Meet Nico: Environmental Changemaker
January 27, 2023
Not many nine-year old kids are engaged with political campaigning for the environment, but Auckland-based Nico Tauri is on a mission to have compost bins installed at every school in New Zealand.
The budding environmental changemaker has already successfully convinced multinational consumer goods company, Unilever, to take plastic scoops out of their Surf washing powder.
In pursuit of his newest environmental visions, Nico penned a letter to the Minister of Education (and newly appointed Prime Minister), Chris Hipkins, and other ministers with education portfolios, detailing how his school alone produces about 400kg of waste per year, and asking them to introduce compost bins nationwide to combat this waste.
"I have done some research and learnt that composting is nature’s way of recycling. Nutrients can go back into the soil by adding compost, and we can grow healthier vegetables", Nico says.
Nico's sustainability journey stems back to his time at Kororāreka Russell School in the Bay of Islands, where he participated in Garden to Table.
Through Garden to Table, Nico experienced the full circular food system in action. As he grew, harvested, prepared and shared fresh food alongside his peers, he came to understand the environmental impacts of his food choices, and the importance of nurturing our environment.
Now, he wants other Kiwi kids to experience it.
“I would love to see compost bins in schools across Aotearoa and lessons in school to learn about the importance of composting, growing our own kai, and looking after Papatūānuku (the land)”, Nico says. "Growing vegetables at school means we could pick fresh kai from the garden to share and learn how food grows. We could learn how to cook the food we grow".
Chris Hipkins seems to agree - telling Nico that he’s “absolutely right” that it’s important for children to learn about the environment, and explaining that there’s a fund in place where schools could gain financial support for initiatives like Nico’s.
From the outside, Garden to Table may look like a simple food education programme, where children learn to grow and cook fresh food. But, there’s much more than first meets the eye - with student-led sustainability and environmental literacy a core component of the programme.
Garden to Table believes that children are changemakers. Nico is a shining example of just what’s possible when we empower children to create positive change that combats our shared environmental challenges.
Words and images supplied by Garden to Table.
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