Element magazine Sustainability Champion Award
Winner: Dorothy Wilson – a lifetime legacy of sustainability
Dorothy Wilson served two terms as deputy mayor of Waitakere City Council, “I was lucky to work with a number of politicians and staff who has an international vision and brought bigger global concepts to the west, and then I was lucky enough to visit some of those places.
Even out of council she has continued to advocate for sustainability, such as Auckland Council’s ‘Zero Waste by 2040’ target which encourages Aucklanders to see waste as being not at the end of its life but as a resource to be recovered, reused and recycled.
She has proven adept in marching environmental and community initiatives.
Her work will result in more cyclists riding the streets and cycle ways of West Auckland, householders sending less waste to landfill, cleaner streams and young people striving for more sustainable lives.
She has also been instrumental in helping central and local government to be more open to a Maori world view, resulting in richer plans and projects for all communities.
Sir Bob Harvey has described her as a pocket-dynamo, whose record in creating long-lasting change for sustainability is hard to match.
Wilson says more people are coming to accept climate change as the pressing issues of the times, and that urgency is starting to get noticed by local government and could even reach central government eventually.
“It can be incredibly depressing to see what is happening here and overseas, and all I can do to keep my spirits up is try to do what I can and encourage other people to do that,” she says.