This October, Aucklanders across the region will be taking the Sustainable Whānau Challenge, an initiative run by the Kaipātiki Project and supported by Auckland Council.
Waste Solutions Graduate Briar Wyatt is one Auckland Council staff member taking the challenge. We caught up with Briar to find out why.
What is the Sustainable Whānau Challenge and why did you decide to take it up?
The Sustainable Whānau Challenge gives people a range of ways they can reduce their individual impacts on the environment by making small changes in their day-to-day lives. The challenge approaches making these changes in a fun way, with weekly check-ins on your progress, the ability to compete against a team of flatmates or colleagues, and a bunch of cool prizes!
I decided to take it up because looking through the actions involved made me realise there is quite a bit more I can do!
Which challenges have you chosen?
I’ve actually ended up taking quite a few! I’ve committed to:
- planning my meals and including a new recipe featuring plant-based, organic, local whole food
- planting a fruit tree, herb or vegetable garden in my home, workplace or suitable communal space
- purchasing only New Zealand-produced food
- reducing my shower time to four minutes
- using tanks or barrels to collect rainwater for outdoor watering
- replacing incandescent lightbulbs with LED bulbs (and I’ve actually already just done this before the challenge even started…)
- borrowing a HEAT kit from my library to assess the energy efficiency of my home so I can make improvements
- exploring at least one new trail or nature walk in my area.
What do you think will be the hardest part for you?
Definitely the food-related challenges – I don’t have heaps of spare time, so I often end up going for the quickest option I can cook. It will definitely be a challenge to plan meals ahead of time and purchase only New Zealand-produced food, but I look forward to trying!
What would you say to others thinking of doing the challenge?
The more people involved, the bigger our collective impact! Just think of the cumulative impact we can have if we all just took on one or two of these actions.
There’s a huge range of challenges, from first steps to ‘stretches’ for people who are already pretty clean and green – so just give it a shot!