Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why am I interested in sustainable living?

Firsty I will introduce myself. I have qualifications as a scientist (MSc Zoology) and an educator Dip Teaching (tertiary) and am finishing a Doctorate in Education in Information and Communications Technology.I have studied the ecology both of both land-based ecosystems and fresh water systems. I also have a 30 year love affair with environmental and human rights issues. I would love to do away with money and exist in a place where the community exchanges and shares skills and support.

I presently work as an Educational Developer in the Educational Development Centre. I have been interested in environmental issues since the 70s when I lived in London for five years and Switzerland for six months - they were recycling everywhere, in the community and in the hospital I nursed in. You could pick up free furniture every month off the street when it was put out for collection. The reason for the activity - their country is too small to fill it up with junk. There is more about how I got to this space on my blog and I would feel privileged if you took the time to read about my background in sustainability.

While in London i rode a bicycle constantly, and used public transport because it wasn't practical to use a car even on long journeys. There was too much traffic; it was exhilarating to weave in and out of the cars and buses, and the fastest way to get around. I ate organic food which was very easy to get. Every time I washed my hair the water was black with soot. It was a very polluted city, and the water we were expected to drink had been recycled eight times by the municipal council.

Living there made me very aware of the issues facing the planet. I recall asking a chemistry lecturer about global warming, and the idea was poohooed as pollycock. I also recall asking questions about the safety of nuclear energy in a meeting with nuclear energy official representatives. They were adamant that alternative energy sources would never see the light of day and that nuclear power plants were 100% safe. The most fascinating trip I ever made was to Macynlleth in mid Wales where alternative energy centre was being set up - Centre for Alternative Technology - they had created a fully sustainable house and community from a bare quarry. Today it is a thriving magnet for all sorts of people wanting to learn about alternative energies and sustainable ways of living.

I joined a group of protesters one time and our efforts to get to to Greenham Common via train and bicycle were blocked by the authorities. we were protesting the nuclear weapons held there by the US. I was also closely involved with an urban regeneration group and we replanted wastelands and areas near abandoned railway tracks. My interest in the environment and sustainable ways of living has always been from a scientific angle as well as from a sociological stance. I just want to see people and the earth treated justly.

I would like to see Otago Polytechnic modelling sustainabiity in everything we do. Not just the everyday practical things which relate to energy use and recycling but also that we ensure we purchase good only from reputable sustainable companies, and that we provide sustainable educational choices for the community.

You may be interested in the following local organisations:
1. Sustainable Dunedin Network at:
2. Sustainable Dunedin City Society at:

Here is a video clip on the Channel 9 website of an interview about the Dunedin City Council Annual Plan with members of Sustainable Dunedin City Society

"The newly-formed Sustainable Dunedin City Society are arguing that the DCC's annual plan shows no sign of dealing with issues concerning climate change.They're concerned if the council doesn't rethink their current plan, Dunedin can kiss goodbye to a sustainable city and environment."

First of all we need to communicate openly and discuss the ideas around the Key Performance Indicators for the Sustainability plan. We would also benefit from having information added to a Wiki so it can be dynamic and readily updated by all interested staff at OP. That way people will feel involved and will be more likely to contribute and collaborate as well as cooperate. otherwise we may get into the same ole ways of working where we are being told what we have to do, rather than taking responsibility for doing what is right because we feel passionate about being a sustainable organisation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

sustainable futures in the organisation

One of the most exciting developments at OP is strategic sustainable development. This extends to environmental, energy and education.

There are several strands of sustainable development at the institution:

  • staff development - workshops, awareness
  • operations = wellness, energy saving, transport - hybrid, biofuel, electric, bicycles for staff and students - what to get for staff transport.
  • curriculum - graduate profile working party - EDC support (18 May & 1 June) - email (chris ebert) for link to wiki for grad profile.
  • outreach - (sustainable Otago), design EXPOs - criteria to keep a high standard, sustainable business workshops - want to use own staff - advocacy.
  • students - forums, working party, OPSA, wellness, Gyro article - after checking what students want
  • communications - wait until get funding to promote more of this.
  • funding - contestable funds - business cases, need to see savings and how they are going back to the plan, incentives to bike to work.

Key performance indicators being drafted e.g. staff development, carbon footprint, energy etc

Need to revisit how we communicate what we are doing - blogs, wikis, mailing list. have received funding for environmental challenge project - sustainable home. tertiary organisations working together with community.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

social networking for leadership team

Planning for leadership team

Explain what a blog is and show the an example – terry to talk about his travel blog. Talk about the idea of a diary or journal. Gareth Morgan's blog.

Leigh will set up a blog for someone in leadership team. Leigh will have organised Phil & Robin re sending pics to Flickr etc. put them into blog.

Show Tony Heptinstall's blog - students can see what the lecturer is interested in (professional), filtering the Internet. Show lots of examples - Leigh. OP examples - William Lucas, Dave McQuillan, Wendy ritson-jones.

Show example of DFLP blog - migrating from primary focus of Blackboard to primary focus as the blog. Why is this better? Made an executive decision to make blog as the pivotal part of the course.

Blog helped them organise everything they were doing - thoughts, progress, reflection, questions, self-assessment, and make the assessments easier to mark.

Time may be an issue - how can wikis, blogs be more efficient for staff. Information overload. Show them an RSS feed ?

Set up leadership team wiki.

Social networking - definition and philosophy may come later. Culture change – move away from broadcast culture to participatory culture.

Demonstration of how to participate. Google search and Technorati search for blogs.

Harvard Law - taking next step.

Advantages of the Internet e.g. email - increase speed of communication, written record.