Introducing a new environmental newsletter full of hope for the future

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Sign up for Future Proof, our new environmental newsletter, and enter the raffle to win one year of free electricity from Electric Kiwi.

As a scientific writer, I have the chance to meet amazing people deeply passionate about the environment and the future of Aotearoa. This is these people that give me hope for our shared natural environment and the future of the planet.

Tomorrow is the launch of Future proofa new Spinoff newsletter wwritten by me, Ellen Rykers, and produced in partnership with Electric Kiwi. At the heart of Future Proof is about sharing the stories of those people who work so hard for the planet.

Future Proof will arrive in your inbox every Wednesday afternoon with a curated selection of environmental stories you need to know to stay informed, empowered and inspired about the future of our environment. It will keep you up to date with all developments in climate and environmental news, with a strong focus on New Zealand.


electric kiwifruit offer one year of free electricity* to a lucky subscriber! Walk in, register now for Future Proof and enter the raffle to win. We will announce the winner in the August 10 issue of the newsletter.

*Free energy consumption up to a value of $3,000 over 365 days. Must be registered with Electric Kiwi within 60 days of victory. Full Promotion Terms and Conditions here.


Last week I braved the wild rain to visit some penguins. In fact, the youngest species of penguin in the world, found right here in Aotearoa, the kororā. You might remember them from when they were meant to be escorted by the police from a Sushi Wellington shop for heckling.

The fate of our kororā has been in the spotlight recentlywith hundreds of penguins dead on Northland beaches, and others evicted from their rocky homes on Waiheke Island to make way for a giant marina that it seems few people on Waiheke really want.

The particular penguins I was hoping to encounter live just below my house: along the rugged rocky coastline around the fishing village of Leigh, about an hour and a half north of Auckland. Unfortunately, they were all at sea the day I visited, looking for kaimoana. But I met an absolutely brilliant guy, Neil, who is part of a small group of locals trying to help our waddling neighbors.

Kororā are the smallest penguins in the world. They are about 30 cm tall, weigh about 1 kg when fully grown, and live to be about 8 to 10 years old. (Photo by Sanka Vidanagama/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The group practices predator trapping, has put up signs advising dog owners to keep their puppies on a leash, and has provided penguins with custom-made nesting boxes. Of course, penguins seem to prefer their homes either Natural, in rock crevices or deep caves, or positively opulent, in people’s garden sheds or under their houses. The birdhouses are adorable though, some brightly painted by local school children and emblazoned with ‘PENGUINS ONLY’.

Neil proudly showed me the odd birdhouse that had attracted regular occupants and pointed out the rugged terrain he traversed to map dozens of natural burrows along the cliffs.

This visit reminded me why I love writing stories about the environment and science. Yes, animals are cool. But in reality, it’s the passionate, quirky and interesting people I meet who are eager to share their enthusiasm and knowledge.

That’s what I want to distill in newsletter form: something quirky, interesting and passionate. Yes, we will take care of serious things. But we will avoid the dry statistics, false accounts and scare campaigns that have led so many to turn away from environmental news. Because the natural world there, and the people there, are pretty damn awesome.

That’s why we think this Future Proof takes up such a huge amount of space and why I’m so happy to bring it to you. I’m scientifically trained, which means I know how to sift through dry, jargon-laden academic texts to extract the juiciest bits. I have worked in science policy, so I can navigate the murky waters of the science-policy nexus. And now, as a science writer, I work with lots of nice, smart people in the fields of environmental advocacy, research, industry, and the media.

Ultimately, I love spinning a good yarn – a yarn that celebrates the weird and the wonderful (plants, animals, people, places…) or turns boring but important things into something accessible and, well, fun to read. And that’s what I want Future Proof to be: a highlight in your inbox, showcasing the environment, people and solutions in a hopeful, fun and honest way.

Each week, I’ll be rounding up my top picks of news, views and media from the natural world here in Aotearoa and beyond. We’ll cover climate change, the environment in all its crazy glory, fabulous people, interesting innovations, sustainability tips and put the science in context. Sometimes we can dig deeper into a single issue or feature a person or organization that is doing good things for you taiao. There will be something for everyone, because nature is something that all of us New Zealanders share: from our cities built on volcanoes and fault lines, to our iconic mountains and our big blue garden.

I hope you will join me on this journey to future proof ourselves, our communities and our home here in Aotearoa. Because it’s so much more fun when we can share, talk and do things together. If you have a story that I should definitely cover, contact me. I would love to hear from you.


electric kiwifruit offer one year of free electricity* to a lucky subscriber! Walk in, register now for Future Proof and enter the raffle to win. We will announce the winner in the August 10 issue of the newsletter.

*Free energy consumption up to a value of $3,000 over 365 days. Must be registered with Electric Kiwi within 60 days of victory. Full Promotion Terms and Conditions here.

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