Read Time: 6 Minutes
We're all seeing it, the record temperatures, the strange weather-patterns, floods and of course most recently; the worst Australian bush fires in history. Climate change, unfortunately, is a real concept, and it is happening right now. The coverage on it through the media can be overwhelming and actually points the question "Is there anything we can do?"
I'm not going to deliver a message as to why it's happening, I'm sure we all have a rough idea why it is. But there is one good thing to take away from all this; we can do something about it. Luckily there's so many of us on the planet that if we all implemented a small change into our daily lives, we could actually make one big difference.
We're getting much better down here in NZ, recently nearly all of our supermarkets have ditched supplying plastic bags. However, that is just the beginning. We have some of the most pristine beaches and coastlines in the world yet, we still see masses of plastics rocking up on our shores. Now, there are fortunately many ways we can avoid using plastics, and I've provided some examples below:
- Stop using plastic straws – They're a huge contributor and aren't necessary. Treat yourself to a metal one which you can take with you wherever you go.
- Buy a reusable cup – This is a definite must-do. Takeaway coffee cups again aren't necessary so by bringing your own reusable cup along with you, you can grab a coffee and get a discount at the same time. Most coffee shops offer discounts for those bringing their own cups.
- Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade
- Find an alternative to disposable plastic lighters. There's plenty of options, the easiest being a refillable lighter.
It's a touchy subject, but the facts remain. The production of livestock is one of the most significant single contributors to greenhouse gases. In fact, animal agriculture accounts for some 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions; a crazy fact I know. A lot of deforestation has taken place to make way for this huge industry to grow into what it has become. But, it is definitely something we need to alter if we are to have any hope of battling climate change.
I personally love eating meat, and I find it very hard to come away from it. This opinion reflects many of your own, I'm sure. So, I've now decided to become vegetarian on some days of the week, averaging around 4-5 days and eating meat 2-3 days. It is a small contribution, but a contribution nonetheless which but will make a difference in the long run. Take a moment to think about how much would be saved if we all did this?...
The electric car revolution is well and truly here. More and more car manufactures are producing an electric car within their range. Naturally, with more competition, prices will fall, making them more affordable.
With the price of petrol driving up, it could be a considerable saving to your wallet ditching it in favour of a new fancy electric vehicle.
The other flip side is that simply, electric vehicles just don’t work for everyone mainly due to the mileage limitations. If this is the case, public transport or carpooling every so often could make a difference.
It seems like such an easy task, yet there are not enough of us doing it. With the substantial mining operations in place around the world, along with the deforestation of significant areas like the Amazon, planting trees is a great solution to combat the issue.
Many groups and charities are working on this, always looking for new available members to help them with their tree-planting efforts. If you've got some open space around you, take a few seeds or saplings and get planting!
Most councils have provided an extra recycling bin for each homeowner to place their recyclable materials in. However, you'd be surprised at how many that could be reused actually don't make it in there.
While efforts are being made by companies to supply products in more sustainable packaging, it seems that the food industry is pretty stuck with plastic for the time being. Some containers aren't even recyclable, which is a shame, and an even bigger shame that
sometimes there's simply nom alternative. There are still ways we can adapt our own behaviour to make a small difference.
- Don't buy plastic packaging that isn't recyclable wherever possible.
- Refill where you can. There are now stores that are allowing refills of containers you may have for specific products. The likes of shampoo's, conditioners, body wash and other bathroom items can now be refilled using the same containers you bought them in. It's just the start but what a great idea!
- Check the label. Some plastics you have to look on the label to find out if they can be recycled. There is so much plastic being thrown in the general waste bins which could be recycled, so it pays to check.
Many office jobs now offer a 'work-from-home' option where you can opt to work from your household some days during the week. This not only reduces emissions from your journey to work but also working from a laptop helps too. Laptops use less power to run than a desktop which needs a lot more electricity to run and therefore; generally produce more carbon.
It’s a tough ask as we all love a nice long, hot shower; including myself. However, after a long run or being out on the beach on a hot day, a cold shower could do a lot more for you than it says on the tin. As well as the obvious environmental benefits, below are just some of the potential benefits of having cold showers:
- Promotes fat loss
- Ensures better sleep quality
- Improves Immunity
- Better circulation
- Lowers stress
- Lowers chance of depression
Some good incentives, right?
I won’t delve into too much detail here, as there are plenty of articles that can explain this better than I ever could. Still, I will say one thing, and it’s going to sound pretty overwhelming. Driving is THE MOST polluting activity that we kiwis engage in daily. Period. The toxic gases released into the atmosphere from our vehicles are hazardous for our health and the planet.
Let’s try and be greener, take a bike, go electric or for the long journeys, look at public transport.
The global push for cleaner, healthier energy is on. With costs dropping every day, renewable energy is the best choice for the environment and the economy.
Believe it or not, many of the big energy suppliers want to change their business models to focus more on green energy. They know that within the next 10-30 years, they will be high and dry if they don’t diversify their asset portfolio. So many are switching from fossil fuels to more solar, wind and hydro.
Luckily in NZ, we have heaps of water and a lot of sunshine! Both of which are being used extensively for renewable energy. We're actually quite far ahead of the field in terms of being renewable, but we're not quite there just yet, and there are a few things we can do.
- Seek out the best clean energy offers – not only from the bespoke, green energy suppliers but also the various specific offerings of the more traditional companies in the energy market.
- Renewable energy jobs currently outnumber those in fossil fuels by five to one. By encouraging the market to make better investments, we can help to support an economy built on renewable energy.
With plenty of organised beach clean-ups around our coastlines, it's never been easier to get involved in your local community and make the ocean and our coasts better places to be. Heaps of plastic still shows up on our kiwi shores. Yet, our efforts have never been greater in keeping our pristine beaches looking amazing.
Check out your local community environmental groups and see what dates they have scheduled for beach clean-ups. They're actually a lot of fun and a great chance to meet new people in your local community!
We're incredibly proud of our stunning environment here in New Zealand and want to do our utmost to protect it. We have a bunch of different initiatives to reduce our impact on the environment. The main ones are:
- Tree planting - we plant a large NZ native tree for each day every person spends on tour with us! So, if we have a three-day long tour with ten people, we plant 30 trees!
- Using compostable alternatives - We use as little plastic as possible, but when we need a plastic bag, we use an alternative made from compostable corn starch.
- Buying in bulk - we buy all of our cleaning products, groceries, equipment etc. in bulk to reduce packaging waste.
- Clean energy - our energy provider is Ecotricity. They are one of the only power companies in NZ that source their power from only wind, solar and hydro.
We have a bunch of other initatives, be sure to check them out on our Eco-Initiatives page!