Although a small contributor to the global greenhouse effect (0.2%), New Zealand’s emissions of greenhouse gases per capita (17,2 tons) places us in the top countries, nearly twice as bad as the UK! To prevent catastrophic climate change, we *should* emit less than one ton per person and per year.
It’s a huge responsibility and also a huge opportunity.
Half of New Zealand’s emissions of greenhouse gases depends on how we choose to use our land. Originally covered by forests by 80% only 30% is left today with more than 50% used as farmland. So trees today only manage to absorb about 30% of CO2 emissions. A lot of farmland is used for ruminants who belch out methane, a gas 25 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Something will have to be done there.
The 86% of us who live in urban settings contribute to the other half of emissions of greenhouse gases. A third of energy production is from non-renewable sources and we use too much energy anyway because of our poorly insulated homes. Also we consume a lot and making things creates lots of CO2, as well as waste and pollution. We also drive in cars too much and our air travel increase is a worrying trend. One return flight to Europe adds 10 tons per capita and per passenger…
These are things we can work on. We can choose better energy, save it and improve our homes. We can be thoughtful when we buy things and when we hop in our cars.
We’ll help you figure out what is easily done, what will make a big difference in your case, how much it will cost you and save over time. We’ll help you feel good about yourself and how you tackle your responsibility towards future generations and the Earth.
Source: Carbon Neutral by 2020: How New Zealanders can tackle climate change. Edited by Niki Harre and Quentin D. Atkinson. Nelson: Craig Potton, 2007.
For businesses, studies have shown that profits can easily increase by 80% in 5 years when deciding to go sustainable. From innovations, opportunities to waste reductions, employers engagement to improved business image, not to mention avoiding massive risks to profits from legal or environmental changes, it pays to anticipate!
At home, whether you carpool, switch to energy efficient light bulbs, buy and sell second-hand or eat local food, your household bills will reduce by the thousands of dollars.
Ask for Eco-Consultant advice to decide where to start and what will ensure the best return on investment enabling you to pursue your path. Being sustainable financially rhymes with sustainability!
Involved for a long time with Avaaz and 350, I was well aware of the preparation of Climate Marches all over the world ahead of the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015 (read the IPCC recommendations here). When I checked in October, I found out that the closest march was 280 km away so I dived and signed up to create an event here in Wanaka.
It’s been a stunning month of preparation. I received an amazing support from everyone in the community.
We’ve eventually had a volunteers team, 2 banners, a facebook event page, 6 local newspaper articles, 2 radio talks, a poster all over the place, a video made before and a video made during the event sent to the world organisers days later, an informative leaflet, 100 signs pre-made, face-painting, bubbles, 25 sponsors/supporters and even a song!
Most importantly, it’s been a great success! Between 320 and 350 people came to the Dinosaur Park and / or marched to “the Wanaka Tree”, with music, signs and cheerfulness. People here care for the planet.
A BIG thank you to everyone who supported the event, particularly my Team Green students who carried the banner all the way into the water!
And the Paris COP 21 conference was a victory, as governments signed the beginning of the end of the fossil fuels era.
My friend Iris has always been caring for the environment she loves. Her mountain guiding business embeds that in many ways. When she heard I was looking for a project to implement sustainability in a real situation as part of my studies, she took the opportunity to formalize this feature.
Following the Natural Step framework, we were able to identify many assets and find potential for progress. The initial result was a sustainability statement published in November 2011 and the longer term outcome is that the house and lodge is now energy self-sufficient. Well done!
Yellow Blue Park is a project that combines a campground, a campus and community participation to optimize the use of space and facilities. Developed between 2011 and 2013 in Wanaka, it is on hold due to the campus part discontinuation.
Wanaka Time Bank was created in 2013 as an online tool that enables trading skills in our community, using time, rather than money, as a “currency”. Active member since the beginning, I am part of the steering group.