Climate change is happening now, but the actions every one of us takes can reduce its effects. We all need to reduce our carbon footprint - the greenhouse gases we emit. We can all help protect our environment by making changes, big and small, in the way we lead our lives - particularly in the areas of transport, waste and energy use.
Step 1: Count your carbs
You can use one of the calculators below to estimate your carbon emissions (greenhouse gases) you emit at home, at work, at school or as a tourist. You may need to try more than one to find a calculator to suit your needs.
New Zealand calculator:
- Household, travel, and offset emissions calculators (Enviro-mark Solutions)
- CAIT Climate Data Explorer (World Resources Institute)
Step 2: Take action at home
Your daily decisions about transport, waste and energy use are affecting the climate because of the greenhouse gas emissions they produce. There are many steps you can take to help protect the environment and economy by reducing these emissions in your own household.
Learn simple and natural ways to help reduce your waste:
Go to 'For homes' section to learn how to reduce your waste and pollution
Learn about how to become more energy efficient at home:
Learn about simple steps you can take to become more sustainable:
Learn about creating a sustainable home, visit SmarterHomes:
Step 3: Take action at work
Employers can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and delay climate change by putting in place energy efficient practices in the workplace. You can also get your employees on board by encouraging environmentally-friendly behaviour.
There are many steps you can take in your workplace to help reduce emissions. Your business will benefit - by using energy and other resources more efficiently, production costs (such as energy bills and costs of fuel/waste disposal) can be reduced and competitiveness improved. In addition, creating new products or services that use less energy and produce less greenhouse gas emissions can differentiate business in an increasingly environmentally-conscious marketplace.
Learn how to have cleaner production in the workplace:
Go to 'For business' section to learn sustainable business solutions
Learn more about energy efficiency in business, visit EECA business:
Step 4: Take action on the land
Sustainable farming practices make good business sense. Many New Zealand farmers are already noticing the effects of climate change and are endeavouring to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their farm activities. For example, more efficient use of fertiliser ensures that excess does not leach into the environment and planting trees helps absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Learn ways to reduce your waste and pollution on the farm:
Go to 'Farm management' section to learn how to reduce waste and pollution
Step 5: Take action in your community
There are lots of ways your community can get involved in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change.
Community-level initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are likely to focus on transport, waste and energy use.
Step 6: Become carbon neutral
The carboNZero programme
The carboNZero programme encourages and supports individuals and organisations, to minimise their impacts on climate change by providing them with tools to measure, manage and mitigate their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. CO2 emissions are a major contributor to climate change. carboNZero certification is available for organisations, products, and services that can demonstrate through a third-party audit that they meet criteria set by the carboNZero programme.
Find out more: www.landcareresearch.co.nz