Sustainable Living Media Information

Response to Climate Change declaration

Leaders in local government are ready to respond to the NZ declaration of climate emergency  in many ways, including urgent support for a better-educated community.

Action on reducing carbon emissions, reducing waste and adapting our homes to changing climate requires public know-how and confidence to change. It’s a set of future living skills for a long emergency”, says Rhys Taylor from Sustainable Living Education Trust. The charitable trust is run by 14 member Councils including Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin cities.

Their shared website  provides free guides to action at home, which are used by individuals across New Zealand and also in group classes. The tutors or facilitators for groups are  supported with additional information in member council areas.  A grant from Waste Minimisation Fund of the Ministry for Environment in 2019-2020 helped to open access nationwide.

 “Few local councils can afford to employ staff teams of educators on sustainability, so sharing resources and training both community volunteers and part-time professional facilitators makes sense” says Taylor, the Trust’s National Coordinator, who reports that trustees meeting by Zoom today have welcomed Central Government’s declaration of climate emergency.

Rural communities with smaller councils in Sustainable Living Education Trust include: Hauraki, South Taranaki, Masterton and Carterton, Kapiti Coast, Marlborough, Tasman, Waimakariri and Timaru Districts.

“Using the internet for communication allows us to distribute the writing and updating of materials from a rural base in (the South Canterbury town of) Geraldine, rather than having to be in the capital, and to make the learning guides freely available nationwide at our own website, even during Pandemic lock-downs. We also publish local sustainability information and contacts there, for many of the member councils, and will add more.”

Media comment: Rhys Taylor. Text 021462260 for call back. 
Feature & photo enquiries:
Trust chair is Tony Moore, Sustainability Advisor at Christchurch City Council.

Latest media coverage of the Programme is on RNZ news website, 29 August 2020.  Includes interviews with Christchurch and Wellington Council reps and our National Coordinator, from his Geraldine smallholding (pictured).


for Earth Day - info that's useful in Lockdown

Media release for Weds 22 April - Earth Day

As pandemic infection worries calm and the locked-down population of New Zealand begins to think more creatively about the future….Earth Day has arrived (Weds 22 April)

Sustainable Living Education Trust is publishing eight topical free guides to sustainability actions at home, on its website  

The free downloads cover garden food growing, shopping choices that help the environment, energy efficiency, house design for warm dry homes, low-carbon travel, waste minimisation, water use and river care, and community resilience in emergencies.

Trust National Coordinator Rhys Taylor, from his home and productive garden in Geraldine, South Canterbury, says “the community education programme was first developed for evening classes at high schools but has been adapted for informal study groups and workmates who can use it on-line, adding discussion by social media and conferencing such as Zoom or Skype.  The Trust itself meets on-line and requires no permanent office or vehicles.”

Sustainable Living is also recruiting facilitators in 12 Districts of New Zealand to help run short courses, weekend study groups and on-line discussions using these learning guides.

“The website details how local facilitators can use Future Living Skills learning guides and we also publish extra information on the member council areas, visual aids and group activities.” Says Taylor.

From north to south across Aotearoa, the Trust is currently supported by: Hauraki District, Kapiti Coast District, Wellington City, Masterton District, Nelson City, Tasman District, Marlborough District, Chatham Islands, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Timaru District and Dunedin City. More councils are in discussion about joining from July. Funding in recognition of Future Livings Skills’ relevance to waste minimisation education, comes from The Waste Minimisation Fund of the Ministry for Environment.  The Trust has no commercial sponsorship and has independent editorial.


Further information:  03 6938726  texts 021462260 

This release is on SCOOP


Government funding takes programme nationwide - 2019

News release Friday 27 Sept 2019

How to lower your waste and carbon foot-print

Home and group learning opportunity goes nationwide


The Future Living Skills community education programme on sustainability is available free online across NZ, from today.

Website-distributed sustainability education materials are now available on-line free anywhere in New Zealand, thanks to a grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Management Fund, as announced today, Friday 27 Sept. Find it at

Future Living Skills is the new national edition of the Sustainable Living Programme, earlier versions of which have run locally by 14 participating councils. Future Living Skills supports lifestyles and consumer choices that generate less carbon to the air, less waste to landfills and less pollution to rivers, so they are very topical (on the same day as School Strike for Climate Change and week as the UN summit.) 

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage launches the nationwide roll-out of Future Living Skills in Christchurch today, accompanied by Housing and Energy Minister Megan Woods.  A media statement from Ministry for Environment qutoting Hon Eugenie Sage is available. 

Future Living Skills begins with reducing waste and protecting waterways, and goes beyond. Our learning guides help you to understand lower-carbon living, in your energy, travel and food choices and decisions made when homes are designed or renovated,” National Coordinator Rhys Taylor says.

