Monday, July 18, 2011

Place specific sustainability

In 100 words please describe a sustainable, or unsustainable, activity where you live or in a place you have visited. It's probably best to select one feature and explain why it is unsustainable, and what you would suggest as an alternative.


  1. Activity: Eating meat (especially red meat) in Brazil and New Zealand (two places I have lived).

    The rate at which we consume meat products is immense; it is often part of most meals. Beef manufacturing uses vast amounts of water which is also a finite resource. The 'virtual water' (water used to produce a product) of 1kg of beef is 15,550 litres on average (Water Footprint Network, 2011)!

    An alternative? Vegetarianism, being a week-day vegetarian weekend meat eater and/or only eating meat at dinner time. If beef manufacturing was converted to vegetarian-food production, 6 billion rather than 2.6 billion could be feed adequately worldwide (WorldWatch, 2011).

  2. Here are my sources, if needed?

    Water Footprint Network. (2011). Water Footprint Product Gallery. Retrieved July 19, 2011, from Water Footprint Network:

    WorldWatch. (2011). Eating meat: is it sustainable? Retrieved July 19, 2011, from BioPhile Magazine:

  3. I was in Yosemite National Park in California over the break, and noticed some very unsustainable activity. Coming down the mountain from a day's hiking, we got a view of the road leading out of the 'village' area in the park - it was absolutely packed, worse than some of Auckland's streets at rush hour. I find this to be an unpleasant and unsustainable activity to occur in the middle of a beautiful, natural, national park environment. A solution would involve more extensive public transport routes serving the park or perhaps restricting the numbers of vehicles that can enter the park at any one time.

  4. Here's a photo as well:

  5. Office Waste Management:

    Having worked in a couple of offices in New Zealand I've noticed that in some cases waste management practices are poorly implemented or lacking entirely, despite the now widely accepted need for recycling and energy saving. Specifically, I’ve seen paper discarded that can be re-used (i.e. for notes or printing on the reverse side), and paper recycling bins having to be emptied out into general waste due to people throwing plastic products, or food and other waste in the mix. Just additionally, all the offices I have worked in also left their computers on 24 hours a day, which is pretty wasteful.

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  7. Jethro 4893213

    Private interest in sustainable solutions......

    Having spent some time in the Philippines, I was able to go on several dives in and around mindanao. The fact is that sustainability issues in the developing world are often very different, in terms of the balance between survival of humans and the environment. While diving I noticed that many parts of the reefs had been destroyed by dynamite fishing, while I was informed that since the early 90's the practice had predominantly stopped, the damage to the reef was permanent and new coral growth was very unlikely. In fact the national and local governments had done nothing to prevent dynamite fishing as hundreds of thousands of families relied on the food and income that these fisherman were bringing in. This only changed when the diving/tourism industry began to grow and diving operators were able to show various communities that there was more benefit in preserving prestine reefs. Unlike New Zealand where predominantly state run initiatives and legislation lead to ecological sustainabilitty directives, in Mindanao the preservation of marine reefs, and aquatic life was envisioned by the market and private interest, me and some friends stayed with a local dive operater for a few days and saw this first hand as he was building artificial reefs himself and placing them on parts of a local reef where there was extensive damage to the coral. In fact he employed locals who in the past may have opted for dynamite fishing to make a living, to make these artificial reefs out of olf truck tyres, and make shift concrete.

    link to the photo of this:

    Restricting entry to a park Sarah? really? Isnt the best thing about New Zealand is that we can explore our natural landscape (for the most part) without restrictions and fees, but I guess in the states that would be okay . The national parks over there are like cities in themselves, with nomadic campers and hikers alike flocking to them by the tens of thousands, in fact I remember reading somewhere that yellowstone national park has a residual population at any one time of over 100,000 people. Sounds like restrictions and entry fees would be quite profitable, surely the best solutions to sustainability issues can a lot of the time be found in profiteering through sustaining the environment, as opposed to often docile government initiatives.

  8. I agree with Adam.. office waste management in New Zealand is generally poor, especially on the amount of paper ending up in our landfills. Although I must say at the place I work, we recycle paper and separate our food scraps. Pretty sustainable enough?

  9. Pamela Santos msan061July 23, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    I think the most sustainable place I have visited during my time in the Philippines is Vigan City. Vigan City is a World Heritage Site and is well known for its cobblestone streets, and unique European architecture, building design and construction. I think the sustainable aspect of this city is how sustainable cultural practices have transformed a drab town into a liveable city over the years. I remember enjoying my visit there, as it was clean and lively with ongoing cultural events and festivals.
    Vigan City has won awards such as being the most child-friendly city and the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines. Some of the sustainable practices include:
    -restoration of old and rundown mansions and houses using a guideline on how to correctly repair the houses
    -community involvement
    -rehabilitation of rivers for recreation and transportation

    Here's a link to a photo..


  10. Pamela Santos msan061

    I think the most sustainable place I have visited during my time in the Philippines is Vigan City. Vigan City is a World Heritage Site and is well known for its cobblestone streets, and unique European architecture, building design and construction. I think the sustainable aspect of this city is how sustainable cultural practices have transformed a drab town into a liveable city over the years. I remember enjoying my visit there, as it was clean and lively with ongoing cultural events and festivals.
Vigan City has won awards such as being the most child-friendly city and the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines. Some of the sustainable practices include:

    -restoration of old and rundown mansions and houses using a guideline on how to correctly repair the houses

    -community involvement
-rehabilitation of rivers for recreation and transportation

    Here's a link to a photo..



  11. An unsustainable activity in the area where I live is increasing fuel consumption, as many people within my suburb have at least 2 cars, which are often used as it is the fastest and easiest way to get around.

    This can lead to air pollution, as exhaust fumes from cars produce carbon dioxide, which can have adverse effects on the health of car users and all innocent bystanders (Environmed Research Inc, 2011). In addition to that, runoff from roads may also flow into nearby waterways, such as drains, rivers or streams, and cause water pollution too.

