Learn more about New Zealand’s National Conservation Week

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This year, New Zealand’s national Conservation Week will be held from 10 until 18 September. It is primarily co-ordinated by the Department of Conservation and welcomes everyone to participate in whatever way they can.

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Image courtesy of Nick Curzon

Conservation Week was originally organised by The New Zealand Scout Association in 1969. The Nature Conservation Council then took its turn at running the campaign and, when the Department of Conservation was formed in 1987, it took responsibility for the organization and works with a variety of local councils, groups and businesses to make it a success.

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Image courtesy of Nick Curzon

The theme for 2016 is ‘Healthy Nature, Healthy People’ and the aim is to raise awareness of the intrinsic links between a healthy natural environment and human health and wellbeing.

Throughout the week there are events being organized, such as tree planting, beach clean ups, sporting competitions and educational awareness activities. It is a great way to connect with nature, discover your local area and places further afield, and do your part to protect the environment and future generations. You can also have the opportunity to organise your own event and promote it on the website. Everyone is welcome to ‘Join the Team’, whether as a business, a group or an individual. We all benefit from nature and its conservation so we must ensure that we all play a part.

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Image courtesy of Nick Curzon

A great way for divers, their families and friends to get involved in Conservation Week is to participate in or organise a coastal cleanup. As divers, we see the devastating effects that rubbish causes in the marine environment. The majority of rubbish we find when we are diving has come from land-based sources, latest figures estimate around 80%!

Ocean Conservancy, along with other international organisations, has published a toolkit to help you organize your own cleanup event.

Here is the link: http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/international-coastal-cleanup/do-it-yourself-cleanup-tool.html

Project Jonah, which is based in New Zealand, has also published a great toolkit for cleanup events. Here is the link:

http://www.projectjonah.org.nz/site/projectjon/files/Project%20Jonah%20Beach%20Clean%20up%20Kit.pdf

Another great online resource to help you get involved in saving our oceans and our planet is Project AWARE. It is more orientated towards the diving community and coordinates the Dive Against Debris programme, which also has an online cleanup event toolkit. Here is the link:

http://www.projectaware.org/project/dive-against-debris

The NZ Conservation Week is a long-standing community event and there are other international events that coincide with this week. Some of these include International Clean Up Day, which is on 17 September, and the Clean Up the World Campaign on 16-18 September.

Why just one day or one week only every year? We can do something on a regular basis, even every day, and the links below will give some useful tips for what we can do on a more regular basis, like re-using and re-cycling at home. Let’s try to improve our health by improving the health of the place where we all live: Our Planet and Our Oceans.

Useful links to check for more information are:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservationweek/

http://sustainablecoastlines.org

http://www.loveyourcoast.org

http://www.projectjonah.org.nz

http://www.oceanconservancy.org

http://www.cleanuptheworld.org/en/

http://www.projectaware.org

 

 

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About Author

Jessica McGarty is a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ currently based in Egypt but hoping to make a move to New Zealand in the not-too-distant future. Her main interests and passion lie beneath the surface, in the oceans, and she currently combines scuba diving as a work and leisure activity. She is committed to making her personal contribution towards sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

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