When I first heard the name Amber Brovelli, was when she was introducing herself to me on the phone as someone who was organising some pretty epic actions and celebrations as part of Earth Day 2011. She is indeed a shining example of an active citizen, someone who cares about their place and is willing to take steps to help us all build a brighter future. Yayaaaaaa!

Amber was on a mission, to organise a celebration of Earth Day 2011 for everyone in Wanaka, residents, visitors, young and old, everyone and everyone is invited. Apparently she’d been told to ring me to see if I could help out any. Of course I could, she had already taken care of the stuff I just hate organising as part of an event, perfect!

So, now down to business, what is on the plan? Amber had heard about the Waste Monster statue that Chris Schmeltz created for us a number of years ago and was hoping that he could venture out into the eco festival she was holding outside of Cinema Paradiso. This was the pre event to the showing of Fern Gully and The Burning Season at Paradiso. The festival was a place for like minded sustainable folk to gather and share their stories, accompanied buy some pretty amazing music, created live, using materials found at Wastebusters and some truly EPIC musicians, young and oldish….

Anyways…..back to Waste Monster. The Monster is intended to be a talking point, the materials that you see him made from are almost kind of accurately put together in the same proportions of the average Kiwi rubbish bag. 38% of him is plastic, 30% paper and cardboard, 28%, putrecibles, 1.5% glass, 1.3% metal…..The last  2% is the only material that cannot be diverted back into a manufacturing system. This funnily enough is about enough material to make the Monsters head, supporting the fact that “Waste Only Exists Between Our Ears”. It’s our task to make that visually appealing again for all to see and talk about.

Since most Monsters live outside, our Waste Monster had become a little battered, the materials he was made out of were worn looking, still there, not degraded as such, just looking a little old and tired. Reviving this epic sculpture would be a fantastic way to start the day of celebrations, invite anyone and everyone to come and help to have the Monster ready for the festival.

It was an amazing turn out, thank you to everyone involved, I had lots of fun and am so stoked to see the result of your hard effort. Amber did an amazing job of helping our younger crew make smaller waste monsters. Everyone was happy and the Waste Monster was ready to face his adoring public once again.

As with all celebrations it’s important that we do what we can to take some real positive action. It’s planting season and Te Kakano are able to supply some plants, all we needed to do was find somewhere to put them. Somewhere that has some kind of connection to a community group of some sorts. Lismore Park Bike Trails, a project created and run by Bike Wanaka inc. seemed like the perfect opportunity. Bike Wanaka and the disc golf people supplied the finances to acquire the plants. The Earth Day crews job was to supply the people to plant them.

The turnout was so inspiring. I reckon there were about 40 people there at one point. Through the mix of taking photographs and thinking about the festival starting I was somewhat distracted and knew that my time planting trees was limited.

The festival itself was set up by the time I got down there. I was fortunate to have the boards supplied by Wanaka Primary, as part of the Enviroschools A&P show stall, everyone loved them once again. Tim was representing the Bio Diesel consortium, Dr. compost was there and some sustainable building people, demonstrating ways of using rammed earth to build houses, very interesting indeed. Te Kakano were telling their story and promoting their adopt a tree programme. It’s so good to see their trees starting to be planted around the Upper Clutha, well done everyone in that crew for all your hard work and effort!

And….what celebration is complete without EPIC face painting. As Fern Gulley started in the cinema the vast majority of faces in there had been painted only moments ago. It is so good to see so much good energy surrounding a celebration of this type. It gives me hope for the future, seeing communities come together. As the film started the musicians were ripping into it. Civilian Sol and his crew of very talented peeps were making beats and noises using items found at Wastebusters the day before. Everyone else was welcome to join in and add their little bit into the mix.

The day featured in 4 newspapers. Enviroschools Wanaka has very kindly been given $420 from donations, given by our community as part of these celebrations, so I thank you all for being so generous. I’ve been speaking with Wanaka’s Young Change Makers and we are going to use some of this to purchase some worm farms for MAC. It’s amazing when financial barriers to a positive action project are removed.

Hats off to you Amber, you did a sterling job, and I’m not sure if I mentioned it but, she only came out of shoulder surgery a few days before Earth Day…..EPIC WORK!