Category Archives: Latest News

Act Locally, Share Globally

I am a natural skeptic about new technology. I am not an “early adopter.” I am more Amish in my approach – carefully weighing the costs and benefits before choosing what is appropriate. The technologies we’ve chosen to embrace for this project have well-documented results for return-on-investment in terms of energy savings. Examples are insulation and solar hot water.
Education also embraces certain technologies. And naturally, I am skeptical about those as well. It took me years to appreciate the power of blogs and podcasts. But now I am sold on their educational value. One of my favorite podcasts is called Two Beers with Steve.
I have done a number of interviews with him in the past, but this one is designed to coincide with my do-dig garden series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
While I remain skeptical about much of the use of the internet, I think it has been a great help to us sharing the success of this project with a world wide audience. Our goal is to demonstrate that being green is not expensive. On the contrary, not being green is expensive! We enjoy a high quality of life with very low energy and food bills, and we are actively involved in making our local community more sustainable. Some of our experiences may be considered useful by someone on the other side of the planet. The web allows us to share our story with them with a very low carbon footprint.
So as the environmental movement evolves, I propose the next stage of evolution involves acting locally and sharing globally. Governments and corporations won’t do it for us. We need to help one another learn how to be green and save some green.

Peace, Estwing

Success Breeds Success

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
-Margaret Mead

Google Analytics tells us that our readership has been increasing about 30% every month for the last 4 months. Beyond that, we’ve had great feedback from the school programmes we’ve developed and the YMCA Connecting Families Day resource recovery project. It appears that our network is now building through the blogroll on, and BioPak Australia’s newsletter and Facebook page. And finally, we are in the process of applying for funding to replicate the huge success at the YMCA event at other community events in Wanganui.

Latest view of our developing permaculture paradise.

It is not easy being green, but sometimes it feels awfully good.

Peace, Estwing

Add it up.

After excellent feedback on our first schools programme, The Science of Sustainability, we have developed a new programme we’re calling Eco-Maths. This will be delivered to primary and intermediate teachers in the form of a professional development session in about a month. Here is a preview:

Hey teachers…

Want to include sustainability in your lessons but don’t know how?

Want to engage students in real life application of maths?

This is your chance. This training session uses eco-design and home renovation to teach mathematical concepts through saving energy and money.

Topics covered:

Area, Volume, Ratios, Percents, Units, Graphing, Rates, and More.

Date and Time: TBA

Location: TBA

Peace and Pythagorus, Estwing

CONTEST: Eco-Thrifty Holiday Cards

Here at the The E.C.O. School, we are all about sharing eco-thrifty solutions with you. So here’s one that we’ve been using for the past few years, e-cards. There’s nothing more eco-and thrifty than doing away with the waste and cost of sending out paper holiday cards. Plus, if you’re anything like us and don’t quite have your paper cards done yet, e-cards are a great way to cover up your procrastination. “No, I’m not behind any deadlines, I’ve just timed it perfectly to send an e-card this year”. So have we my friends, so have we.

So, in the spirit giving this holiday season, we are offering one loyal reader a custom designed e-card. It can be a holiday card, birth announcement, invitation, or other card of your choice.

Here are some examples of e-cards I’ve designed for us, and some that I designed for Jen Lebo Photography:

If you win this contest you will be able to send me some ideas about what you like and I will design a custom design just for you. You’ll send me any photos you’d like to use and will receive a pdf file of the finished design that can be attached to an email easily (or even sent off to a printer if you so choose – we won’t judge).

There are several ways to enter this contest:

  1. Become a follower of this blog, and comment below that you are following.

  1. Share a link to this blog on facebook or twitter and comment below that you’ve done so.

  1. Share a link to this blog on your blog, either in a post or on a sidebar, and then comment below.

Winner will be chosen at 11:59PM EST on December 9th. Good Luck!

-June Cleverer

WINNER: The winner of this contest was Liz! Sorry that I forgot to publicly announce the winner.

David Byrne: Time traveller and Biographer?

You may ask yourself: well… how did I get here?

Some times, when I sit back and take stock, I just have to wonder. How did we end up in this hundred year old villa, in a decile-one neighborhood, on the shores of a tiny island in the pacific? Is this my beautiful house? Is this my beautiful wife… err, husband? And where is that large automobile anyway?

A bus pass and folding bike will have to suffice for now.

Here we are at the start of another huge leap of faith. Having just married, we grew out of the shotgun shack-truck and have found ourselves a bit further down the west coast of lovely Aotearoa. Whanganui will be our home for the near future as we embark on a project in building community, building awareness, and re-building a house.

This project is about the process as much as it is about the final product. While we aim to end up with a beautiful, warm home that has benefited from an eco-thrifty renovation, we also aim to explore the junction of where our ideas of eco and thrifty meet the council’s ideas on safety codes and inspections. We aim to learn heaps, and pass that knowledge onto others as we dispel the myths of consumption-based green marketing campaigns and prove that you don’t need to be rich to be green. Eco-thrifty is indeed a possibility.

Once in a lifetime…
Letting the days go by…

-June Cleverer