Every time I go to New Zealand, I fall in love with it a little more. The food is divine, the landscape is spectacular, the people are brilliant and there is an addictive positivity to their approach to life and care for the environment. Of course, it’s still not perfect with regards to the environment; the dairy industry is very big and there is suggestion that it is polluting the waterways and the famous Auckland traffic seems to be getting worse. But there is a pioneering approach to eco-initiatives. There’s a sense of everyone wanting to get involved to improve the environment. This is complemented by a ‘can-do’ and ‘can-change’ approach to environmental issues such as waste management and food production.
‘Farmster’ (farmster.co.nz) is a good example of this positive action where the need to address the issue of food production is answered by a community-enabled vegetable box service. People are offered the opportunity to lend a space in their garden as an allotment in return for a discount on a weekly supply of locally-grown vegetables and a garden that will be tended and attractive.
There are some really good bulk stores such as GoodFor (https://goodfor.co.nz). It offers the possibility for online shopping which is a fantastic way to encourage people to shop package-free without the hassle of requiring a trolley-full of containers from home.
Many cafes offer customers the chance to return the containers used for take-aways. Also, everywhere you look people are wondering around sipping their flat whites in their re-usable Keepcups (au.keepcup.com).
There are also fun, educational waste collection points dotted around to encourage everyone to think about where their rubbish ends up.
Honeywraps (honeywrap.co.nz) have been created to replace the use of single-use plastic at home and in school lunch boxes.
I can’t help feeling inspired by New Zealand and the creative and positive approach to tackling environmental issues. Environmental change can be a scary subject and overwhelming for some. Because of this there is a reticence to listen to some of the messages delivered. This is why I love New Zealand's approach, which is based on the pioneering spirit of its people and think more communities and countries should follow suit. It's got to be true that positive messages and actions can only lead to positive change.