Annual General Meeting Chair Report 2009-10

16 December 2010

Download: AGM Chair Report for 2009-10 (62 kB PDF)

NZ Society for Sustainability Engineering and Science
Annual General Meeting Chair Report
16 December 2010

As Chair I am very pleased to advise that during the 2009/2010 Financial Year, NZSSES has maintained a visible profile as a Learned Society both with its members and with the wider engineering community.

Overall, twelve learning events were offered to members, engineers, scientists, architects and planners. In total seventeen speakers and presenters offered their expertise to the Society with over 250 attendees across the sessions.

One of the highlights was the now annual International Speaker Winter Workshops series, this year with Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe, from Griffith University in Brisbane fronting workshops in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch on Assessing Sustainability.

The ongoing Friday Forums, which offered five sessions this year, continue to prove popular. The first of the year was Sustainable Water for Auckland, with Dr Deborah Corneby of Watercare Services; Gord Stewart of Aquas Consultants, a firm specialising in sustainability research; and Craig Brown, a consultancy specialising in on-site wastewater design work.

Next came The Future of Transport, in Christchurch with Steve Abley, a transportation consultant, and board member of IPENZ, with Robert Woods of the Canterbury Regional Council, and Dr Simon Kingham, of the University of Canterbury.

The Future of Food Forum in Auckland, with Professor Jacqueline Rowarth of Massey University; Misty Mossman, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Dr Ron McDowall, University of Auckland, and Natalie Jones, a PhD Candidate, who presented her research into The Sustainability of the Future of Food was well received.

NZSSES took advantage of the fact that Rick Fragazsy from the National Science Foundation, USA, was in Auckland to host one Forum. Along with Eric Pyle, MoRST’s Director of Environmental and Social Development, both speakers gave interesting presentations based on Clean Tech, Green Tech and Sustainability Research.

Probably the most critical of the Forums, and one that requires ongoing discussion, was the one onPeak Oil – are we ready? with keynote speaker Professor Bob Lloyd of Otago University. Bob’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion that included Professor Basil Sharp, of the Department of Economics at the Business School, and Professor Peter Malin, of the Institute of Earth Science & Engineering.

Three Member only events were held over the course of the year: one last November in Christchurch for our South Island members with a dinner; one as our Auckland members’ Christmas function, and another one in May where sponsors were invited to talk about their support for NZSSES, and to meet individual members. Executive Committee meetings were held monthly, and the AGM is traditionally combined with the Christmas function.

As Chair of NZSSES it has been my pleasure to represent you wherever I have gone making guest speeches and keynote presentations. In February, there was a breakfast seminar on Successfully Navigating the Green Markets, then the Tasmania Asset Management Conference in Hobart in May, the NZ Psychology Society Annual Conference in Rotorua in July, and the International Symposium on Sustainability in Acoustics (ISSA) in Auckland in August. Travelling to Japan as an invited guest to give presentations to academics and students at the University of Fukuoka and to attend the Conference to establish the International Society of Habitat Engineering in collaboration with UN-Habitat was a highlight.

In addition, both Dr McDowall and myself have addressed senior students at St Cuthbert’s College and worked with them on several occasions. Other speaking invitations included the AGM for the IPENZ Taranaki Branch in September, and the New Zealand Arboricultural Association Annual Conference in November and I will again be at the International Conference on Sustainability Science and Engineering, being held in Arizona, January 2011.

As part of our busy year NZSSES has made submissions to the IPENZ Sustainable Management Action Plan, and in conjunction with IPENZ to Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act, and to the Draft New Zealand Energy Strategy and Draft New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. I continue to sit on the IPENZ Practice Board, and have endeavoured to work with the Royal Society to improve sustainability collaboration.

It was particularly pleasing for The Society to see our Treasurer, and founding member Dr Ron McDowall receive the IPENZ Supreme Technical Award, The Furkert Award for Sustainability and Clean Technology at the IPENZ Annual Dinner. As an aside, in its December 2009 issue, North and South Magazine printed a lengthy article entitled The Cleaner detailing Ron’s international work for the United Nations on toxic and hazardous waste cleanup.

As an outcome of the three-day Urban Infrastructure workshop held after the Blueprints for Sustainable Infrastructure conference (2008) myself, Ron, and twenty-six other authors, developed a paper entitled Delivering Sustainable Infrastructure that Supports the Urban Built Environment. We are delighted to say that this paper has been published in the very prestigious Environmental Science & Technology Journal by ACS Publications.

Much of the year has been spent in seeking keynote speakers and sponsors, and organising parallel papers and workshops to be presented at our 4th International Conference – Transitions to Sustainability – which, although outside the scope of this report, ran from 30 November to 3 December 2010.

The NZSSES website is now a very complex and detailed website with all the forum presentations, conference presentations and various links to podcasts of radio and television interviews over many years. I would encourage members to view it from time to time and see what else The Society is involved with.

I would like now to thank the committee for their time, effort, and support. In particular I would like to mention Misty Mossman who is standing down this year after many years of committee service.

Dr Carol Boyle
16 December 2010