“A year ago, the IPCC stated that we have 12 years to drastically reduce global carbon emissions in order to stay below 1.5°C of warming, and the world at last began to wake up.”

“Several of the School Strike for Climate (SS4C) Christchurch organisers are attending the Future Living Skills launch event. They recognize the urgent need for community education of their parents and grandparents, and they are expecting adults to catch up with the younger generation’s commitment to transition to a low carbon emission economy.

“To take effective action on reducing waste, protecting water and avoiding global warming’s worst effects, we all need practical knowledge on how to get more from less. Future Living Skills’ website provides information on eight topics, informed by science and independent of commercial bias. In member council areas such as Christchurch, Timaru and Dunedin where we run groups and classes, there is also the encouragement of learning and discussion with others, which is a strong motivator of action.”  says Taylor.

Evening courses and public workshops will be available through the member councils that have driven the programme in their districts, and others are invited to follow suit.

The Sustainable Living Education Trust, which runs the programme, will help councils to recruit and train facilitators and tutors, assisted by the grant from the Waste Minimisation Fund (up to $77,000 spread over three years, or 43% of project budget).

Trust chair, Tony Moore, who works as Principal Sustainability Advisor at Christchurch City Council, says “the Sustainable Living Education Trust has been hosting courses in partnership with its dozen or so member Councils. Communities enjoy these courses and learn to make changes in their lives. Our members range from the Chatham Islands to Kapiti Coast, from Dunedin to Waimakariri, Masterton to Thames Coromandel. We are lucky in the Canterbury Region to have Christchurch, Waimakariri, Timaru and Kaikoura all supporting the delivery of this community education programme, which was South-Island grown, initiated in Marlborough.”

Each partner organisation helps people learn and take action, in varied ways that make it easy for their community: environment centres, polytechnics, Workers Educational Association and high schools have been involved. Learning guides designed for groups are published on the web.

“Much internet information on global issues comes from unknown sources and is unreliable and sometimes deliberately fake, so providing reputable New Zealand-relevant information on reducing your footprint is important,” Taylor says.

Future Living Skills gathers and presents useful information from reputable sources to support behaviour change and consumer choices. Member councils fund and check programme content, support local courses and can provide geographically-specific information. (For some examples see member councils page  for Hauraki, Christchurch, Dunedin, Timaru.)

Try out the Future Living Skills learning guides for free, by registering at


The grant from Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) was approved by Eugenie Sage, Associate Minister for the Environment. The purpose of the Fund is to boost NZ’s performance in waste minimisation, and it is enabled through the landfill waste disposal levy. Background information on the fund is available at  

For more information, contact: Rhys Taylor, National Coordinator, Sustainable Living Education Trust  texts 021 462260  


Content updated and website modernised 2018-2019

New editions of the Future Living Skills group learning guides for Eco-Building and Renovation,Travel Options and Energy were published in 2017, Water  topic in 2018 and Waste Minimisation in 2019.  This completed a cycle of updating of content on eight topics, and is accompanied by website system modernisation to make it automatically responsive to mobile phones, tablets and a wider variety of user platforms. Soon we shall be off around the topics again: readers do pleasealert us to broken web-links or updates required!  Development has been funded by the member Councils, who collaborate on the shared resource for financial efficiency and to get shared access to science-informed and commercially-independent information sources. In Spring 2019 our programme has been part-funded (43%) by Waste Minimisation Fund from Ministry for the Environment, which has opened up access to all of NZ. We continue to offer additional services to 14 subscribing member councils.

New materials in development during 2019 are a programme introduction and a new (9th) topic which looks at sustainability in the community and local economy, beyond the household.

Users register every day from across NZ. See our map of registrations by district or city across NZ - green text indicates memebr councils and grey those yet to join.

The current trustees are:

  • Eion Scott, currently from NZ Green Building Council and a former staff member at Matamata-Piako District and Auckland Councils (an eco-design and communications specialist),
  • Tony Moore from Christchurch City - their Principal Sustainability Advisor),
  • Kitty Waghorn from Waimakariri (Waste Asset Manager), and
  • Natalie Hormann from Hutt Valley (sustainability and gardening educator, lifeskills coach)
  • and the trust has a vacancy for an additional trustee from the North Island.

  • Rhys Taylor is contracted as National Coordinator. He is based in Geraldine and is a former co-chair of NZ Association for Environmental Education. He has postgraduate qualifications in adult continuing education, in local policy and a Lincoln University Masters Degree in natural resource management  Email:   Messages: 03 6938726   Texts: 021 462260

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