A journey on a journey

In April this year I attended the Lausanne/WEA – Oceania Creation Care Consultation in Tahlee NSW, Australia. The aim of the consultation:

“is part of a global campaign to strengthen evangelical creation care movements. This regional consultation seeks to catalyse a movement of Christians who will develop new and strengthen existing creation care partnerships and initiatives throughout the Oceania Region.”

The consultation was over five days covering the themes of Oceans, Land, Forests and Fresh Water. Speakers from different countries and professional backgrounds spoke on these themes framed within Scripture, Culture and Science. Delegates also had an opportunity to break into focus group to discuss what we had learnt each day. The consultation was hosted by Tahlee Ministries where delegates stayed for the week enjoying the scenery, nature and hospitality provided.

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Tahlee Ministries

My approach to the consultation was to learn about how the Christian community are bringing environmental issues to their congregations and wider Christian network, gather resources and to share the work I have been involved with through Tāmaki WRAP. In particular the work we have done with Christian churches and individuals, as well as to support my good friend on her journey to learn about Creation Care that is dear to her faith.

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Hinemoa and I on excursion to Tilligerry 

Leading up to the consultation I had bouts of apprehension, mainly to do with how I would fit into an Evangelical consultation. However my good friend Hinemoa “with your experience and my faith we make one legitimate entry into this consultation”. I was also reminded by husband to treat it as you do going on to marae, be open, be respectful (thankyou darling x). This definitely put me at ease and at no time was my faith questioned nor was I made to feel uncomfortable as a non Christian during the consultation.

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Although these are global goals I can see their relevance at a local level

At the consultation I was surprised to hear from a number of scientists reporting on climate change and other environmental issues. My naive view of Evangelical Christendom and many other religions couldn’t weave faith and science together. Marine Scientist Mitch Hollier explained during his presentation “Science as a way of worship – it glorifies and responds.” This explanation made me see how they can coexist in the context of environmental issues. My role as a waste facilitator is at a grass-roots community development level so it was good to take time to learn about the bigger picture of climate change and to put into perspective. It also made me think about where this fits into my own waste journey, and how this could be the next challenge for me to explore  – a greater understanding and advocacy for environmental issues.

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Aso Ioapo from Tuvalu Climate Change Network

Real examples from people living in areas affected by climate change were confronting and sad to hear from various speakers. Aso Ioapo from Tuvalu Climate Change Network gave a compelling talk about the physical effects of climate change on Tuvalu, as well as social, spiritual and economical impacts. The crisis is real and his people are asking hard-hitting faith and theological questions to which he is struggling to answer. Ioapo urged Western Churches to advocate on Tuvalu’s (as well as other island nations struggling) behalf, to do away with consumerism and to stand in solidarity on these issues. Iaopo ended his presentation by showing a video that highlighted the physical effects of climate change on Tuvalu. It was very confronting and saddening to see a home washed away. Hearing from the Pacific Island nations made me think of my trip to Vava’u Tonga at the end of 2017. On the last day I managed to speak to Sekope Finau from the SDA in Tonga we talked briefly about waste. I feel I have unfinished business in Tonga and I hope some time in the future I will get to go there again, hopefully in a working capacity.

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An excursion to Tilligerry Habitat, bird watching and a visit to the straw bale environmental centre

A highlight for myself and others from the NZ contingent  was meeting and hearing from Marilyn Wallace and her husband Peter, traditional custodians of the land now called Australia and from the Nyungkal Ranger Service. We learnt about their culture, country and way of life through their presentation and in good spirits over dinner. Their work and genuine kindness is beautifully showcased in this video.

I picked up that Rev Dave Brookless A Rocha International Director of Theology who had a significant role in the consultation was a gardening advocate which I related to. Brookless’s final presentation talked about how it is important to set down your roots in your community – not just figuratively but literally and to learn something about your neighbour – all of which is Gospel. Gardening has been a meaningful experience for me over the years and it has helped my family find it’s place in our community. Another point that I found particularly interesting from Rev Dave Brookless was his explanation of the word ‘new’ in the Bible, and how this has been lost in translation. The word ‘kainos’ from the Greek New Testament translates to ‘renew’. Best that I not try and explain theological narrative, you can read this is discussion in his book Planetwise: Dare to Care for God’s World.

