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Thinking globally, acting locally

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In a short time, with no capital and no funding, the tiny organisation called Sustainable Queenstown activated a range of proactive responses to environmental challenges within Queenstown Lakes,.   Read below to see the initiatives within the Queenstown community that are making a meaningful difference on the ground.

Like many good stories, it all started at the pub.    A group of friends had been meeting weekly to korero (talk) about sustainable issues and solutions.  Over time, this grew into a grassroots community group working group, who were progressing projects at a rapid pace.    

“Its all about using your sphere of influence for positive change,” says Esther Whitehead, Sustainable Queenstown co-founder.  “We were determined to embed some solutions into the community.  We wanted to make it real by creating impact initiatives and measuring the benefits.” 

Sustainable Queenstown placed a large emphasis on co-creating solutions with local people, local businesses and local not-for-profits.  This became a pivotal force in the establishment of several impact initiatives:

  1. Sustainable Queenstown – Acting locally 

Food Redistribution – Sustainable Queenstown partnered with KiwiHarvest to bring New Zealand’s national fresh food rescue to Queenstown.  Together they established a model which collects quality surplus food from supermarkets and re-distributes fresh food to charities.    This reduces landfill by 52 tonnes per annum.

DISHRUPT – A simple way to reduce landfill, through the provision of reusable dishes and cups at events.  Dishrupt™ can help divert up to 90% of event waste from landfill. 

  1. Sustainable Queenston – Thinking globally 

The need for Sustainable Queenstown is clear.   Our planet is in climate crisis (UN IPPC Report 2018) and 75% of the local community are concerned about the impact of our current way of living (QLDC Quality of Life Report 2018).   Because so many factors influence sustainability,  Sustainable Queenstown drew inspiration (and alignment) to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.  These goals involve 193 Member States, setting in motion global aims for national and local solutions for global challenges.    Sustainable Queenstown selected a few goals, from the list of 17, which guide the work and project prioritisation of the Charitable Trust.  

  1. Enabling processes for change – through facilitated action, advocacy and advice, working in partnerships and through our connections

Up to 15 events each year including fun workshops, community forums with National Ministers, community forums with local Councillors and Mayor, collaboration cafes to get community feedback on issues, or to rally a collective voice for change, a community Green Drinks session every month, and more.