To facilitate the behavioural change needed for waste to be valued as a resource, it is essential to provide on-going zero waste education that empowers the community to take action, personally and collectively.
Zero waste education is currently offered to the community by the DCC through the Education for Sustainability programmes (Enviroschools and the Sustainable Living Programme). These programmes educate and inform participants about a broad range of sustainable behaviours over and above waste minimisation action.
The DCC is currently resourcing Education for Sustainability Programmes through its Solid Waste department using its budget and waste levy funding.
The Regional Enviroschools Co-ordinator, employed by the DCC, oversees the programme’s delivery in 55 schools in the Otago region (Dunedin, Central Otago, Clutha and the Queenstown Lakes), 33 of which are in the DCC’s jurisdiction. This is an unusual situation as, in other regions, resourcing for the regional co-ordination of the Enviroschools programme is supported by a regional or unitary council.
Enviroschools’ five guiding principles are:
- Empowering students
- Sustainable communities
- Learning for sustainability
- Māori perspectives
- Respect for diversity of peoples and cultures
On average, between 75–100 people participate in Sustainable Living courses each year. Each course runs for eight weeks and covers topics such as:
- Introduction to sustainability
- Energy conservation and efficiency
- Waste minimisation
- Shopping choices
- Sustainable backyards – food production and biodiversity
- Water protection for future generations
- Transport options
- Treading lightly on the planet: community focus and action
Education for Sustainability programmes would benefit from a more holistic DCC approach and Otago Regional Council engagement.
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