Gina Rembe – smart energy

Gina RembeIt is so exciting to meet bright young Wellington women such as Gina Rembe, who is one of the crew leading the 2nd round of the Smart Energy Challenge, that just kicked off last week. The project won a Sustainable Business Network award for last years efforts, in which one of the three successful projects saw Aro Solar crowd fund PV panels onto the Aro Valley Community Hall as part of these citizen led solutions for climate change.

To find out more about how to be involved in the challenge, what makes Gina so motivated and pretty keen on Wellington listen in. But if you’ve got any budding ideas get them in by Feb15th.

more info here



Emily Dowding Smith – arctic snorkeler


Meet Emily Dowding-Smith an ex Welly girl, (well Taranaki really) environment lawyer and scientist who has just returned from a test run, snorkeling the Arctic as part of a team of 10 women selected to raise awareness about disappearing sea ice and altered eco systems. And she was the only kiwi. Wow! In this interview Emily shares her reasons why this trip was important to her and her perception on what she saw on this once in a lifetime experience.

For more on this and Emily’s other adventures read her blog

Robin Hammond – an eye for injustice


Wilton boy, Robin Hammond’s commitment to human rights photography has lead him to win many coveted awards for his work.

In this interview we talk to Robin about how he ended up in African prisons to show us what is happening when the support system for people with mental disability fails post war. He also talks about his photo shoot ” the Dark side of Denim” which showed the environmental effects that denim production had on a small African village. And what he saw in Tuvalu as the people on this beautiful island start to drown under the effects of climate change.

Robin was here to be inducted into the Massey Creative Hall of Fame, as well as to accompany the World Press exhibition featuring his award winning photographs from the “Condemned” series and to see his Mum and Dad.

The World Press exhibition is on at the NZ Portrait Gallery, Shed 11 until September 21st.


What makes Aro Valley our Eco Valley?

aro_community_20140727_5537Aro Valley is quickly taking the title of Eco Valley, as recently resident Julia Stace, Te Aro School and the Aro Valley Community Center have all had solar panels installed, which will produce their own renewable power. This will add to the valley’s legacy of already being a leader in community action.

In this two part series these Aro Valley initiators talk about what they think contributes to Aro Valleys constant action towards positive environmental change.

In part 1 resident Julia Stace ( far left) on why she installed photo Voltaic cells on her home and Charles Barrie (centre) from Aro Valley’s community gardens Kai o Te Aro on the surprising benefits of the community gardens and his idea on a vision for Aro Valley.

In Part two Louise Sherrell of Aro Solar, (represented by other Aro Solar project team members Miranda Voke  2nd right and Ollie 2nd left), resident Karen MacIntyre ( centre back) on some valley history that changed it forever and community coordinator Kelvin Aris talks about community resilience.

A must listen for all communities and neighborhoods trying to kick start change.

Part 1

Part 2

Thanks to Virginia Woods Jack for the photo.

Jan Wright – commissioner for our environment on what keeps her awake at night

Jan Wright

As New Zealand’s Environment Commissioner, Jan Wright is the authority on what is happening environmentally in our country. In this interview Jan gives us a breakdown on her latest report on the impending “fracking” or Oil and Gas Drilling industry, as well as the bigger environmental issues at hand. Her mission is to then get politicians to act on her recommendations.

Although we didn’t get to discuss this, the summary below, which ends her report introduction is certainly food for thought at this critical time. And if the Commissioner for the Environment is saying it, why aren’t we doing it?

– ‘The Government has committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to five percent below our 1990 emissions by 2020, but there is no plan for achieving this –neither the Energy Strategy nor the greatly weakened Emissions Trading Scheme will do it. Perhaps I have become particularly sensitive, but I seem to be increasingly hearing that it is pointless for our small country to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases because our contribution to the global total is insignificant. But this is a recipe for inaction everywhere.

The Minister of Climate and Environment in Norway – another small country – recently said it better than I can:
“Norway accounts for 0.04 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In isolation, what we do is of little significance. But we cannot think like that. Every Chinese city, every U.S. state, every coal power plant emission is small in the larger whole. We will not get anywhere if we just point at each other.”

During my time as New Zealand’s Environment Commissioner, I have often made recommendations about the need for a strong response on climate change. I will continue to do so.’

Jan Wright-Drilling for oil and gas in New Zealand: Environmental oversight and regulation -June 2014

James Shaw – what really matters

James Shaw.relaxed mirror

James Shaw, our Wellington Central Candidate for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand talks about the things that led him to into the world of politics. He also reveals the issue that is really important to him and therefore really important to all of us.

Generation Zero – rattling the cage on climate change

Generation Zero

Generation Zero are doing a seriously good job of getting climate change higher on the political agenda. I had a chat with Paul Young, Generation Zero’s spokesperson, at one of their political stunts outside Parliament, about other countries that DO have a climate change plan and an opportunity that NZ cannot afford to miss.