Nelson Environment Centre

I learnt all about the activities going on at Nelson Environment Centre the other day when I was staying in Nelson – it is the oldest environment centre in New Zealand, set up over 30 years ago. It is one of several environment or eco-centres that exist around the country.

More info here: www.seekthechange.org/profiles/nelson-environment-centre

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A SEED Japan and Wellington living

A SEED Japan was one of the youth organisations I met in Tokyo, who brought along lots of other people from other youth orgs too for me to meet. Their profile is here: www.seekthechange.org/profiles/a-seed-japan

I am settled in Wellington for the next few days, currently staying with the cream of the crop of young people taking action on environmental issues. Paul Young, spokesperson for Generation Zero, a youth action group on climate change, is so knowledgeable about what’s going on here in NZ and gives great political commentary. Lots of interesting conversations already (in amongst board game playing and nacho eating)…

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Veganism, outdoor activities and eco-houses

Sorry things have been a bit quieter on the posting front over the last few weeks. I’ve been road-tripping around New Zealand, camping and spending time with Mike’s friends and family, which has left little time and space for internet access or writing!

We got back to Timaru yesterday and I’ll be based here for a week now, hopefully getting lots done, consolidating, and starting the descent back to reality and contemplating my future beyond this trip – ever since we arrived in New Zealand I feel like I have been in a parallel universe on cloud nine!

The last couple of weeks has seen me rafting, kayaking, camping and staying in huts, cycling, hiking (tramping as it is called here) – we walked about 50km over a 3.5 day period, up hill and down dale in 28 degree heat – and ‘bagging some peaks’ (‘is this really Emily?!’ I hear you cry… yes it is!), not to mention being aggravated a LOT by sandflies, reading The Luminaries (and visiting Hokitika where it is based) and meeting so many lovely people all along the way.

In amongst all of those activities, I’ve managed to learn about Atamai, an eco-village in Motueka (if not quite visit in person), meet Karen at Nelson Environment Centre, visit an eco-home and forest garden in Geraldine (just yesterday as soon as we got back), discuss lots about veganism and carbon offsetting as well as to actually BE vegan whilst staying in Nelson for a week. I am now contemplating shifting myself further along the scale from meat-eater to vegan. After reading half of ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathon Safran Foer you will probably see why. Lots of interesting questions still to contemplate there…

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Hong Kong Good Lab

I visited the Good Lab on November 10th 2014 and got a bit of insight into the growing social enterprise landscape in Hong Kong. It takes its lead from a number of different initiatives around the world and is the product of a collaboration of several initiatives and organisations at the forefront of Hong Kong’s social enterprise scheme.

Good Lab itself helps to foster cross-sector collaborations that bring new solutions to social problems. It also provides a co-working space for social entrepreneurs to thrive, learn from each other, share and network.

It seems like an exciting time to be involved as it is just kicking off and developing. I am sure that in just one year’s time the landscape here will look different again, have even more buzz around it and demonstrate lots more success stories with emerging enterprises and inspiring events for tackling the various problems seen and felt in society.

On a side note, I couldn’t help but think, as I have thought in the UK too, that lots of environmental organisations are missing a trick when they don’t engage in the social enterprise space. By slightly reinventing themselves there could be potential to tap into a different audience, another way of thinking and potentially resolve their biggest challenges (usually related to funding) in a new way. It also might help to close the gap that often emerges in peoples’ thinking between ‘environmental’ and ‘social’ challenges, since environmental issues are also very much social issues.

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Atamai village: an experiment in sustainable living

I have now been through Motueka about 5 times but have not yet managed to visit in person an ecovillage there called Atamai. However, I could not leave it as an ‘oh well’ because it sounds like such a great mix of pragmatism and optimism, example setting and learning from others. You can read the whole profile here: www.seek the change.org/profiles/atamai