    Alternatives for this? Drive less. At least 30% of vehicle use is optional - either recreational or lazy driving when walking, cycling or public transit would be a better choice (Environmed Research Inc, 2011). There should also be more frequent public transport, in order to promote this as a sustainable travel alternative.

    Environmed Research Inc (2011) Cars, Trucks, Air Pollution and Health,

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  13. I work part time at Burgerfuel in Parnell. I love working there, the food that is produced is healthy and fresh, and it can be served straight to you in less than 10 minutes. Most of what we do every day seem to be harming the environment more than is necessary. While we use award winning biodegradable packaging to serve our food to customers and delivery vans run on biodiesel, the amount of food waste we produce on a daily basis is staggering. Bags and bags of food waste is thrown out every day, all of which ultimately ends up in the landfill.

    A system could be set up where food waste could be picked up and used to make compost, making sure that the least amount of waste ends up in a landfill. One of these systems is in use in Wellington (called Kai to Compost), whilst nothing exists of its kind in Auckland. Shame really. The link for this is:

  14. [Hsiao, upi:hhsi021]

    Sarah, I agree that a lot of driving nowadays is 'lazy driving'. I remember seeing a lot of college students drive to school when they could have walked there in 15-20 minutes.

    Working at a restaurant, I see a tremendous amount of waste being produced every day the restaurant is running; this is an unsustainable activity. The waste ranges from serviettes, disposable takeaway packaging, food and water. All of these wastes could be reduced in some way.

    Just focusing on takeaway packaging, many restaurants use polystyrene boxes that cannot be recycled in our recycling bins, takeaways usually involve the use of many plastic bags also.

    I have come across a restaurant in my suburb, where they charge 50c per takeaway container used. At first I thought this would not help their business and to pay 50c per container was too much. However, this does help reduce waste by encouraging people to dine in, or to bring their own containers.

  15. I live in Manukau and an unsustainable activity that occurs throughout my city is the ability to dispose of unlimited amounts of rubbish.

    Unlike Auckland city where residents can only fill up their little red lid bids or Papakura/Franklin residents who have to pay for council approved rubbish bags, Manukau residents do not have any control forced on them. We can buy as many and any type of rubbish bag we like and place them out on rubbish day, and they are all collected.

    I would suggest that Manukau residents receive the same red lid bins that Auckland City has in order to limit the amount of household rubbish sent to landfills.

    Rhezza Layco

  16. Nadia de Coning (1016485)July 24, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Sustainable activity:
    Protection and enhancement of natural and physical resources within the city environment.

    Melbourne and Cape Town are two city centres which have embraced and enhanced the natural and physical resources of their environments as part of the identity of the city. Both these cities have done this in very contrasting ways.

    Melbourne has created an extensive green corridor along the banks of the iconic Yarra River, providing green public open space within the built environment. On the other hand, Cape Town has embraced Table Mountain not only as the icon of the city, but as an international tourist attraction, and a site for protection of valued natural flora and open space. The Yarrah River and Table Mountain provide these two cities with opportunities of creating unique identities, as well as protection natural resources within the built environment.

    Unsustainable Activity: meat consumption (following on from Georgia's comments)

    Having lived in South Africa and New Zealand, I can agree with Georgia that meat consumption is an international issue. Although I agree that there are options such as vegetarianism, or restrictive consumption which could be adopted to alleviate this problem, the large economic driving force of the hunting and farming industries are more than likely to override the willingness of any group or community to take action towards addressing this issue

  17. Activity: Plastic Bags uses- A Big Problem
    The plastic bags are largely used every day in our lives. It is found that every year 4 million New Zealanders use up to 1 billion plastic bags and that is only the number used for shopping (Golden Bay Plastic Bag-Free, 2010). The largely use of plastic bags is a real issue and it can be regarded as one of the most unsustainable activities taking place in our lives in present.
    Plastics harm the environment in ways that it takes up to a thousand year to break down in the natural environment; it is lethal to birds, whales, seals and other creatures living in marine areas; it can also block drains in our city’s sewage and drain system. Moreover, it would cost thousands of dollars for the government to focusing on the task of cleaning up the bags and litters on the beaches every year. (Golden Bay Plastic Bag-Free, 2010)
    In Auckland, the plastic bags in most shopping malls and supermarkets are free to use, while in other places, such as in most cities in China, the use of the plastic bags would charge customers extra money and this proves one of the most effective ways for reducing the use of plastics and as an approach towards the goal for achieving a sustainable development in China. Further, local government and other associated organization and volunteer groups can also encourage people to take a reusable bag every time when they go shopping and educate them with an emphasis on the effects of plastics to the environment and promote local residents to live a more sustainable life.

    Golden Bay Plastic Bag-Free, (2010) Why are Plastic Bags a problem,, (accessed: 24/07/2011).

    Xinyue Wang ID: 1181130 upi: xwan266

  18. Snowboarding. It probably isn't an activity often directly associated with sustainability..
    But as most of us are now well aware, in basic terms, 'things are heating up'-global warming is upon us. As a boarder myself I know that climate change is happening now (with a late opening snowboard and ski season this year) and it doesn't just mean no snow by 2100!
    It is already perceived that the ski industry is one of the most threatened.. so it is no surprise to hear that NZSki Ltd is currently undertaking the latest 'sustainable' practices available to them.
    My initial related oncern (before heading down to Queenstown 2 weeks ago, when there was little natural snow fall but plenty of man-made snow (being produced by snow makers) at Coronet Peak), was how sustainable are snow makers?
    According to 'SMI Snow Makers', it takes about 285,000 liters of water to create a 6-inch blanket of snow covering a 61x61 metre area. This potentially means a lot of water is used (perhaps even wasted). However last week, being interested in this I discovered that in fact- Coronet peak (using this Ski Resort as an example) has a 'Water Recycling Project', which works by capturing water and snow melt and recycles it into their reservoirs for use by snow makers. It is also the first snow resort to make snow from 95% recycled water. This is great news!
    As something they are currently still investigating though- being efficient energy and fuel practices for snow makers, and because of the current expense of making snow, I doubt whether the benefits of an extended ski season will (now or in the future) out way the negative impacts of fuel and energy consumption used for the snow makers..

