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Published on Dec 15, 2010
www.signsofchange.org.nz Presented at Signs of Change National e-Conference, 15-16 November 2010, NEW ZEALAND
Since 2002, groups of adult learners across NZ have been gathering knowledge of what everyday actions (at or beyond their home) make reduced environmental impact compared to their previous habits and practices. Sustainable Living Education Trust publishes learning and tutor materials on CD, and maintains a public website. Armed with practical know how, learners take immediate action where they are able, discuss progress at weekly sessions and plan significant actions for the future - such as house size and location changes, appliance and insulation purchases, or travel planning. The educational methods developed do result in behaviour change for most participants, and as a next step it will be possible to quantify impacts, in a new research collaboration with Professors R & B Vale at Victoria University Wellington.
In 2009-10 Sustainable Living was challenged by loss of Ministry of Education funding for high-school based community classes, which led to closure of many community education outlets, and will be affected further in 2010-2011 by cuts in tertiary funding for tutored and assessed Polytechnic short courses. This is forcing delivery into user-pays for salaried participants and/or council subsidy for those on lower incomes. Will new group delivery routes be required, perhaps without paid tutors but catalysed by Transition Town groups, or will this social group learning approach be superceeded by individual learning, via the web?