Mission: To support the development of a resilient Blueskin community
Objectives: To stimulate reasoned engagement and debate for the benefit of the Blueskin Community; To build participation and stimulate action; To document and disseminate the ideas and opinion of this time.
This is a place for those of us who accept that positive action and change are urgently required in order for this planet and its inhabitants to thrive. We welcome respectful comments that are thoughtful and focused on solutions to the environmental challenges that we all are facing.
We aim to stimulate discussions about significant issues usually with reference to the Blueskin community. Are we hopelessly naive to think that we can build stronger community by encouraging discussion, contention and reasoned argument? Time will tell.
That’s the question I was asked by one of my bosses when he learned I lived in a Housing Co-op. And to be honest that’s the response from many people. They have visions of communes like Centrepoint and Gloriavale. But I live in the Peterborough Housing Co-op governed by the Otakaro Land Trust, situated in Central Christchurch. We have no religious affiliation and no charismatic leader promising to guide us to a better place!
by Sean Connelly
I recently picked up Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins’s 1977 book Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity. This was the follow up book to Lappe’s hugely popular Diet for a Small Planet. Although it was written nearly 40 years ago, the key message of the book is still relevant. The authors suggest that food provides the most useful tool to make sense of our complex world and that food is the right place to focus our attention and energy if we want change to occur. While the nature of global and local problems have shifted since that time, I believe the underlying message holds true. It is worrying that after 40 years, we are still grappling with similar problems.
by Pam McKinley
Electric vehicles are great for the environment and your wallet, and amazing to drive. A guide about owning and driving an electric vehicle (EV) in New Zealand can be found in The New Zealand Electric Car Guide. The NZ government has also put out a guide at EECA. If you are on Facebook there is the NZ EV Owners group, plus Dunedin EV Owners has a Facebook page and monthly email newsletter for local owners and anyone interested in EV topics.
by Hugh Campbell
The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) provides the perfect moment to reflect on whether the long term dream of successive New Zealand governments to usher in a world of free trade in agriculture has taken on a increasingly fantastical quality.
by John Kaiser
Keeping power generation, distribution, and retailing local and community-owned
Download the PDF version here
interview with Councillor Jinty MacTavish
We sought out Councillor Jinty MacTavish to get a inside take on local government and the mechanics of our local democratic system in this interview.
by Hilary Rowley
“News Flash. Massive climate change event prevents food supplies from reaching Dunedin.” This is becoming an increasingly likely scenario. I had in mind the Christchurch earthquakes and the major snows a few years ago which closed all access roads to Blueskin Bay when I started to write this article, but this week alone we have had our own earthquake and a record rainfall which was so close to being a damaging flood.
by Morgan Williams
This is a tale of two parts. The first is about personal efforts to build and operate a more energy efficient home, as are members of the Blue Skin Bay community, and the second examines the massive changes that are beginning to occur in electricity production and supply systems worldwide. These changes are being driven by a combination of rapidly advancing technologies, consumer/citizen demands and society’s attitudes to electricity supply, marketing and business models. As has happened numerous times over the last 200 years, the rapid adoption of a new technology by some parts of society has been strongly resisted by others, often business interests, because of perceived threats to their goals. Government policies also play a key role, particularly if they entrench particular technologies and systems and hence limit needed changes. The threat of stranded capital is also a strong impediment to change in electricity generation and supply systems as in other capital-intensive industries.
The personal story
In 2010 my wife, Pam, and I decided to depart Wellington for sunny Nelson, a return to the South Island (our taurangawaewae) and the opportunity to build a more energy efficient home and get back to our love of gardening in an excellent climate. This was our second effort at building a more energy efficient home applying an ‘80/20 rule’. Our building approach has been deliberately conventional but with a design and material focus on energy efficiency, within an acceptable budget. In short the sort of house that many people could build cost effectively if they wanted a home with lower operating and maintenance costs, higher comfort levels (warmer & cooler) and ultimately a lower carbon footprint for its inhabitants. Our house of 232 sq metres plus garages, designed in 2010 and completed in mid 2012, incorporated the following attributes:
by Craig Marshall
Summer is the best time for thinking about firewood and firewood is something that takes time. The big advantage of wood as a fuel is that it is carbon neutral: burning it does produce CO2 but it is not fossil carbon and firewood is typically only a few decades old at most. How you burn it does matter: an open fireplace is very inefficient and you will need a lot more (and produce a lot more smoke) than in some kind of efficient wood burner. Using wood typically generates heat in other ways too: some of these are discussed below.