Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: Auckland Council

Earth Day is celebrated on 22 April and is a time to reflect on ways we can protect our natural environment and preserve it for future generations – think of it as a giant party for the planet! Here are some ways you can help look after Papatūānuku (the earth mother), not just on Earth Day but all year round.

Nurture your neighbourhood

Help take care of your neck of the woods by picking up rubbish, removing harmful weeds and trapping pests. You can do this in your own backyard or by participating in a community event. Check out the Conservation Directory for a list of groups or organisations you can join.

Think local and let go of perfection

Reduce air miles and costs by stocking up on fruit and veges at a local market. Wesley Market is Auckland’s biggest weekday market and is held at Wesley Community Centre in Mt Roskill, every Tuesday and Friday, 7:30am-1pm. You’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables at affordable prices, as well as bric-a-brac and good community vibes.

You can also help the environment by cutting down on food waste. After discovering that 45 per cent of produce never leaves the grower due to ‘imperfections’ such as small blemishes, the social enterprise Perfectly Imperfect was born. The Auckland Council-sponsored initiative has a goal to save “ugly” food from going to waste. You can sign up for a fruit and vegetable box delivery (when available) or visit their Silverdale store for some low-cost, perfectly delicious fresh fruit and vegetables.

Embrace a reusable mindset

By reducing single-use plastic consumption, you’re helping Auckland Council’s mission for Tāmaki Makaurau to be a zero waste city by 2040. Bring your own cup when you buy takeaway coffee, and make a habit of always having a reusable drink bottle in your bag before leaving the house instead of purchasing bottled water.

If you’re ordering takeaways, ask the retailer if you can provide your own containers. It might feel a little strange to ask the first few times, but the more comfortable we become at doing this, the more normal it will become.

Coffee with a clean conscience. Always have a travel mug and reusable drink bottle handy.

Become a citizen scientist

Citizen scientists are people who volunteer to help with science projects, usually collecting and analysing data. Learn about Auckland’s unique biodiversity and get involved in projects like monitoring birdlife, pests or water quality. Being a citizen scientist allows you to gather valuable data and contribute to conservation efforts – plus it gives you an opportunity to visit some beautiful places, such as Tāwharanui Regional Park. Volunteer jobs through Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society (TOSSI) include helping the council monitor bird species that are introduced to the park, including counting kiwi calls or keeping track of pāteke (brown teal) numbers. There’s even a job monitoring wētāpunga (giant wētā) for those who aren’t squirmish!

Grow the canopy

Plant trees and help Auckland Council achieve its goal of increasing the tree canopy to 30 per cent across urban areas. With Auckland’s climate predicted to increase by 1.5-3.75°C by the end of the century, we need more tree cover to cool the region down. The council currently plants around 10ha of new trees per year in regional parks, road corridors and urban parks.

You can help out too by planting trees at your place. Do your research first so that you choose the right tree for your area. Auckland Botanic Gardens has handy information on its website on plants that are suitable for Auckland’s climate.

Community tree planting events are a wonderful way to restore our natural environment and also spend time in some of the region’s beautiful parks and reserves.