Our climate, our water, our common good

The week of 20 to 27 September is a whole week of climate action, and we are wanting to drum up as much awareness as possible! Join The Common Good team on Friday, 20 September, at 6pm in the TSB space at Tūranga (our central library) as we hear from five fantastic speakers on climate, water, and sustainability. A great opportunity to hear from people who are really making a difference in our community in the climate space — in food resilience, transport, bridging the urban rural divide, and saving our water.

See the event debrief.

Our speakers are

Sam Mahon

water and climate

I was born in 1954 on a cold morning in July. It was raining and someone was playing The Basin Street Blues. My father imagined a career for me which included playing for the All Blacks, graduating from Harvard with a doctorate in constitutional law, and spending my evenings drinking gin in a house designed by Miles Warren.
I let him down. I became an artist. I don't ask for much; a mention in Art NZ would be nice. But the only reviews I get are condemnations in the Farmers' Weekly where I'm referred to as a pivotal irritator. Oh well.

Peter Wells

food resilience and climate

A Seattle native based in Christchurch, Peter works with the Food Resilience Network coordinating the Ōtākaro Orchard project at 227 Cambridge Terrace. With backgrounds in arts & ecology, he specialises in urban food forests and serves on the committees of Soil & Health, Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch and contributes to New Zealand's art's community.

Glen Herud

agriculture and climate

Glen founded the Happy Cow Milk Company in 2014 after becoming concerned by the way modern dairy farming was conducted and unhappy with the falling public opinion of the dairy industry. His practice of leaving calves with their mothers until weaning, organic farming practices and whole milk delivered in reusable packaging won him lots of fans and customers.

But the harsh realities of fast growth, distribution costs, supermarkets and farming meant that Glen’s business ran out of cash, and was liquidated. What was a terrible experience became a positive new beginning. Glen's story went viral and people from around the world donated money via Patreon to allow Glen to redevelop it.

The big insight is that family farmers can do things big companies can’t do, and have a marketing advantage over larger brands. Traditional milk processing practices, distribution and retail model does not work for smaller producers. With the help of a coder friend Glen has designed a unique system that allows family farmers around the world to sell their milk and compete in the brutal commercial world.

Lucy Gray

people power and climate

Lucy Gray is a 12-year-old climate activist and songwriter. In 2017, she started a climate action group in her school, promoting young people to come along and learn about climate change. In March 2019 she put up her hand to coordinate the first Christchurch school strike for climate and has been part of the local and national SS4C teams since. Lucy stands with other young people across the country and across the globe who are speaking out against the climate crisis and saying ‘enough is enough’. She is committed to supporting young people to be actively engaged in standing up for their futures and demanding that leaders, politicians and government act urgently on climate change.

Axel Wilke

transport and climate

Born into a family of butchers in 1966 during the month his parents opened their supermarket, his career appeared laid out for him. When he announced in the early 1990s that he was going to study civil engineering, his father predicted with much disappointment that Axel would end up driving taxis. Half was through his degree, his Kiwi girlfriend moved back home and Canterbury University added a mature student.

Axel’s work interest lies in sustainable transport. After 8 years with Christchurch City Council, he was co-founder of a consultancy in 2005. Our team works for local and central government agencies across the country. Axel’s work highlights include membership of the Cycle Safety Panel, being the technical expert to the NZ Cycle Trail, running industry training, and writing design guidelines.
Our MC is

Margaret Austin

Margaret Austin was a science teacher involved in science curriculum development, and helped establish the NZ Science Teachers Association. She was elected to Parliament in 1984 as Labour MP for Yaldhurst and served for 12 years. In Parliament she sat on the Communications and Road Safety Committee and chaired the Education and Science Committee. She was a member of the Cabinet with the portfolios of Research Science and Technology, Internal Affairs, Arts and Culture and Civil Defence.

Margaret was awarded the MNZM in the Queens Birthday Honours in 1997, made a Companion of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management in 2003. She was awarded the CNZM in the New Year Honours 2008 and received a D.Sc (honoris causa) from Lincoln University in 2006.

Since leaving Parliament she has chaired two Education Inquiries, was Chancellor of Lincoln University (1999–2005), chaired the National Commission for UNESCO NZ (1999–2006). From 2006 to 2010, she was seconded by the Director General of UNESCO to undertake special projects particularly in SE Asia and the Pacific. Over the last two decades, she has held leadership positions with many local and national organisations.

Lan Pham was to be our MC but she has fallen ill. We are grateful to Margaret Austin CNZM, who at short notice accepted to chair the event.

Please sign up via the Facebook event, share with your Facebook friends and send a Facebook invitation to them, and encourage friends and family to join you at Tūranga for a great evening on 20 September!

Please note that the Climate Week events culminate in the School Strike for Climate protest 1–3pm on 27 September in Cathedral Square.

See you on Friday, 20 September, at Tūranga

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