diet. Kill the last chicken and serve it to the Emperor.
Being of a crafty bent I feel that I am very lucky to be the Librarian who gets to buy the art and craft books for the library. With Christmas looming on the horizon, publishers are turning out some wonderful looking books to tempt us into a creative frenzy. I thought I would share with you some of the titles that we have recently ordered for the library that look particularly tempting.
Forty retro-inspired projects run the gamut from glitter frames and matchbox purses to bottlecap men and teacup ladies, plus lovable plastic flower pixies; and the sparkling sputnik and its desk-top compadre, the beauty orb, amongst exciting others.
How could you possibly resist such a wonderful trip down memory lane?
Yarn bombing ” n. The surreptitious or unauthorized placement of knitted objects on statues, posts, and other public structures’, sounds great fun, and as the Arts Festival here in Christchurch had great examples of crochet flowers in Cathedral square, we can perhaps look forward to seeing more of these colourful additions to our bland city scape? Check out this blog to see what they got up to. Also check ou the Yarnbombing blog to see what is happening in other parts of the world.
The projects’ minimalist style, attention to detail, and simple aesthetic speak to our desire to create a warm and authentic life at home. Each project is presented through stunning photographs that exemplify the creative, calming, and enriching qualities of the craft.
Unfortunately my sewing prowess doesn’t usually engender calmness, more like rage and frustration, so I definitely need this book!