Thursday, September 28, 2006

Power retailers get their juice from a range of sources. Some clean, and some not so.

For a while you've been able to vote with your feet and move to cleaner energy (yep, the link over on the right).

Now there's even greater reason to switch. Greenpeace are giving away some great kit if you switch through them.

My sister confirmed her switch by phone and the new supplier treated her like a long lost friend. So go on, switch to cleaner energy and get a prize draw entry. Refer a friend and get another crack at the prizes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My flatmate's parents were up from Christchurch a few weeks back. In their carry on luggage was some local beer.

We finished what was left of the quite tasty Wigram Brewing Co. dark lager last night. One of the "tricks" of micro brewing seems to be coming up with a quirky label. I was checking it out and noticed (in addition to the flying theme) that if you take your empties back to the brewery (Sonter Rd, ChCh) you'll get 20c per bottle back. Nice!

As I've posted about before, glass recycling is a real problem in New Zealand. We should be drinking our beer from the crate or a tap, but if we can't, returning bottles to the brewery is still better than putting them out with the kerbside recycling. At least until expansion of that Auckland glass plant happens.

As it turns out the Three Boys Brewery of Christchurch also runs the same refund deal. If you're living down in the flatland it's worth stockpiling and pooling resources with your mates. You'll get a better deal than Sth Australia's 5c refund program.

Although it seems that environmental consideration was not important, Three Boys also won the "Packaging Award" at the recent BrewNZ event. Wigram won the dark beer and specialty beer categories. Only two bronze and two silver for my much loved Tuatara Brewery.

If you're like me and over summer red wine consumption tends to drop off in favour of beer, you'll end up using more glass. Think about where it goes when you're done. Buy a swappa-crate. The more of us that do, the sooner the gawd-awful range will improve. Cheers!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Random updates on posts from the last few weeks (and other stuff):

Lights off! This weekend is the cursed Lambton Quay "leave your lights on" twaddle. You can now read the WCC summary of filming activities and street closures (20kb PDF).

Gear Junkies: My earlier post on mindless shopping by outdoor types was backed up with a post on bush water care. Now the French want to charge climbers to scale Mt Blanc. Apparently it's a mess up there - you could say that the trash heap has spoken.

Are you local? Hot on the heels of last weeks praise of Sainsbury's comes a UK National Consumer Council report (via The Guardian) on the environmental policies of supermarkets operating in the UK.

Real climate: In some good climate change news there's a meeting currently being held in Zurich in an attempt to get key developing countries on board for post Kyoto Protocol efforts. If successful, that's one less neo-con excuse for ignoring global citizenship.

Go on then, flick the lights off when you leave work, and have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Put your money where your mouth is tonight" says it all. Or does it?

The priceless Pulp lyrics in This is Hardcore also have a conciliatory tone: "leave your make-up on and I'll leave on the light." Unlike the tone taken by GoodOil films when they asked Lambton Quay businesses to leave the lights on this weekend. What's in it for us?

Certainly not some kind of saucy romp a-la Pulps Jarvis Cocker. Frogblog had a word or two to say about the audacity of that lighting letter I posted about. But the response there was a little muted.

In fact Pulp provides more than a little inspiration for considering a response to such pompous drivel. One similar to Cockers "let your arse speak your mind" display to Michael Jackson at the 1996 Brit Awards would seem appropriately inappropriate.

Don't panic Mum. I'm not likely to be done for sedition. Baring your arse in public is apparently OK. What's more, I'm a good lad, I'd never...

In short good people, turn the lights off when you leave work. Especially this Friday.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

The UK TV series League of Gentlemen is the epitome of inward looking small town life. The town of Royston Vasey fosters the extremity of attitude that big businesses often encounter when trying to set up in new locations: "you're only here to suck the life from our town."

I've posted about this before (here and here) - with emphasis on the impact of shopping malls. It turns out that in Gipsy Hill, London, the opening of a new Sainsbury's supermarket could offer a lifeline to a fading business community. From the perspective of many local small shop owners, Sainsbury's will bring in punters. But the shop owners will have to sell the "special stuff" - they'll have to differentiate.

Last week Sainsbury's announced an industry leading initiative. They're to pack a whole bunch of their self-branded foods in compostable packaging. Sainsbury's? Local economy friendly? Environmentally conscious? Maybe!

When will this hit New Zealand? Will the Waste Minimisation Bill facilitate it? It's a must. Compostable packaging of food will make the job of separating domestic organic waste even easier. If your lettuce rots in a plastic bag, both the goo and the bag invariably get trashed. If it's in a compostable bag the whole lot can be composted instead.

So rather than spout Royston Vasey-esque xenophobia, it looks like little stores can love the big outsider. And although the "plastic" bag has a questionable past, the homely carrot may soon feel at ease in the fridge.

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Spring is here, the grass is riz, please take care when taking a wizz (etc). As the best season for tramping is upon us it's worth remembering to look after the bush, and look after our innards.

Over on The Piton, they've recently posted on an article about how shitty (literally) the water in the Appalachian Mountains is. 69% of hikers who don't treat their water get crook. Eek!

Kiwi tramping stats are hard to come by, but most who get into the bush know the risks of giardia infection. In tramping areas with DOC maintained huts there is usually signage indicating the suitability of water for drinking. A good outdoors store will have water treatment kits, and advice a-plenty.

Whether on frequented tracks, or in more remote spots it's worth remembering the DOC Environmental Care Code. Pretty much wherever you go, someone will take the same path some time later. So pack out what you take in. And if there's no dunny, bury your crap away from water courses.

Getting out there is a crucial element in having respect for the environment, and it gives valuable perspective for better city living. Happy tramping!

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Monday, September 04, 2006

A quick update on my June post about the sale of Graeme Hart's CHH forestry estate: today the Commerce Commission announced that Global Forest Partners have applied for clearance to buy. Yep, they're a US company. But they're also quite good forestry investment managers - aswell as being a partner to The Conservation Fund.

This comes on the back of news last week that the Government will proceed with its' "permanent forest sink initiative" as a means of meeting its Kyoto Protocol obligations.

This development offers a potential lifeline to erosion prone marginal land. Felling is proposed to be allowed only on a continuous canopy basis (as opposed to clear-fell) so it looks like native re-forestation will be an attractive option. Land owners will be able to sell credits associated with the carbon storage of their plantings.

More planting means less storm erosion, which means a pretty Wellington harbour rather than one that resembles an open sewer.

Oh, the image is from Kiwi Conservation Club. It depicts native forest cover in 1840.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

It used to be that for a successful awards evening Miss Venezuela had to be present. She was nowhere to be seen at Thursday nights Get Sustainable Challenge awards - but that did nothing to dampen raucous laughter and stories of genuine success.

Tales of Fridays off and slain worms had the crowd amused, and you could almost be excused in forgetting that four local businesses were the pick of a highly sustainable bunch. For the record, Remarkit Solutions (IT equipment recyclers), (web solutions), Alto (Design), and YHA Wellington (tourism) were category winners.

YHA took the 'supreme' award, along with my thumbs up for best laugh. You'd never be bored stuck in a room with manager Hamish Allardice!

Well done to all the businesses who stuck their neck out and entered. And for you - the peeps on the street - keep an eye out for this next year. It will be bigger and better.