    Sophie Elwood- 1281553

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  20. Last year we went on a fieldtrip to the Earthsong Eco-neighbourhood that was built around the idea of sustainability. Tucked away in the western suburb of Ranui, Earthsong was specifically designed to be more energy efficient through site design which orientates dwellings to maximise sunlight absorption and reduce the need for artificial lighting and heating. As an integral part to the in-built passive solar design of this housing development are the solar panels which effectively heats water for each dwelling. Even the construction materials are sustainable as the timber used for the exterior is solid and naturally durable to avoid any toxic glue. The concrete slabs in each dwelling also contribute to the energy efficiency of homes by acting as thermal mass to absorb and store heat from the sun, and then slowly releasing this heat back into the house during the evening when artificial heating is normally needed.
    As an added bonus, this development doesn’t provide allocated parking spaces to each house in order to discourage residents from driving but to adopt alternative and more sustainable forms of transport. Although there is a designated parking area for residents, parking spaces are limited and costs are charged to park there.
    Earthsong is an exemplar for how housing in New Zealand can become more energy efficient and sustainable whether for new housing or retrofits due to its energy efficient and sustainable design. If any of you ever head out that way, I definitely recommend for you to go in for a little wander because it’s eye opener for sure!

    Mary Wong 4920891 (mwon116)

  21. I was in Yosemite National Park in California over the break, and noticed some very unsustainable activity. Coming down the mountain from a day's hiking, we got a view of the road leading out of the 'village' area in the park - it was absolutely packed, worse than some of Auckland's streets at rush hour. I find this to be an unpleasant and unsustainable activity to occur in the middle of a beautiful, natural, national park environment. A solution would involve more extensive public transport routes serving the park or perhaps restricting the numbers of vehicles that can enter the park at any one time.
    Here's a photo as well:

    Sarah Akers 4888609 - sorry about reposting but just trying to figure out how to make a profile!!

  22. The amount of paper used in retail is just massive by any terms. I work part time for a Australiasian electronics retailer; every fortnight, all the stores with in New Zealand (approxmiately 70 stores) would change all the promotional posters within the store.

    Approximately 30 A1s, and several reams of A4s, I know it doesnt sound that much but to carry all that, every 14 days is a whole heap of paper. That is at least 20sqm of paper per store and a whopping 1400sqm for all the stores combined within the period of two weeks! and that is only for price changes and promotional poster usage. The end results of such paper is effectively gone into the general rubbish bins. Whilst the company does have recycling for paper cardboard, it is unknown to me why paper cardboard and paper are not recycled together, apparently our disposal company do not consider paper to be worth recycling.

    I have suggested using double sided form of printing, at least it prolongs the life of the paper and effectively cut 50% of the paper generated and quite possibly lowering the printing costs (as it is all done through a single print). Another alternative option would be to use electronic displays to display such promotions, that we often see in malls nowdays.

    Unfortunately, as with any firms, $$$ is the bottomline, and they see that initial investment of electronic displays as relatively high, the irony of an electronics retailer.

    In regards to S.Elwood's post about the supply of snow, snow seems to be more and more dependant on the snow makers more than the weather, unfortunately the later winter and generally warmer climate is to blame plus keep in mind of what powers those snow makers. This season so far in early July has been relatively thin, hopefully better powder in mid-semester break. ha.

    James Cheng: 4920998

  23. Disposable vs Washable

    In our youth group we enjoy food during our fellowship time every Friday night. Having food requires plates, cups etc. For the past years we have used dishes and cups already in the kitchen and always end up finishing late at night after everything has been washed, dried, and put back in place. Until recently someone suggested to try out having paper plates. We all know that using disposable plates are far more convenient compared to washable dishes. However, it is unsustainable, as there are environmental costs of using disposables. Surely we can continue to enjoy the same activity without wasting our money and our precious natural resources. What is needed is a change of mindset that it is not an issue of time but rather an issue of commitment to be good stewards of the world given to us.

    Abigail Grace Arias

  24. Simon Andrew - 1279947

    As a frequent user of the northern busway on Auckland’s North Shore, it has come to my attention that the park and ride car parks in both Albany and Constellation Drive undeniably lack the capacity to be considered sustainable in the short and long term, especially when the growing popularity of public transportation is taken into consideration. Although each of these car parks has a capacity of approximately 350 vehicles, if one wishes to find an empty parking space they must arrive at the bus terminal before 7:30 in the morning, and even then may find themselves parking half a kilometre or so down the road. While this suggests that more land should be designated to serving the needs of park and ride users, a lack of available land around Constellation Drive puts limits on such solutions. Perhaps a multi-story car park will solve capacity issues and make public transportation more appealing. Better bus services to and from the bus terminals will also help by reducing the need for private vehicle use.

    Maxx Auckland Transport. (2011) Park and Rise Facilities,, (Accessed:25/07/2011.

  25. Golden Gate Traffic

    During a recent trip to San Francisco, I was amazed by the problems that the city had with traffic congestion on the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Driving across this bridge was an extremely slow process. It was utterly overloaded with what seemed to be tourists in their cars. This was also in the middle of winter; an off-peak tourism season in California. The exhaust fumes generated by the multitude of cars did not sit well with the surrounding scenic landscape.

    A potential way to reduce the number of tourist vehicles, could be to provide more tour buses, and possibly give such buses special priority on the bridge, for example, through a designated bus lane. When the bus I was on pulled into the viewing area, it had to wait in a queue for at least 20 minutes behind other cars, when really, there was probably more people on the bus, than in all of those cars combined.

    Simon Christopher Mitchell - 1284770

  26. David Pan 4616910July 25, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    as a regular user of public bus transport, i find it unsustainable that during off peak hours most buses carry only one or two passengers. as i take the b line buses, they come every 15 minutes, the buses are not carrying to capacity therefore wasting petrol, energy. it is convenient for passengers buses come this often but it is not sustainable for the environment. a better option would be to reduce the frequency of buses during off peak hours to ensure more efficient transport.