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The organic garden at Tahlee Ministries

At night was a chance to share stories and short presentations on the projects that everyone was involved in. These were all very inspiring and our Tāmaki WRAP presentation was well received. It was noted by delegate Dr Andrew Shepard Eco-Theologian and Director of A Rocha NZ on the strong wāhine presence in our presentation. I think at times I take this for granted, I am so grateful to be surrounded, inspired and mentored by many wāhine toa everyday.

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Presenting Tāmaki WRAP

The focus groups were useful, however I found it hard to look at things top down. I saw the struggle in the church to make environmental issues relevant to their congregations. My contribution to many discussions was to encourage community led grass roots action. We both made some great connections all over the Pacific and we have plans for resource sharing and working together. On the final day each country got together to create a plan, the Aotearoa contingent was lucky to have Dr Andrew Shepard to lead the planning and he provided great advice and resources from A Rocha.

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Ai Wei Wei, Law of the Journey, 2017.

A day in Sydney en route back to Auckland we had some time for some sightseeing. We went to see some of the Sydney Biennale at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and on Cuckotoo Island. The work by Ai Wei Wei photographed above was a stark reminder of the current refugee crisis of 22 million worldwide, it also reminded me of discussions at the Consultation on the implications of the potential relocation of the Tuvalu people due to rising sea levels. People are connected to their land and relocation is not straight forward to say the least, if it is even an option.

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Open mic night fundraiser was a great night!

 

It was a privilege and a pleasure to be part of the Aotearoa contingent, we think we represented well all of our projects, organisations and culture.

A special thank you to Tāmaki WRAP, St Johns Theological College and to those who donated funds at our Open Mic Night that made this experience possible for myself and Hinemoa.

There are some great environmental resources on the NZ A Rocha website.

Also check out Cherished Earth – a climate justice initiative, connecting faith and creation care.

 

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Relax & Recycle

 

Oh wow! My second post for 2017 is at the end of the year. What a bad blogger I am! I have been so time poor this year meaning I had to drop a few things I do on the side of normal life. So to end the year here is a post to sign off 2017 and hopefully I can find time in 2018 for a bit of me time that includes writing! Happy New Year to everyone that follows this neglected but well meaning blog. x Candace

I have been sitting on this post for a while now and it has gone through many changes during this time. I started this post sharing apologetically how my zero waste journey had taken a wee detour because we are recycling more due to our busy family life of 3 kids, full time and part time jobs plus other responsibilities.

Our enthusiasm for zero waste has not subsided but our windows of time for going the extra zero waste mile has subsided. We are hoping that it is just a wee detour and we will back on track soon.

However I started to ponder was this confession encouraging to other families? Our family has definitely been the high scale of zero waste – avoiding waste from the outset : see post A month in, lessons learnt.

Now with two toddlers on the go and a social butterfly tween, myself picking up some more part time work, a husband who works full time and studies part time, life is busier then ever.

So rather apologizing for recycling more –  at the moment it is what is keeping us sane and zero waste – (depending on your definition). So this post is to highlight some recycling options that you may or may not know about that we have tried and tested.

 

Kerbside Recycling:

These items make up the most of our kerbside recycling:

Tetra packs (plant milk)

Cans

Bottles

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Recycling tip: put metal bottle caps into a can with a lid to contain before putting into recycling bin.

 

Soft plastic Recycling

Available at most supermarkets where I live. They are located near the entrance of the stores.

Polystyrene Recycling

We bought new appliances. It felt weird to buy new but time and money over -ruled! We recycled the polystyrene at Ecomatters which is a great place to visit. There is a bike kitchen there on Saturdays and a garden across the road which is nice to take the kids through.

 

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Nena at Ecomatters recycling our polystyrene from some new appliances, the lovely Barb in the background.

Toothbrush Recycling

We go back and forth between plastic toothbrushes and bamboo ones, (we gave miswak sticks a go but not really suitable for the kids!). When we use plastic toothbrushes we use Preserve toothbrushes bought from Huckleberry Farms. We have a bag in the bathroom for old toothbrushes and tubes that we take to a nearby drop off, last time we did it at Ecomatters when we did the polystyrene recycling.

 

 

 

E-Waste Recycling

A local op shop recycles old mobile phones or else we keep a look out for the E-Waste recycling service that pops up every now and then at a nearby suburb.

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Salvation Army Store Panmure

Recycling Food Waste aka Composting

Composting diverts around 5-10kg of kitchen scraps from landfill at our place. Kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee and tea grinds. They are recycled into compost for my garden! The best type of recycling in my opinion! And the easiest!

