Ganesh fished from the Avon: Eco showcase 2018

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01 Jun 2018

Watch Timea Kovas: what we found in the Avon

Politics, poetry and provocation are among the themes of the 16 projects, which have emerged mostly from final year Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education action projects.

Astounding rubbish in the Avon

Timea Kovacs has followed a different approach and signed up local tourism company Christchurch Sea Kayaking (CSK) to Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA)’s new sustainability commitment.

“The company takes tourists out on the Avon and the owner of the company, ‘KT’, also informs tourists about her passion, which is looking after the environment. Tourists see her collecting any rubbish that she comes across in the river and they naturally join in.

“This is what the Earth needs - a change in behaviour. Picking up rubbish should be an everyday activity in all people’s life on the Earth and we need more businesses, especially tour operators, to showcase this behaviour change.”

What's in the Avon? some surprising objects, says Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education student Timea Kovacs.

Accompanying KT on the city’s river, Timea saw first-hand a startling range of rubbish that KT and her tourists take away in her kayaks. “There are quite a lot of things in there! A rubber duck! Quite a big one. A camping chair, a jacket, balloons, a large teddy bear, drinking cans, a statue of Ganesh - who is, ironically, the God of removing obstacles…”

KT collected around 11kg of hard plastic junk and some 24kg of non-plastic junk, including 33 glass bottles, during her first season.

“KT is a true heroine of the Avon,” Timea says.

Tour operators must lead change

Launched just last November, the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment aims to sign up every New Zealand tourism business to commit to sustainability by 2025. Sustainability includes environmental, economic, visitor and host community commitments. CSK initially committed to environmental goal 11 - Ecological Restoration: Businesses contribute to ecological restoration initiatives.

KT, a graduate of the Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education, shares Timea’s passion for looking after the planet, starting locally.

Timea will write a case study about CSK’s sustainability journey to encourage other tour operators in the country to sign up too. She is particularly excited about the opportunity for tourists to be better educated and contribute positively to the country.

The last straw

Eco showcase projects also advocate for Christchurch hospitality outlets to adopt an “ask-only” policy to plastic straws to help reduce plastic waste (8 million tonnes a year) in the oceans; for people to bring a can of food for the City Mission to raise awareness of climate change related homelessness; and for a community action Port Hills clean up.

The event is open to the entire institute and features a range of approaches to sustainability education and action, locally and globally - everything from ethical fashion hats and recycled camping stoves to awareness of the new TPPA and a “clean and kind” week-long student-friendly menu. Generation Zero also takes a stand.

Break the (bloody) taboo

The My Cup project encourages women to talk about menstruation and consider using menstrual cups, which cut the cost of feminine hygiene products and are better for the environment.

The Eco showcase is on 5 June, 11am – 1pm at the Rakaia Centre, City Campus Christchurch.