    David Pan 4616910

  27. Jessica Chen 4915451 said....

    During 2nd year, I went to Omaha to conduct fieldwork for an assignment and I noticed that the beachfront (Omaha Spit) was already developed with large houses orientated towards the beach on streets that ended in cul-de-sacs.

    In my opinion, this is a very unsustainable practice as these houses are only occupied during the summer; essentially it creates a ghost town for the rest of the year. The way these suburbs are formed, it seems as though beach access is privatised. The houses are expensive with some larger houses having 2 storeys, swimming pools or tennis courts. Considering that these are merely holiday homes, it seems absurd that people would need all the comforts of home when the objective is close proximity to the beach.

    Housing developments along the coastline puts pressure on the local infrastructure and create more risk for pollution, erosion/ sedimentation as well as other negative effects. In addition, the development is focused on the Spit and is only accessible from a causeway. This creates more problems for the natural harbour inlet as tidal patterns are altered.

    I think that private development along the coastline should be significantly limited to prevent environmental degradation, infrastructural issues and access issues.

  28. chanel hargrave char215July 25, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    The issue of sustainability that I am going to look at is again in relation to food. In particular I am thinking about the encroachment of residential land into prime horticultural land in Pukekohe. Pukekohe has the most fertile soil in New Zealand and is a bread basket for the Auckland urban area, in particular onion, potatoes and carrots. However residential development especially low density development threatens the future use of this fertile soil. The horticultural area has now been pushed over the Tuakau bridge while this soil remains just as fetile as that on Puke hill and the surrounding area the pocket of soil is limited. I feel that an aspect to the sustainability of Auckland results in the ability to protect our most precious horticultural areas. If we fail to do so then the availability of crops will decrease pushing up prices, increase transportion and use of fuel.
    I have heard talks about a covenant on the land that would limit it to horticultural. I am not sure if it exists but will do further research.

  29. char 215 chanel hargraveJuly 25, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Just in response to Georgia on the meat eater post. I found a few stats on NZ meat consumption. NZ Meat consumption 2001 91.3 Kg per Capita per year.
    Stats NZ New Zealand Meat and Wool Board's Economic Service Annual Review of the Sheep and Beef Industry, 1999-2000
    Or according to the United Nations 142 Kg per capita per Year which according to this survey makes us the highest meat eater per capita in the world.

    I admit I consume a large amount of meat. In a country like NZ we are fortunate enough to a climate suited to ag production. But these stats were kind of shocking.

    I have some questions for Georgia or who ever else would like to answer.
    Is meat production and consumption an issue of sustainability in New Zealand? For example I understand that the water used in beef production is huge but is this an issue in NZ where large anount of our eating meat is produced with limited irrigation in comparison to places like the mid-west USA. For example is it the beef eating that is what is considered unsustainable or is it also sheep/ lamb which are farmed predominantly on highlands?
    Also in A NZ context where agriculture is the backbone of our economy would decreased meat consumption harm our economy and damage the economic sustainability of the nation.

    Just looking at your arguement from a different persepective :-)

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  31. Angela Taganahan 1215556

    I used to work in Mitre10 Mega in the Marketing and Advertising Office (Ticketing Office). We print all the labels and tickets that have the prices and product descriptions. We use different sizes of paper, A1 as the biggest.

    I find this an unsustainable practice because we use so much paper everyday for printing and more so for reprints when the printer stuffs up or there are errors on printed tickets. We waste more paper too whenever there are price changes because we have to replace all the tickets/labels. This is very unsustainable because all the scrap paper isn’t recycled afterwards. I have learned that they used to give the scrap paper to schools but now, all scraps go straight into the bin.

    An alternative is they can use recycled paper instead of using these high-quality ones that get wasted anyway and to encourage recycling instead of throwing them in general rubbish. Also, they can print on the back of old labels/tickets to re-use them. In such a big store, you can imagine how much paper they use because every product has at least one label/ticket. Recycling of paper and plastic are encouraged at home yet big companies fail to follow.

  32. Yasmin Tapiheroe - 1247099
    Public transportation in one of the world's most populated country.

    During my recent trip back to my home country, Indonesia, I always get very surprised and shocked at how crowded and chaotic the major cities are in Indonesia. The lack of effective public participation around the CBD and the lack of land use zoning result in an unsustainable way of living for local residents.

    There is a wide range of public transportation modes available in Indonesian metropolis cities such as the capital, Jakarta, although most are not sustainable. Angkot, an acronym of Angkutan Kota or City Transportation, is a mini van runs on a specific route which can carry up to 12 people (known by personal experience). It is an extremely popular form of public transport due to its very cheap charges, approximately Rp 2000-4000 or 50-80c per trip. The mini van is not owned and operated by the government, however they are operated by individuals therefore resulting in hundreds of Angkots found everywhere around the city, heavily contributing to Jakarta’s traffic congestion. This mode of public transportation is not sustainable as it only carries a small group of people and they do not solve the traffic congestion in Jakarta’s roads.

    Transjakarta is a new form of public transportation that is similar to the Northern Busway found on the North Shore of Auckland City. However, they are not yet as effective as those operated in Curitiba, Brazil. A potential solution to solve the traffic congestion in Jakarta is to expand the use of Trans Jakarta to the wider neighbouring suburbs, rather than just in the CBD. With the current 24 million inhabitants and a projected transportation demand rising to over 50 million trips per day in Jakarta by 2020, a more effective and sustainable mode of public transportation is crucial in order to move to a more sustainable way of living by Indonesians (Sustainable Jakarta Convention, 2011).

    Sustainable Jakarta Convention. (2011). Transportation. Retrieved July 25, 2011, from SJC : Sustainable Jakarta Convention:

  33. Tin Regina Lo 1066001July 25, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    I work in retail and often have to unpack stock. The amount of plastic bags we throw out is ridiculous as each individual piece of clothing is packed separately.
    As Xinyue has pointed out, plastic bags are harmful to the environment and often non-recyclable. Especially when, at the end of the days we just send bags and bags of plastic to the landfill. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and are filling up landfills.