 

If you are a busy family like us and the most convenient time for grocery shopping is a Saturday night then relax and recycle. Recycling is not perfect but sometimes convenience is just what a busy family needs sometimes to keep things flowing.

Useful Links:

Making The Most of Waste  (Auckland kerbside recycling checklist)

Ecomatters

Preserve

Toothbrush & toothpaste tube collection

Recycle Auckland App

Compost Collective

E-Waste

Soft Plastic Recycling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 begins

Happy new year everyone!

Thanks for following my waste-less journey if you are a regular reader or if you are a first time visitor thanks for stopping by!

I have begun 2017 with a bit of  a switch around of inside and outside of the house. Our new year was spent changing the kids rooms around and everything that goes with that – cleaning, sorting, paring down and arranging. The two little ones are now sharing a room so the nine year old can be left in tween peace.

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Nena getting her things sorted thanks to a little upcycling!

A friend who has many years experience in horticulture was kind enough to assess my property and advise on planting that has spurred me into action. Our to do list for outside involved putting together raised beds in an area that is better suited to our outdoor living as well as being in a better position to the kitchen and sun. A productive garden not only provides a source of food but also provides a ‘waste’ solution by the means of a compost for our kitchen and garden waste.

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Max picked up a wooden box on the side of the road that he sawed into 3 that I am using for my raised beds. I have begun to layer the beds with cardboard, lucerne straw, bokashi, compost, comfrey leaves and coffee grounds that will hopefully all break down into some great soil ready for planting in autumn. I also picked up two steel gates from the side of the road that I will attach to one of the beds and the deck to serve as a trellis. The side of the road has served me well!

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I will mulch around the beds to keep the weeds out and to cut down on overall maintenance of the grass. I also have do some work to do in the periphery garden that I haven’t paid much attention to over the years. I will start with mulching and adding compost once I have some to help bring the soil quality up then begin to add native plants to achieve a lush border.

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Sandwich garden -Pictured is the start of the one of the raised beds: thick layer of cardboard followed by a layer of lucerne straw

My lovely husband built me a two bay compost from pallets that has replaced my circular wire compost which did the job but was a bit of a challenge to turn. I love my new compost and it will be integral to providing nutrients back into the garden. From experience, talking to others and reading, compost – made on site is vital to a garden succeeding. I guess it has something to do with the microbes all working together in an ecosystem – like familiar friends kicking off where they left off.

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So this is the last season my vegetable garden that has served me for 4 years will exist. Once the summer crops are over I will take the edging away and let the grass grow over. I am now in the process of planting fruit trees down the back of our property. It will be a little sad to say goodbye to this patch however the soil has never been that great and it is  a struggle to keep the kikuyu at bay.

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A braebaurn apple tree (next to the bamboo trellis) that I grafted is the first to go in to my soon to be backyard orchard

I will you keep you updated on my new garden and fruit forest. As always waste reduction continues to underpin my day to day life and I try best to share my experiences on this blog. However I am much more active on my instagram account so you may want to check it out and hit the follow button.

Happy new year everyone!

3 gift-y things

Here are three things that you can easily make yourself to give away as gifts that will make you look a bit awesome.

Skin Balm

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Here’s a post I wrote a while back that has step by step instructions.

I have friends and family who save small jars for me that I use for my balms, I also keep a look out for them at op shops. Recently I have been drying flowers and using them to seep in the carrier oil- an extra step but I like to make use of the calendula flowers at the community garden.

Rosemary Hair Rinse

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Super duper easy. You’ll need a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary. Take off the leaves and put them into a plunger, teapot or jug, pour over boiling water. Leave overnight, or until  water is cool. Pour and strain into bottles.

Garden Hand Scrub

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This is a nice gift to give to your garden friends.

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 sprigs of rosemary chopped

zest of 1 lemon / (or grapefruit/lime)

juice of 1/2 lemon (or grapefruit/lime)

Put all ingredients into bowl and mix together. Put in jars/containers.

Happy DIY gifting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tide is turning

I have been a bit neglectful of my blog due to life however something quite radical has occurred recently that I felt I had to share. My mum started composting! At her request! She has gone for the bokashi method which is really simple to do and easy to DIY your own. I am excited for my mum as bokashi composting was my family’s first step in significantly reducing our waste.

You can buy bokashi buckets systems from hardware stores or you can make your own. To make bokashi bins you will need two buckets the same size and one will require an airtight lid. Drill holes evenly dispersed at the base of one bucket. The bucket with holes will sit inside the other bucket with the airtight lid. For instructions on how to use here is a good link. Or if you live in Auckland The Compost Collective have great workshops that are free to attend and offer a discount upon attending a workshop to purchase a commercially available compost system.

