Archives For Sustainability

For 10 years now The Outlook for Someday film challenge has helped grow a generation of sustainability storytellers.

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Natasha Bishop, winner of last year’s Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge, and David Jacobs, from The Outlook for Someday, tell us about Arboraceous, the power of storytelling, and the latest exciting development that sees them heading to Japan next month.

David and Natasha at last year's Someday Awards.

David and Natasha at last year’s Someday Awards


Arboraceous winning the DOC Big Picture Award and being chosen as The Body Shop Standout Winner in The Outlook for Someday last year came as a genuine surprise for me! It was great receiving a lot of positive feedback on my animation, and getting the honour of presenting it at DOC’s end-of-year event at their head office.

Making Arboraceous was an opportunity to send a clear message about sustainability through storytelling, which is what The Outlook for Someday film challenge is all about.

Screen shot from the film Arboraceous. Shows man sitting under an apple tree.

Arboraceous: Sustainability through storytelling


Yes that’s exactly what The Outlook for Someday is about. People have always told stories about what’s going on for them – it’s a fundamental part of what it is to be human. These days we don’t tell our stories with pictures on stone cave walls – we have moving images and sound and a global cave wall called the Internet. And what’s going on for us more than anything these days is the question of how we can sustain ourselves and our planet.

So with The Outlook for Someday we aim to help grow a generation of sustainability storytellers. That’s Natasha’s generation – and films like Arboraceous make my job very satisfying. With the film she conveys a profound truth with sweet simplicity.


The moral of Arboraceous is about renewing what we already have on our earth, instead of going off and trying to find a new planet. In making the film I set myself clear boundaries – I wanted to tell an in-depth story without using dialogue or text. So I told my story using colour, expression and symbols.

Illustration of rocket taking off.

There’s only one planet Earth


And in a simple, compelling way the film gets across the absolute key to sustainability as I see it. That we are all connected – to nature and to each other.

Illustration showing a round earth with houses and people around its circumference.

We are all connected – to nature and to each other


I guess that’s why the Department of Conservation has been really supportive and enthusiastic about my animation from the start.

And since The Outlook for Someday win, Arboraceous has been nominated for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival in August this year. As the youngest film-maker to have a film nominated in the JWFF’s 20 years of running, this is a big experience for me! I’m really thankful for all of DOC’s support, and to Air New Zealand for sponsoring my flight to Japan.


Yes big partnery thanks DOC and also to Air New Zealand for Natasha’s flight. I’m really proud of what Natasha has achieved. And I’m excited to be going to Japan to support her and to represent New Zealand as a nation with an emerging generation of young people who tell stunning sustainability stories.

Watch Arboraceous

Arboraceous from The Outlook for Someday on Vimeo.

Follow the journey to Japan on Twitter:

– The Outlook for Someday @tofsfilm

– Natasha Bishop @Maki_Tak

– #Arboraceous

The Department of Conservation is a partner of The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge for young people and also sponsors the Big Picture Award. Read about past winners and learn how to enter the 2013 challenge on the DOC website. The 2013 entry deadline is 13 September.

At the start of 2009, I knew next to nothing about office greening. Almost 12 months on, as part of DOC’s sustainability team, it’s surprising what I’ve learnt.

I believe that sustainability can, and should, reach into every aspect of DOC’s business. And gradually, sometimes without staff even being aware that it is happening, DOC’s turning a darker shade of green. This departmental greening reaches from the paper we use everyday (now 80% recycled) to the lighting levels in our workplaces; includes foodscraps from people’s lunches ending up fattening the staff pig  or in the office wormfarm, and compostable picnic plates made from potato chip waste being used at community events.

But we are not stopping there. DOC looks after many islands and remote bits of New Zealand. Up until recently power to these places came courtesy of a diesel generator. These noisy, smelly, expensive-to-run machines are now thankfully part of DOC’s past. Solar panels and wind generators are providing silent sustainable power from as far south as Stewart Island to Mimiwhangata in the mid-North.

Powered by the sun – ranger’s house at Mimiwhangata. Photo by Righthouse

Chatham Islanders can now say “Goodbye” to noisy expensive diesel generators and “Hello” to silent sustainable solar power. Photo by Righthouse.

How have we managed to move so far so fast? Sustainability Champions in every DOC office throughout the country are part of the secret. Local folk acting sustainably locally. And their reward? Feeling they are making a difference, acknowledgement and prizes through our bi-annual DOC sustainability awards and the occasional Tradeaid chocolate bar!

But what about the office bike – surely this blog title isn’t serious? Well, yes, it is. Office bicycles are being ridden throughout the country – in Auckland allowing staff to commute between offices and out in rural areas for track inspections.

So, next time you see a DOC ranger on a bike, cheer him or her on. They’re doing their little bit to reduce carbon emissions and keeping fit at the same time – not a bad combo really!

Helen Ough Dealy