Duck Day re­silience

CHB Mail - - News -

Waipawa Duck Day can be de­scribed in many ways.

It is a day for a fun com­pe­ti­tion float­ing ducks down the river. It is also a day for gar­den­ers and crafts­peo­ple to show off their skills and make some money. It is a day to raise funds for a wor­thy cause and a day to at­tract peo­ple to Waipawa and cel­e­brate its strong sense of com­mu­nity and di­ver­sity. This year it was also a day to duck for cover from rain be­tween oc­ca­sional flashes of sun­shine.

Four “bag ladies” from U3A,with the help of Neen from Sus­tain­able Ewe, braved wind and rain on Duck Day to set up a stall with dozens of cloth bags to be used in­stead of plas­tic. Th­ese bags had been sewn by lo­cal ladies who do­nated them to be given out in re­turn for koha, pro­ceeds go­ing to a char­ity of choice, namely Ron­ald McDon­ald house. It is, af­ter all, fu­ture gen­er­a­tions who must be con­sid­ered in our ef­forts to re­duce waste. Also on the stall was a an as­sort­ment of beau­ti­fully la­belled cot­ton wax wraps made by one of our mem­bers, a raf­fle which in­cluded prod­ucts kindly do­nated by Mill­stream Gar­dens and some buck­ets with in­struc­tions on how to make a worm farm. Koha earn­ings amounted to $155-70.

It was no­tice­able that there were a lot of old ducks wad­dling through the town but also brav­ing the el­e­ments be­hind stall tables. Don­ning woolly hats and scarves and un­con­cerned about their ap­pear­ance, they hap­pily wrapped them­selves in rugs and re­sisted the cold with ther­moses of hot drinks. Quick to line up for yet an­other plant for the gar­den, they were sur­prised and pleased to swap a plas­tic bag for a re­us­able cloth bag. Th­ese old ducks have the ad­van­tage of hav­ing known life be­fore plas­tic, be­fore cheap, syn­thetic cloth­ing and take­away plas­tic cof­fee cups so they do not find it so dif­fi­cult to imag­ine sur­vival with­out plas­tic bags.

It was no­tice­able how many duck­lings were us­ing wax wraps for their sand­wiches. They made them at school or at the li­brary school hol­i­day work­shops. They were clued up about the need to re­duce plas­tic bags with fabric bags. Some had made them them­selves or their fam­i­lies had al­ready made the tran­si­tion to re­us­able bags. The lo­cal teach­ers, the Sus­tain­able Ewe crew, the Boomerang Bag bri­gade of vol­un­teers, the li­brary staff, par­ents and other will­ing hands must be con­grat­u­lated for be­ing proac­tive in ed­u­cat­ing the chil­dren in our com­mu­nity about the need for car­ing about the planet and its in­hab­i­tants and mo­ti­vat­ing them to take ac­tion.

A num­ber of ducks were not will­ing to swap a plas­tic bag for a free fabric bag. All of us have some re­sis­tance to change of one kind or an­other but we need to recog­nise that the health and well­be­ing of our chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and fu­ture fam­i­lies de­pends on all of us mak­ing changes, some of them un­com­fort­able. It is not a case of be­ing old fash­ioned or go­ing back to the past.

It is a mat­ter of look­ing to the fu­ture and learn­ing from our an­ces­tors what en­abled them to be re­silient. If we want ev­ery­one to have a fair share we need to con­sider what we con­sume, what we waste, what we can do with­out, what we can use in a new way and what we can give away to oth­ers. A sus­tain­able life style for ev­ery­one will make our com­mu­nity re­silient.

It was ex­cit­ing to hear that the ‘shop’ at the Waipuku­rau land­fill is to be re­in­stated. That is a fine ex­am­ple of recognising that what is one per­son’s trash is an­other per­son’s trea­sure, not a wasted re­source go­ing to the land­fill but an op­por­tu­nity to re­duce waste. A cheap bar­gain, no pack­ag­ing, meet­ing a spe­cific need or fu­elling a cre­ative en­deav­our – “That’s my kind of Christ­mas !” CHB has the chance to trans­form its im­age to that of a pro­gres­sive, sus­tain­able com­mu­nity if we are all will­ing to take some ac­tion to­wards achiev­ing that. Let’s do it!

Liz Bayliss U3A Sus­tain­abil­ity group

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