One of the inspirational stories to emerge from the Christchurch earthquake has been how different volunteer groups have come together to help with the recovery. Among the most famous is the University of Christchurch Student Army. After the February quake more than 10,000 people joined the group’s Facebook site in less than 24 hours, and the workforce was mobilised to clear streets of silt and muck, help the elderly to put their homes back in order and so on. It was uplifting to see how the often maligned “youth of today” (I’m thinking of London) stood up in the city’s time of greatest need.
In that vein, here’s another great grassroots, student-powered movement in the Garden City that’s reviving the streets with creativity. Greening the Rubble is making temporary public parks and gardens while master planning for the new Christchurch is underway. Using reconstituted wreckage and debris, Greening the Rubble volunteers are bringing purpose and order to properties around the city that might otherwise lie untouched for months or years, until the owners are ready to re-develop. And so fallen bricks are painted and used to fill gabions, forming colourful garden frames. Plants are rescued from the inner city cordon. Planter walls are made from pallets. Recycled timber planks are used as seat tops. Generous businesses are providing many other things needed for the effort. This is the irrepressible spirit of creative Canterbury people.