    Alternatives? I understand that to maintain the quality of the clothes, each piece should be packed individually and it is not something the company can control, but maybe the mall should provide a separate bin for plastic so that they could be recycled and reused.
    An article in the herald shows how a company can recycle plastic bags and turn them into reusable products such as road barriers, garden edging and plastic reels.
    It is very easy to reduce waste when we think of reduce, reuse, recycle. This should be thought of at both the manufacturing and the end stages.,

    Tin Regina Lo

  34. For this week’s blog entry I’m going to talk about residential rubbish disposal in Auckland’s CBD. Residents living in apartment buildings in the CBD are required to dispose of their waste into two separate bags: 1 clear bag for recyclable material and 1 floral bag for organic waste. It is to be left on the kerbside Monday-Saturday between 5pm-5.30pm or alternatively from midnight-4am every day. The rubbish is collected 13 times per-week.
    So why do I think this is unsustainable? I know from experience, that firstly the rubbish never tends to be sorted properly. Therefore, a large proportion of waste that should be recycled eventually ends up in landfills. Furthermore, the collection system is unsustainable as the frequency of trips is high and requires the rubbish truck to weave through every street within the CBD encouraging fumes, pollution and disturbance.
    My solution to this system is based on the “envac” system that is being used in high-density residential developments in places such as Sweden. Apartment buildings that do not already should designate communal waste disposal areas or a rubbish shoot that has clear signage about sorting waste. Secondly, the frequency of rubbish truck trips should be reduced to one trip every second or third day This solution is to encourage residents to further sort waste and to reduce trips made by rubbish removal trucks.

    Georgia Sanders

  35. Auckland is a prime example of a city that relies on the automobile; travel via public transport from outer suburbs is often difficult and costly in terms of time and fares. Because our City has been designed with the car in mind as the primary form of transport, it makes sense to use them for our daily transport needs.
    Everyone identifies the car as being an unsustainable form of transport, we manage to make it even less so in the name of convenience.
    However something like 30% of trips made by car in Auckland are under 3km long, this short distance is when car use is at its lowest efficiency, they burn more fuel, release more toxic gases and by-products into the atmosphere. In short the most unsustainable use of an unsustainable practice is that 5 min trip to get milk, the paper or pick up the kids from school. In order to improve this, promotion of walking, cycling or bussing short distances needs to happen.

    Sam Foster
    sfos028 1231978

  36. As a resident of China mainland for 13 years i know what my country was like in terms of pollution and environmental quality, however recently, coincide with China's rise in global status quo are also its effort in creating a more sustainable future for its population. the country has distributed record number of money and human resources to advance the country's sustainable technologies, such as solar panels, wind turbines and hydro electricity. as of right now China is out spending America in terms alternative energy research and production, and as it is a developing country the newer, more sustainable technology would be deployed and utilised more easily when compared to other developed countries where the electricity delivery format is entrenched and difficult to change.


    Alex Han

  37. By the way... is it me or people are really ingnoring the 100 word limit?

    im guilty of this as well...

  38. Another thing about sustainable food, since several post talked about food and their sustainability, my topic would be about Fish, especially the sustainable harvest of fish. because of consumer demand many fishes which we pick up not realising that the fish may be caught in a unsustainable manner. to avoid this, try follow the guideline provided by Forest & Bird's Best Fish Guide and try to eat sustainable!

    Sorry for the typo

    Alex Han

  39. I personally think some retailers and the activities that occur within those retailers are unsustainable. For example, at my work, we use two rubbish bags for every bag of rubbish. The outer bag is an Auckland pre-paid bags and because this bag is too small to fit in our standard rubbish bins so we use a white plastic bag inside the pre-paid one. I find it absolutely unnecessary to use two bags per every bag of rubbish. Even though this might be increasing cost and most importantly harming the planet, because it is not directly affecting them, it is not a high priority for them. Apart from the unsustainable use of two bags for every bag of rubbish, we do not separate the waste at all. Everything is put into one rubbish bag. I have made suggestions such as separating waste into general waste, paper and recycling bottles and cans. However, the implementation of such methods is very unlikely as this requires the company to increase expenses and therefore it is not something that many companies would find necessary.
    Rachelle Hui 4940825

  40. The use of cars for short trips is probably one of the most unsustainable acts I’ve witnessed in Onehunga. I regularly see local people at local establishments like gyms, takeaways and the shops, who could have easily walked there, even if the weather is miserable. Some live only 500 metres away from their destination but still seem to resort to starting their engines for a short trip, instead of walking or cycling.

    Sorting this issue, in my opinion, seems to be about awareness of the various benefits and risks associated with these short trips. Environmental benefits and risks are obvious, but I recent times there have been a few incidences where people on short trips, as little as 500m away, have been involved with accidents with pedestrians. Although this may be ‘just up to chance’ it is something that could be easily avoided if cars are left at home for short trips.

    Parekh (UPI: jpar378)

  41. I haven't done much travelling in recent years so I can't comment on overseas experiences. However working at a supermarket checkout department has been eye opening. The number of bags we go through each day is boggling, and it's a very small supermarket compared to others in the region. We used to have paper recycling boxes but these were removed for some unknown reason. Our 'sustainability manager' tried to encourage people to turn off lights etc. but no one really listened. It's not just political and corporate unwillingness, it's general public apathy that is letting down our progress.

    There is also a huge amount of waste each day. We have posters of the sort James refers to from the electronics store, but we also have general waste and food scraps filling skips in two or three days. Selling chicken and salmon frames and other parts have been a good way to reduce this amount but these aren't particularly popular despite their uses for soups and stock. About the only materials that are recycled are cardboard boxes and plastic wrapping from the boxes that the products are delivered in. Oh and we have started reusing our promotional posters lately by crossing out the details like the valid dates etc. Yay.

