Greener Neighbourhoods Awards announced
Leading on from the judges tour and the final round of eco-footprinting the Greener Neighbourhood groups gathered in the Council Chambers for the awards event. After tallying the eco-footprint results and much discussion the judges decided to split the $2000 award between the Greenown Plus and Pounamu Ōtaki groups. The judges felt all the groups had done incredibly well, with the efforts of the Greenown Plus and Pounamu Ōtaki groups resulting in different but equally inspiring outcomes.
The criteria to make a decision was set at the beginning of the competition, with 50% based on the eco-footprint calculations and 50% based on the judges impressions of the group's effort to reduce their ecological footprint within their households and in the community. The aim of the Greener Neighbourhood programme is to challenge participants to bring their combined eco footprint down to one ‘Earth’ - a measure given to indicate a sustainable ecological lifestyle. This year a new online eco-footprint calculator was developed for the programme - which is unique in that it is specific to a New Zealand context.
The efforts of the Greenown group are creatively captured in their “Greenown Mile” story, weaving together their efforts of get to know one another, establishing a common purpose and act on it. Subsequent results included the establishing of a community beehive, an Ewaste initiative, the hākari stall and efforts to reduce their household eco-footprints through working -bees, waste minimisation and resource sharing. Overall the group have a 22% reduction in their ecological footprint, reducing from 1.5 to 1.238 Earths.
The Pounamu Ōtaki group inspired the judges through their innovation in making household reductions, living a plastic free lifestyle, sourcing local food and sustaining from the outset an average footprint of one Earth. The group was established according to a whānau Māori model. Te Reo was a major kaupapa for the group who formed from within existing whānau networks, utilsing principles following Māori tikanga and kawa while following the Greener Neighbourhood programme. Interestingly Pounamu Ōtaki began the competition with a 1 Earth footprint. Over the course of the programme their footprint remained the same. Having not encountered this before, when it came to judging the ‘largest reduction’ part of the criteria it was decided that the group should be given an average grade instead of penalising them with a 0 grade, for not reducing their footprint further.