We need more than tidy Kiwis: we need a paradigm shift

Hannah Blumhardt and Liam Prince are probably too modest to rate themselves world-class environmental defenders.

But that’s definitely the impression these millennials left with the 40-strong crowd at Far North REAP Friday evening.

The dynamic duo’s zero waste free presentation was part of their “Rubbish Trip” tour, spreading their information, inspiration and support to community groups, schools, businesses and households nationwide wherever they go.

After a short origin story, they shared some squirm-worthy statistics about the millions of tons of matter humans needlessly generate, and the disastrous consequences that spells for our natural environment – including us.

For example: we discovered that 84% of the world’s water has plastic in it – and people are drinking the stuff!  Moreoever, food waste in Aotearoa is between 30-50%, and here in Te Hiku we’re closer to the 50% waste end (very disturbing given our high poverty levels).

For such a massive challenge, Hannah’s and Liam’s simple recipe to decrease our footprint boiled down to six “R’s”, starting with “Rot”: i.e. safely return as much as you can back to the Earth as compost.  That requires a fairly ruthless stock-take of everything a household consumes, and making better consumer choices – especially about “wants” vs “needs”.

Beyond ‘Rot’ is Recycle, Re-use, Reduce, Replace and – one many struggle with – “Refuse” (ever stopped to ask yourself if you really need that new fidget spinner?  Didn’t think so)!

There were also some amazing stories about how the zero waste journey has transformed lives: like the whānau that, with a little sustained habit-building discipline, saved $13,000 over just five months!

Anyone wanting to learn more or book a free presentation (koha kindly accepted) are invited to contact Hannah and Liam through their website at http://therubbishtrip.co.nz/.

Thanks to presentation hosts FNEC EcoCentre, Transition Towns Kaitaia & EcoSolutions.

Report by Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn, photograph by Roger Gale

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AUTHOR: Eco Centre
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