    Anthony Blomfield

  42. There is a 100 word limit you know...

  43. Georgia StillwellJuly 27, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Georgia Stillwell 4910474

    In response to your comments about my first post Chanel, yes beef farming in New Zealand is unsustainable, the practices in particular. It's no secret that farming often involves uses of fertilizer which when over done (most of the time) effects water ways and more. Draining of wetlands for more land, over stocking, effluent discharge and pumping the water out of rivers, streams and aquifers at unsustainable levels are just some of the practices that could be 'cleaned up' and made more sustainable.

  44. Working as a labourer on a renovation project last year, I noticed the extreme amount of unnecessary waste we produced. At one point we were filling three big red bins a day full of waste. I am sure that a significant proportion of that could have been reused in some way, shape or form. Much of this waste came from our site manager changing his mind, which saw the disposal of huge amounts of “new” materials.

    I understand this is quite a large problem that is present on many building sites throughout Auckland. But if we can just stand back and plan before we make any decisions, this should save unnecessary mistakes and save materials and money. Essentially, it’s the old saying of “measuring a hundred times and cutting once”, instead of the alternative.

    Benjamin Christian-Webb - 1296747

  45. The most sustainable place I have visited is the co-housing development in Watakere City, called Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood. Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood is the first cohousing neighbourhood based on permaculture principles and eco-design in New Zealand, it aims to serve as a model of a socially and environmentally sustainable community, which contribute to both social cohesion as well as low impact development. Low energy consumption is one of the crucial elements of this neighbourhood that lead to the overall vision of developing and fostering a living environment which uses less energy on heating, lighting and watering. This is because the physical design of the dwellings are able to absorb heat during the days and release at nights, large proportion of the dwellings are constructed with glass material to maximise natural sunlight. Furthermore, rainwater is collected for plant watering and toilet flushing purposes. This neighbourhood also acknowledged by the Waitakere City Council, as a role model to guide future residential development.

    Qiaofeng Hu

  46. Emily Morgan: 4925393

    Last year I visited Fiji and stayed on Mana Island. The environmental 'footprint' of international travel is significant but until recently I had never considered how the islands in Fiji generate power to run the tourist resorts. The majority of power in Fiji, and almost all power on the smaller islands comes from diesel generators. There isn't much information around about this but their diesel usage must be significant, on one island you can have over 60 rooms each with their own air conditioning unit, not to mention all the other power uses. In Fiji there are few alternatives to using fuel run power generators because of the small size of power grids and the lack of funding and resources to invest in sustainable power generation, and with rising fuel prices the countries reliance on fuel could become precarious not only because of its environmental impacts.

  47. Having just returned from Bali something that is really clearly different between Bali (specifically the area of Kuta) and Auckland is transport.
    There were a number of forms of transport in Bali including cars, motorbikes/scooters, horses and walking. The scooters and walking in particular could be viewed as more sustainable practices however these examples are not purposeful attempts to increase sustainability – they are merely by-products of a city which is dealing with huge numbers of tourists, a significant amount of congestion and not enough infrastructure.
    Furthermore, at no point on my trip did I see any example of public transport. The Bali Tourism Board notes that there are both buses and bemos (mini vans which follow a route set by the Government ( however I never noticed any examples of either of these.
    The issue of transport is something that I think Bali will have increasing struggles with over the coming years however at the moment Bali certainly is an example of the economy and GDP being put ahead of other aspects of sustainability.
    Melissa Spearman – mspe052

  48. In response to Jethro's comment - Yes I absolutely agree that National Parks should be free and unrestricted, but when tourism gets to the point where it is impacting on the environmental quality of the park (i.e what makes them actually worth going to and worth preserving), then something needs to be done about how we use these areas. Maybe restricting the numbers of people/vehicles who can enter the park each day isn't the best way to do this, but it would certainly have the intended affect on the environment. As a side note, there already are a kind of 'entry fee' to National Parks, both in Canada and the US in the form of a permit that each vehicle entering must purchase, so we are lucky in NZ not to have to pay to experience our natural environment. And yes, the 'centres' of the parks in the US are like mini cities, with hotels, shops, restaurants etc, again completely different from our usually deserted and undeveloped parks in NZ - which is probably a more sustainable means of preserving the environment.

  49. Li Zhang 1203897

    Garbage classification in China

    I think one of the most unsustainable waste in China is that majority of Chinese people do not classify their garbage. There is not any reasonable and executable policy or ways that can ensure the classification and recycling of garbage. And also no specific department takes responsibility of classifying garbage. In my opinion, it is because the residents do not realise the importance of recycling and reusing. Actually, both the government and residents start to think about garbage classification, non-recycle and recycle rubbish bin could be seen in public; volunteers take part in disseminating the significance of garbage classification; students are taught in the school, and everyone are involved. I believe it is a start, and it is going to be better.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. I agree with you Penny. Shops should charge for plastic bags. I try to not use them when I go shopping and just bring my own eco shopping bag.

    I went opshopping with my sister today and when we paid for our items, we asked the person to not put our stuff in a plastic bag as we brought our own eco bag but she refused saying it was "store policy". I didn't know such policy existed since we have shopped there before and have never used their plastic bags. I found this unacceptable because it's encouraging an unsustainable practice.

  52. Xiaoyu Shi 4301687

    Waste and unsustainable aspects in supermarkets

    I was working at Sunnynook Foodtown when it still exists. Firstly, I notice that quite a few of us recognised the unsustainable use of plastic packing in supermarket. Indeed, when I was working at the produce department, not only the checkout gave out a lot of plastic bags, but also us, because most of the reduced to clear vegetables and fruits need to be plastic bag/box packed and labeled. Secondly, the waste of fruit and vegetable products is shockingly large; regulation from supermarket forces us to dump anything without good appearance after selling them for one day, which this is indeed ridicules.
    The alternatives I can think about are: firstly, put reduced products on the shelf with buckets rather than packing 3 or 4 into a plastic bag may significantly reduce the use of plastic products; and secondly, products without good appearance but good quality can be reduced to clear rather than to be dumped, hence the sustainability can be enhanced.


