01 Mar 2019

People Power - take carbon action into your own hands

Posted in: Inspiring Action

People Power - take carbon action into your own hands

So hopefully you’ve been hearing all about what some major New Zealand businesses are up to in reducing their carbon emissions (spoiler – The Warehouse Group are carboNZeroCertTM certified!) and are wondering what you can do at home and in your community to play your part in climate action. In fact, we recently spoke to the Redcliffs Residents Association in Christchurch on this very topic.

You can distill down your carbon footprint (the sum of the greenhouse gas emissions that you cause) into three main areas:

  • Home energy use
  • Transport
  • Rubbish

Well that’s simple, isn’t it? So now what? We’ve broken down what you need to do in a few easy steps.

Get to know your carbon footprint.

How big is it really? Well, we’ve got a free and easy tool that you can use to calculate it here. In fact, we’ve plugged in the average Kiwi energy use, transport use and rubbish data as prefills. Just choose the right size for your family and move on to step 2.

Household Carbon Emissions Calculator Mockup

It's not hard to calculate your carbon footprint. Grab a coffee and check out our calculator, it takes you through the process, step by step.

Or, if you’d like to find out the actual numbers, that’s easy too. Get your hands on your electricity and gas bills and find the usage data there to pop into the calculator (click the plus icon on the right side to show the relevant fields). Handy bonus for those who are Ecotricity customers – Ecotricity provides carboNZero certified electricity so your electricity carbon emissions can go down by a quite a bit as they are pre-offset!

For the transport section, with a few quick calculations you can input your commute and holidays and see the result on your carbon footprint.

As for waste? That’s not difficult either – use the prompts provided to figure out how many kilograms you’re sending to landfill.

Waste Bin

Figure out how much is going in your bin

Once you know your footprint, look at ways to reduce it.

We have a myriad of help and reduction tips in the calculator for each section. Look through the list for inspiration and discuss which ones to focus on with the other members of your household. You could chip away at big emitting sources, or look for quick and easy wins. Perhaps you need a new washing machine – consider the efficiency rating as one the pros (or cons). Remind everyone to turn lights off when they leave the room. Get a compost bin or worm farm to reduce your organic waste going to landfill.

Bus travel

Are you choosing to drive your car, or take the bus

Overseas Holiday

Your overseas holiday contributes more than you think to your carbon footprint

Rubbish bag

How much rubbish do you throw away each month?

Biking

Can you bike to work to reduce your impact?

Make a long-term commitment, review it on a regular basis.

Now you’ve done all the hard work! Getting to understand your carbon footprint and making changes to reduce it is the hard part. The easy part is checking out how your changes are actually making a difference to the size of your footprint. So, commit to measuring it on a regular basis. Some people like to be reminded of it regularly and will input their data on a monthly basis. Others like to put in their data less often and find a yearly review more helpful. Whatever you decide, just commit.

If you would like to reduce your impact immediately, you can purchase carbon credits to offset the size of your carbon footprint. Carbon credits finance projects that help to store, avoid or reduce carbon emissions – specifically projects that would not have otherwise happened. You can learn more about carbon credits here.

Don’t forget to remember to vote with your wallet too – choose companies that care about their environmental impact as much as you do. There are lots of options; Wellington Combined Taxis, Urgent Couriers, Yealands Wine, and many more. See if the companies you buy from are here in our member database.

Congratulations, if you’ve decided to tackle your footprint. Share your achievements with us on Facebook or Twitter, we’d love to hear about them!