Whether you choose traditional composting / worm farm / bokashi you have made the first step in reducing landfill and use of resources, as well as creating your own eco-system – your garden will love the benefits of composting.

Update on mum – she is now composting all her food waste! I help her out by taking her full bucket to the community garden where I either bury it in the soil or add it to the compost bins. And as you can see from the picture below her many pot plants are reaping the rewards from the bokashi juice that is collected.

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A small portion of her pot plants on the deck aka ‘the jungle’

Composting is the right thing to do with organic waste and even ladies who like to grow flowers and enjoy a bit of retail therapy every now and then are getting on board.

 

Wood Spirits Are Calling

Hand me downs in the form of clothes, toys and books is common in our household with three small children, and recently there has been a re-hashing of movies from the now nine year old’s collection. One in particular has taken the toddler’s fancy and also mine.

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My Neighbour Totoro is a Japanese animation from 1988 created by Studio Ghibli that tells the story of two sisters who have friendly interactions with wood spirits upon their move to rural Japan. It’s a sweet story that shows the bond between two sisters and childhood imagination that is enchanted and enriched by the natural world.

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Mei chasing the wood spirits

 

 

 

The simplicity of the home and lifestyle in the film is very appealing to me at a time when I am questioning all the ‘stuff’ in my own home and life. The endless washing, cleaning, driving, working and entertaining of modern family life is constant and draining. In the film the family’s possessions are sparse and their home life is fairly subdued. Aside from the practical appeal of this (less stuff = less mess = more time) the aesthetic is also appealing.

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Another aspect of the film I like is the village community that is multi-generational and has a garden at the heart. Belonging to a community garden somewhat full fills this role for me but I would love to live closer and for it to be a hub for the community to share and look after eachother (work in progress!).

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Mei and Satsuki eating some cooking made by a neighbour they call ‘granny’

The film is also a reminder of a child’s prerogative to be amongst nature and learn and grow alongside it and for me as a parent to encourage and provide the opportunity. I hope my children encounter their own wood spirits whilst out in nature.

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Marcy found a baby hedgehog at the community garden

 

 

Waste comes to life

Since my journey into waste reduction began in 2014 there have been some uncanny instances where bits and pieces from my past experiences and memories have surfaced in relation to waste. Here are three examples:

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Te Rau Puriri Regional Park

1.

One of the beaches that I spent some time at during my childhood was Karekare. I have a clear recollection of looking out of the car window on the way to the beach at the trees alongside the windy roads. I remember being fascinated when someone told me that you can use the leaves to make tea. During the summer of  2014/2015 we walked the track at Te Rau Puriri Regional Park. We stopped and swam at the beach and marvelled at how lucky we are in New Zealand to have such a beautiful landscape. I also noticed the trees near the beach that had fascinated me as a child. I took a few leaves home and found out that they are Kanuka, from here I began making my own creams and balms as a waste reduction measure as well as a renewed fascination with nature’s ability to provide.

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Jacques-Louis David. The Death of Marat 1793 Oil on canvas. Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium

Image from Google Art Project

2.

In high school one subject I was particularly fond of was art history. When studying the Neo-Classical period we of course looked at the work of Jacques-Louis David. The above painting was shown on a slide and I remember looking at it for a long time and it having an impact on me. I went on to study art history at university, and throughout my studies I didn’t come across this painting and to be honest had forgotten about it. Last year during a waste documentary watching-athon we watched Waste Land. I watched it without any prior knowledge, (yep didn’t even look closely at the poster). The painting that moved me over 15 years ago features in the documentary and plays an important role in the film literally and symbolically. Not only did the imagery move me again, but equally moving was how waste was infiltrating into my forgotten joys.

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3.

Recently I made a display at my local library to promote a waste free parenting workshop that the waste reduction group I belong to was hosting. Whilst I was putting up the display I saw my science teacher from high school. Let’s just say I wasn’t the best student and didn’t and still don’t have a science-y bone in my body. She commented to say that it was good to see I was putting science towards something worth while. It felt good to redeem my lack of enthusiasm for science class with the work I am now involved with.

People often ask how did I come into waste. I tend to say it was and continues to be a gradual process of education and experience. However, it’s hard to ignore these signs. I think the waste reduction ethos has always been in my veins and connecting past experiences is one way to know I’m on the right path and to listen to what the world is telling me.