  53. Over lumbering in China

    Sadly, New Zealand and China were the only places I have ever strayed. The facts and the outcomes of over lumbering in China is talking my highly attentions. Lumbering is a very unsustainable behavior. However, due to the raw and processed material needs, lumbering becomes unavoidable. Especially, China seen as the global manufacturing, the needs of lumbering is extremely high.

    The negative outcomes of lumbering are significant. From short term, it is causing high levels of noise, and increasing the impurity of air. From long term point of view, the effects are truculency, which includes accelerating global warming, decreasing air quality, and destroying ecosystem and vegetation.

    Ways to mitigate the issue of over lumbering are variance. Efficiently using the timber would be the key way. More importantly is to mitigate the vegetation and protect the essential ecosystem.


  54. Private vehicle issues

    I have been lived in Auckland almost three years. The most unsustainable issue I found is the private vehicle. In Auckland, there are huge amount of private vehicle. As statistic shows, each family in Auckland may have two or more cars as their major transportation.

    Therefore, the traffic congestion happens all the time, especially when cars go through the North Shore Harbour Bridge during the peak time. In addition, the emotion of anxiety and uncomfortable will occur within the congestion which effect on the public health. Moreover, the exhausting emissions form the car will impact our environment that causes the climate change and other environmental issues.

    I suggest the government should promote people to use the public transportation the instead the private vehicle, and encourage people to share a cars by a trip. Then limiting the number of the private car for each family and integrating the public transport for residents to use easier and will improve our environment and get Auckland more sustainable.

    Ye Kang- 1413915

  55. When I first started Uni in 2008, the free bus service used those red hybrid buses. While I personally never caught the free bus up to uni, I always thought it was a pretty sustainable means of public transport. In fact, from what I heard, the only complaint about these buses was the accumulation of homeless people it would inevitably collect along it's route.

    However, in the past 2 years I've noticed that these hybrid buses are no longer being used, instead they have been replaced by, what look to be, poorly maintained Metrolink buses that seem to struggle up the various inclines, sputterly thick black exhaust fumes along the way. These buses show up at Britomart station once every couple of minutes throughout the majority of the day.

    Furthermore, I don't know if anyone has picked up on this, but the exhaust pipes on these older buses seem to be placed in a way that pumps fumes directly into the pedestrians' faces every time the bus driver puts his foot on the accelerator. I wouldn't classify myself as an expert but I'm pretty sure there's some kind of long term medical effect related to that.

    Tommy Ma
    yma066 - 4892202

  56. Binzhou is a prefecture-level city in northern Shandong Province of China. 20 years ago, this place is nothing but a large alkaline land. 20 years later, it became a significant and beautiful city. On this semester break, I went back to China to visit a relative, who happened to be the Mayor of this city. He showed me around the city and told me the planning history of it. During the last couple of decades, the government took actions such as pushing forward the work of planting trees and grass, reclaiming land from the sea, treating soil erosion and establishing ecological agriculture, to transform the city a more liverable and sustainable place.

    Among all of these, the most significant project of the city is that,the government built about 17 man-made lakes within the new city zone and a round-the- city river system(Binzhou is located at the downstream of the Yellow River and has large amount of underground water). Combined with the past evidence of zero flow of Huang River and its very salty soil condition and my observation, I think that this project is not only promote the amenity of the city, but also increase the flood protection capacity of it and improve the quality of the on and underground water. This city is still on developing now, and presumably there will be more people coming to this new area in the future. This river project will effectively alleviate the potential water stress to provide enough water resource for the new and existing residents. All of these large projects are undertaken on the alkaline land therefore there is no such problem as occupying the cultivated land.

    Binzhou on wikipedia :

    Yiwei (Lydia) Zou 1005356

  57. Last year I was in Innsbruck in Austria where I noticed that all biodegradable waste was collected separately to general waste and recycling. The biodegradable waste was collected in a similar method that recycle across Auckland is collected. I am unsure how the biodegradable waste was processed and where it ends up but I imagine it was composted or something similar.

    In New Zealand the bulk of domestic biodegradable waste is landfilled or is alternatively diverted to sewage treatment facilities through kitchen waste disposal systems. Both landfilling and the treatment of sewage are expensive and have negative impacts on the environment; in particular the emission of greenhouse gases. The separate collection and appropriate treatment of biodegradable waste could be seen as a mitigation measure in tackling the effects of global warming.

    I wonder if the cost of the separate
    collection of biodegradable waste and processing is significantly more expensive than the status quo across Auckland, after taking into account both the short and long term costs (economic, social, cultural and environmental) that are associated?

    Rose Bayes-Powell ID#4984035

  58. After reading through everyone’s posts, I feel obliged to add some more retail hate. I work in a shop where the methods of disposing damaged/returned stock are unsustainable. When goods are returned as faulty, the company’s policy is to completely destroy the products, which are then thrown in the bin. While I enjoy being delegated this task, I can’t help but feel guilty when it is obvious that some of these products are in such a condition that they could be resold cheaply or simply donated. The company feels that the policy is justified as it reduces potential refund fraud (people buying cheap, damaged goods and then trying to return them for full price). The environmental impact of the manufacture of these goods is even more wasted when the goods go straight to landfill.

    Karl Anderson
    kand095 - 4889652

  59. In regards to the plastic bag issue a few people have mentioned, I remember last time I visited Taiwan, many stores did not provide plastic bags for free. However, most people living there know they can't always get a plastic bag for free and usually keep a large, folded up plastic bag in their handbag. Putting a price on plastic bags is definitely an effective way to reduce this waste.

  60. The unsustainable activity that I will discuss exists within the Auckland area and is about Aucklander’s heavy reliance on cars. This is largely due to the lack of public transport within the city, causing individuals within Auckland to rely on their private vehicles as their main forms of transportation. It is these cars that are constantly releasing toxins into the environment, causing degradation and difficulties for NZ as a country to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, which is a legally binding agreement that promotes sustainability. Within Auckland other sustainable forms of transportation such as cycling and walking are poorly promoted. It is these forms of transport that will ultimately reduce the amount of carbon emissions being released into the environment, allowing Auckland to become more sustainable. A solution to the current heavy reliance on cars is to invest more in the public transport sector, to provide awareness and educate communities on the benefits of cycling and walking.

