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E-WASH Raising Money for Heart Kids

Heart Kids is a Charity that focuses its support on children born with congenital heart defects and has built a support community for the families of those affected. Rotary in Wellington, NZ has assisted this charity in the past through a treasure hunt fundraiser and, more recently, via the “Tree of Remembrance” (renamed “Tree of Memories” because it was shorter and fitted onto the festival street map!)

This year my usual partner in this fundraiser, Jean – from the Rotary Club of Wellington – left for Canada to catch up with family and I had the job of getting the project organised.


Fortunately, Pres. Robert and Kate live in Blenheim – a short ferry trip across to Wellington and the offer of a “weekend in the Capital” chez Helen and John helped to swell E-numbers. E-Clubs are distributed affairs and we really have to reach out to participate – so, in this vein, assistance was also received from the Rotary Clubs of Wellington and Courtenay Place – as well as from Heart Kids volunteers. Our “real” tree was donated by “Freshandbushy, a local Christmas Tree supplier.

This was a simple fundraiser – tie a ribbon on a Christmas tree, write a memory for a loved one and make a donation to Heart Kids!


This project was also part of “A Very Welly Christmas” – a community festival featuring parades, entertainment, children’s activities and a fair-ground atmosphere in Wellington’s main shopping precinct that was closed to vehicles for the weekend. Thousands of families attend the festival as its theme is primarily focussed on younger children – but it also becomes a shoppers’ paradise with all retail outlets offering sales! Added to which is the ability of dizzy spenders to wander everywhere without worrying about being run over!


How did we do? The Tree of Memories was set-up and operated for 12 hours; we collected over $1300 for Heart Kids and received about 500 memories which will be popped into a time capsule and buried as part of a tree-planting programme run by Rotary Wellington.

This was a great community project and showed Rotary at its best: helping the community.

John Moriarty



This month’s Guest Speakers

Natsai Audrey Chieza is Founder and Creative Director of Faber Futures, a creative R&D studio that conceptualizes, prototypes and evaluates the next generation of materials that are emerging through the convergence of biology, technology and design. The studio advocates a shift in thinking away from resource extraction to material systems that are grown within the limits of our planetary boundaries. Working with partners in academia and industry, she is at the forefront of defining the future of design in the context of the Anthropocene at the advent of enabling technologies like synthetic biology.  Chieza holds an MA (Hons) in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Material Futures from Central Saint Martins. She began her career in design research at Textile Futures Research Centre (UK), while also pursuing her own research interests in biofabrication at the Ward Lab, University College London (UK). During this time she co-curated exhibitions and public programmes including Big Data, Designing with the Materials of Life 2015 (UK), Alive En Vie, Fondation EDF, 2014 (FR) and Postextiles, London Design Festival 2011 (UK).  Chieza has been a Designer in Residence at Ginkgo Bioworks (US), IDEO (UK), Machines Room (UK), Swedish Arts Grants Committee (SE), and the Ward Lab, University College London (UK). Her work has been widely exhibited at world-renowned galleries and museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), Science Gallery Dublin (IR), Bauhaus Dessau (DE), Audax Textile Museum (NL) and at industry institutions like Microsoft Research (US/UK) and Foundation EDF (FR). She has taught on degree programmes that are transitioning to biomaterials and sustainable design at Central Saint Martins, The Bartlett and Istituto Marangoni. Chieza’s own body of work on biopigmented textiles has been featured in a number of leading publications, including WIRED, Next Nature, IDEO, Huffington Post, Viewpoint, Frame, Domus, LSN Global, Protein and FORM.

Natsai Audrey Chieza is a designer on a mission — to reduce pollution in the fashion industry while creating amazing new things to wear. In her lab, she noticed that the bacteria Streptomyces coelicolor makes a striking red-purple pigment, and now she’s using it to develop bold, color-fast fabric dye that cuts down on water waste and chemical runoff, compared with traditional dyes. And she isn’t alone in using synthetic biology to redefine our material future; think — “leather” made from mushrooms and superstrong yarn made from spider-silk protein. We’re not going to build the future with fossil fuels, Chieza says. We’re going to build it with biology.

Rotary WASH eClub Weblog discussion starter: Are there other scientific sub-disciplines, like the one employing Natsai Chieza, that our WASH eClub should recruit from?


Dr. Kristin Poinar is currently a postdoctoral researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She will be moving to the University at Buffalo in winter 2017 to be a professor in the Geology Department and the RENEW Institute.  She uses remote sensing and numerical models to study the interaction of meltwater with ice flow, especially on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

The Greenland ice sheet is massive, mysterious — and melting. Using advanced technology, scientists are revealing its secrets for the first time, and what they’ve found is amazing: hidden under the ice sheet is a vast aquifer that holds a Lake Tahoe-sized volume of water from the summer melt. Does this water stay there, or does it find its way out to the ocean and contribute to global sea level rise? Join glaciologist Kristin Poinar for a trip to this frozen, forgotten land to find out.

Rotary WASH eClub Weblog discussion starter: What impact might the above phenomenon have on the salting of coastal aquifers currently supplying drinking water for millions.


Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò is professor of African political thought at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University in the US. As he writes: “I was born in Nigeria. I lived there all my life save for the five unbroken years that I sojourned in Canada in search of the proverbial Golden Fleece. By itself, my living in Nigeria does not warrant comment. But the discovery that I speak of put that life in a completely different light; hence these remarks. All my life in Nigeria, I lived as a Yorùbá, a Nigerian, an African, and a human being. I occupied, by turns, several different roles. I was a hugely successful Boy Scout. I was a well-read African cultural nationalist. I was a member of the Nigerian province of the worldwide communion of the Church of England who remains completely enamored of the well-crafted sermon and of church music, often given to impromptu chanting from memory of whole psalms, the Te Deum or the Nunc Dimittis. I was a student leader of national repute. I was an aspiring revolutionary who once entertained visions of life as a guerilla in the bush. I was a frustrated journalist who, to his eternal regret, could not resist the call of the teaching profession. I was an ardent football player of limited talent. I was a budding spiritualist who has since stopped professing faith. Overall, I always believed that I was put on Earth for the twin purposes of raising hell for and catching it from those who would dare shame humanity through either ignorance or injustice or poverty.”

Táíwò is the author of Legal Naturalism: A Marxist Theory of Law (1996/2015), How Colonialism Preempted Modernity in Africa (2010) and Africa Must Be Modern: A Manifesto (2012/2014).

Cornell University Prof. Taiwo addresses this question:  How can Africa, the home to some of the largest bodies of water in the world, be said to have a water crisis? It doesn’t, says Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò — it has a knowledge crisis. Táíwò suggests that lack of knowledge on important topics like water and food is what stands between Africa’s current state and a future of prosperity. In a powerful talk, he calls for Africa to make the production of knowledge within the continent rewarding and reclaim its position as a locus of learning on behalf of humanity.

Rotary WASH eClub Weblog discussion starter: Is Rotary, via WASRAG and/or WASH eClub efforts, adequately preparing to address Prof. Taiwo’ assertion:  “that lack of knowledge on important topics like water and food is what stands between Africa’s current state and a future of prosperity.”


 News and Views

Trade-offs and choices: Realities in urban sanitation projects

Lucy Stevens talks about the triumphs and tragedies of dealing with the challenges that some projects bring.  The article also speaks to dealing effectively and safely with faecal sludge which is a fast-emerging issue


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