What can you do?

There are loads of ways to lower emissions and prepare for our changing climate.

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Whether it's small steps like a stroll to the dairy instead of a drive, or big thinking and long-term changes, each better choice cuts emissions. Better ways every day from everyone will make all the difference – for our targets, for ourselves and for our whānau.

Our focus is on living and transport options. Here are some great ways you, your whānau and friends can help. Some have extra benefits like being good for health and fitness, for saving money, and for warmer, drier homes.

At home

There are many simple, low cost or no-cost ways to reduce your household's greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare for the impacts of climate change. 

Know your impact

Measuring your emissions helps you to understand what’s creating your footprint. Once you understand this, you can take some simple steps to reduce it. 

Waste

Waste disposal accounts for 7% of Christchurch’s greenhouse gas emissions. Preventing waste wherever possible, and recycling and composting all that we can make better use of our resources while saving money and reducing emissions.  

Bin good with your bins? Sorting the right stuff into the right bins reduces waste going to landfill, lowering emissions and saving money. Find out what goes where with the Bin Good app(external link).

There are lots of other ways to reduce waste – take a look at the other recycling schemes run by the community.

Energy

The energy used in homes and other buildings makes up 19% of the emissions from Christchurch. You can save money, increase the energy efficiency of your home and reduce emissions simply by increasing insulation, draft-stopping, installing curtains, and choosing energy-saving appliances. 

Here are some more helpful tips to make your home energy efficient:

  • Book a free healthy home assessment. Christchurch homeowners can receive free, no obligation, expert advice about the health and efficiency of their homes. For more information and to book visit Build Smarter – Live Better.(external link)
  • Insulate and heat your home efficiently. In partnership with the Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme, Community Energy Action (a local not-for-profit trust) is able to offer free ceiling and floor insulation and a 90% subsidy for a heat pump or log burner (to a maximum of $3,000 incl. GST) to homes located in low-income neighbourhoods. For more information and to apply visit Community Energy Action(external link).
  • Book a free home design consultation. If you are thinking about designing a new home or undertaking major alterations, you can book a free one-hour consultation with the Council's Eco-Design Advisor. For more information and to book your appointment visit Eco-Design Advisor.(external link)
  • Check the health of your home. The New Zealand Green Building Council has developed a simple-to-use online check of the health and energy efficiency of your home. To see how your home measures up visit HomeFit.(external link)
  • Build a super-efficient home. The local Superhome Movement is a group of designers, builders and suppliers building healthy and energy-efficient homes. They offer tours, and workshops and have a detailed home design guide. For more visit Superhome Movement(external link).

Water

Reducing water use is an important way to lower emissions and preserve our supply of quality drinking water. Supplying water to homes and businesses and treating wastewater is a significant source of emissions in Christchurch.

You can help save water at home. The Council’s “Water like you oughta”(external link) site has plenty of practical water-saving tips for your home and garden.

Shop local

Support local businesses and social enterprises that are actively trying to reduce their environmental footprint, and use profits to support social or environmental aims.

  • Invest in the rapidly growing and innovative green economy.
  • Check your KiwiSaver fund to see where your money is invested, and divest from fossil fuel investments.

Eat local

Support local markets and green grocers. Christchurch has 10 regular farmers' markets and many more fruit and vegetable shops. Edible Christchurch(external link) has a list of local farmers' markets.

Help out in your local community or school garden. Christchurch has 35 community gardens(external link) and many more school gardens. They are great places to learn about food growing and generally offer fresh produce to people who help out.

Consider your diet. Eat more vegetables, fruit and less red meat to help reduce your emissions footprint.

Planting trees

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into sugars that help them grow, so planting trees is one of the most valuable ways to remove emissions from the atmosphere.

  • You could volunteer to help with tree-planting days and ongoing maintenance to ensure trees grow well. Volunteer days are fun and really rewarding and you’ll work alongside like-minded people. Register your interest.(external link)

Talking with your whanāu and friends

Sharing your own story and starting conversations about what we can all be doing to reduce our emissions has a positive impact.

Working together creates collective action at a community level, which in turn puts pressure on businesses, large organisations and governments to make the large-scale changes that need to happen.

Be prepared

Make a household plan(external link) to respond to risks and natural hazards such as extreme weather events, drought, fire and flooding.

Our Be Prepared webpage(external link) has plenty of useful tips and things to consider to help ensure you and your loved ones are ready for an emergency at home, work, at school and in your community.

Getting around

Collectively, petrol and diesel vehicles are our biggest sources of emissions. Walking or going by bike, bus, scooter, ride-share or an elective vehicle (EV) instead are all ways to help, and can also save time and money. Even if you start with just one low-emission trip a week, it all counts. 

For businesses

Businesses and consumers can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, save money and be more energy-efficient. Consider changing the vehicles in your fleet, updating the power-hungry equipment in your office, buying from environmentally-friendly local suppliers or encouraging your staff to carpool.

Here are some handy resources.

For schools

Our tamariki and rangatahi are the leaders of tomorrow. The Learning Through Action programme encourages students to get creative and find innovative ideas for meaningful climate action.

The safe and sustainable school travel programme is designed to support schools in making travelling to school safer. More children walking and biking helps to lower carbon emissions, and is great exercise.

Enviroschools is an environmental action-based programme where young people are encouraged to design and lead sustainability projects in their schools and community.

More resources

Climate change at school: resources for teachers and students | Ministry for the Environment(external link)

Keen to know more?

There are heaps of handy resources online with tips for what you can do to lower your emissions. Visit GenLess (external link)or It's Time Canterbury(external link)  for some ideas to get you started.