    Shilpa Maharaj #1271697

  61. Shanghai is my hometown. For the people of Shanghai, the “Night in Shanghai” has become one of the city’s visual identities. When night falls, neon lights on the downtown streets, all kinds of lights outline the buildings, bridges and other significant landmarks attract many visitors from all over the world. However, recently people began to question the huge power consumption of the landscape lighting especially due to power shortage in summer. How to save the energy while promoting the great view of this international metropolis becomes a big issue.
    The sustainable activity I am talking about here is that a new environmental landscape lighting which depends on solar energy has been introduced to the downtown area in Shanghai. It is reported that 1 month for each lamp can save 90 kWh. Clean pollution-free solar energy source can also be stored in the system. Even in rainy days it is able to supply landscape lighting. Despite the cost of installing expensive solar cells, the long-terms use of solar cells with considerable energy saving effect will recover the cost. It is sustainable to promote a city’s economic, social and culture wellbeing in a way that less energy is consumed.

    Yuqing Zhou
    yzho146 1560341

  62. In the interests of keeping the issue of an unsustainable activity close to home, an unsustainable activity is my evening beach run with some local friends. By definition this activity is not deemed to be unsustainable in itself, but it is the transport to get to the activity which is unsustainable.

    It has already been commented that vehicle trips, especially short trips for an assortment of reasons are unsustainable. I live less than ten minutes’ walk from the beach, yet constantly drive to undertake a more visually and socially-appealing run. It all seems a little outlandish on personal analysis, especially in light of many of the sustainability aspirations we undertake within planning studies.

    An alternative is to modify this pursuit to ensure it is more sustainable, or is able to be continued with minimal long-term effects on the natural environment. The primary example of this being starting the run from home, or car-pooling with friends, but a critical issue personally is convenience vs. ultimately more-sustainable practices.

    Kelly Parekowhai

  63. When I think of unsustainable practice in my community, I immediately think of the way in which it has grown over the past 15 years.

    An example of this growth is Dannemora- a suburb that is grosely monotonous and is built around the ideology of private transport being the best mode of transport. As future planners we must look at this sort of development and think yeah ok its catering to the rapid population growth BUT how effective is it in terms of planning for the future? We should be creating more developments such as Flatbush, and adopting Low Impact Urban Design principles but also creating roads and public transport networks so that people can reduce the amount they HAVE to use their car and make bussing a feasible option.

    Claire MacDowel

  64. In my opinion, an example of unsustainability that occurs around the area in which I live is the development of cul-de-sacs or dead end streets. My family has moved twice in this suburb and both houses, including the one we currently live in, are located in cul-de-sacs. While this sort of arrangement offers quiet, safe streets that keep traffic out, they can become frustrating and pointless, and also make a street boring and lacking in vibrancy. For the street I live in, the end meets with the end of another shorter cul-de-sac that leads strait to an important main route through this area. For any person living on this street, it is a major hassle, a waste of time and fuel, and unsustainable to have to drive out of the street, pass through an inner route, onto a main road and then turn onto the road to access that main route. The same goes for the people living in the other cul-de-sac that our street backs up on to. To access the main roads on this side of the area, they have to travel all around and make a long trip.

    Another issue that these cul-de-sacs, which seem to be a pattern in this area, create, is because cars cannot pass through them, they have walkways at the ends which are unseen by the public and not always safe. There is also a small open space reserve at the end of our street that is invisible to the public eye because it is hidden and no cars pass by or stop it, due to the dead end. These amenities are therefore wasted and unused. A solution here would be to connect the two cul-de-sac ends backing onto each other, to make it one inner street, creating a win-win situation for motorists and pedestrians, as well as the neighboring residents.

    Deanne D'souza
    ID: 1072559

  65. I’ve been working in a coffee shop for two years. Basically, we sell about 500 cups of coffee a day, and 90% of them are for takeaway, namely in disposable cups.

    Most of the disposable cups are manufactured from bleach paperboard rather than recycled paper. The process of manufacturing these virgin paperboards requires a lot of trees and a large amount of water and energy. Besides, a report about the coffee cups from the Starbucks coffee company indicates that there will be about 11 kilograms CO2 emission made from disposing 16 ounce paper coffee cup. The report also shows that about 2.3 billion cups were used by Starbucks in 2006.

    In order to decrease the waste and protect natural habitats and resources, a few of coffee shops start to encourage their customers to use their own mugs or tumblers. In New Zealand Starbucks, customers can get 40 cents discount with using their own reusable cups. From Starbucks Corporate Social Responsibility Report of 2006, it shows that around 674,000 pounds of waster were kept out of landfills.


    Yi(Shirley) Pang

  66. My sustainable place is a bit less worldly than many of those posted. A few years back I went down to Wellington to visit some friends and I believe that their apartment was an example of a sustainable place. Originally, the building had been an office block, however it had been retrofitted to create student accommodation. This practice is much more sustainable than what we see today where if you want something you generally go out and get a new one. By retrofitting this building, the developers saved 15 floors of office building from landfill and also preserved the raw materials to build a building in its place.

    Being students, my friends weren't the most affluent of people and as such much of their furniture had been bought off trademe. This recycling again saved this stuff from landfill and removed the need for fresh resources to be used to create new ones. Finally, unable to afford shelves, old beer crates and cans had been used to make their own. The student way of life and the recycling and ingenuity it precipitates to me represents a more sustainable way of life than the mainstream.

    Sid Scull

  67. A good example of a sustainable activity occurs at my High School in Hamilton. My mum is a teacher there, and one year she made her Environmental Studies class construct a worm farm, which is kept on-site at the school. Now instead of food scraps going into the normal bins, and then subsequently on into landfills, there are separate buckets next to the bins for food scraps. These are then collected and fed to the worms. Also, the resulting vermicast produced by the worms is used on the gardens around the school. So this practice not only stops unnecessary rubbish from going to the landfill, but also fertilizes and nourishes the plant life at the school as well.

    Elsa Weir
    ID: 1300996