Slashing a powder turn. Catching a wave. Diving into a fresh blue river. These are all expressions of the same way of living – making the most of what nature has to offer. You can’t help but love these places when you spend time in them.
The sorry state of New Zealand’s rivers really winds us up. The stats are grim: 44% of our monitored lakes are so polluted, virtually nothing can survive in them; 62% of our lowland rivers are so polluted with pathogens, we can’t safely swim in them. And 74% of our freshwater fish species are now classified as ‘threatened’.
We’ve signed petitions and had a Facebook rant (or two) but now we’ve found something even better – a project that’s actually doing something to help. All freshwater scientists agree that riparian planting is vital to the health of our freshwater ecosystems. Plants filter toxic runoff, prevent sediment washing into water, and cool the water by shading it, so aquatic creatures can survive.
The Million Metres Streams Project is a collaboration between the Sustainable Business Network and the Department of Conservation. They’re on a mission to plant, you guessed it, one million metres of waterways by 2020. They’ve crowdfunded more than 14,000 metres already and every bit counts.
The idea was to make it easy for anyone (people and businesses) to invest in healthier waterways.
Even planting a million metres of riparian margins isn’t the whole solution to New Zealand’s freshwater crisis, but it’s a step in the right direction. And it’s something we can do right now.
For every pair of skis sold before 1 April, we’ll purchase 1 metre of planting in Canterbury’s Stackwoods Bend. Partnering with great local organisations, this native planting doesn’t just help the streams, it sequesters carbon and provides habitat for native creatures.