Heather Sylvawood (that’s me) lives in Pohara, a suburb in beautiful Golden Bay, South Island, New Zealand. The community in Golden Bay, of just over 4000 people, is very much focused on sustainable living, from farmers who are fencing off waterways from stock, to locals who are installing solar panels to minimise electricity cost.

The ethos is catching! When we first came to live in the Bay we joked about needing to install a composting toilet in order to be considered a local. Now we understand the benefits we’re not so city-cocky! Composting toilets save water and end up returning rich compost to an organic garden. And as we are on tank water, the water saving is considerable. Unfortunately, Tasman District Council regulations make getting building consents to install one almost impossible to meet.

I come from a teaching, training, multi-media background. These skills have been the basis of all the positions I have held over the last two decades. Most of all I enjoy writing – both fiction and non-fiction.

Recently, I started off a community website called eBrainz (http://www.ebrainz.net.nz) which hosts courses created by local Golden Bay artists and craftspeople. It was motivated by how hard it is for people in small communities to share their knowledge in face-to-face courses, or get enough participants together to make it worthwhile. This website is part of my plan to share survival and motivational skills with people who have never had to learn them.

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