Being more sustainable brings rewards
Two Auckland households have won big by taking small steps towards living better in the Sustainable Whanau Challenge, a region-wide competition designed to get the city’s residents thinking about and implementing more sustainable behaviours.
Eco-festivals Ecofest North and Ecowest threw down the green gauntlet in the innovative online event, the first of its kind in Auckland.
The festivals’ co-ordinators from Kaipatiki Project Environment Centre in Birkdale, (North Shore) and EcoMatters Environmental Trust in New Lynn asked makers of eco-friendly products to dig deep and donate towards two major prize packs – totaling over $8,000 value.
Entrants took part by choosing four eco-actions (that they did not already do), sustaining them as part of their routines for 3 weeks and completing online feedback forms about their experiences of the new behaviours.
Over 400 families from across Auckland took up the Challenge and 850 people engaged with the competition to win spot-prizes via social media. Winners of the top prizes were chosen at random on the final day of the two month-long festivals.
Samara Cottam from Devonport won a Solarhart Titan Solar Water Heating Retrofit Kit (worth $3,400), while Daryl Fincham from Mt Albert took away a Smart Motion Electric Bike (worth $2,500). Other prizes in the winners’ bundles included raised garden bed kits, composting systems and vouchers for eco-related workshops.
Toni van Tonder, Ecofest North manager and the devisor of the Sustainable Whanau Challenge says “Through the competition we’ve identified a large group of Aucklanders who want to live more sustainably, and we will definitely be carrying on the conversations in the growing online community that has sparked from the Challenge. We have been blown away by the generosity of all the prize sponsors and we also want to thank Auckland Council for backing the project and helping to make it happen”.
Sustainable actions undertaken in the Challenge ranged from taking your own bags shopping and having two car-less days a week to starting a vege garden and implementing home-composting systems. “We wanted people who wouldn’t normally go out of their way to be ‘eco-minded’ to engage with the Sustainable Whanau Challenge in very real and practical ways”, added Toni. “Our hope is that, winners or not, once people experience the benefits that being less wasteful and more environmentally-aware has on their lives in just three weeks, they will adopt these practices as the norm”.
The Ecofest North festival comprised 95 events and was co-ordinated by the Kaipatiki Project Environment Centre (www.kaipatiki.org.nz), for the third year running to celebrate and showcase everything that is environmentally good across the North Shore, up to Matakana.
Across west Auckland, EcoWest was rolled out by EcoMatters Environment Trust (www.ecomatters.org.nz), and was a celebration of the Eco-City way of life, creatively engaging citizens in environmental restoration and sustainable lifestyles through over 40 events.
Both festivals ran from 14 March – 12 April (www.ecofest.org.nz) and were supported by Auckland Council, with Ray White North Shore, The Trusts Community Foundation and the Birkenhead Licensing Trust also supporting Ecofest North.