Duck Day resilience
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