E rima ngā mahi hei kaupare i te āhuarangi hurihuri
Five ways to take climate action

We all play a part in making Wellington a net zero carbon capital by reducing emissions. We’ve highlighted some actions you can start taking right now to make a difference.

A future worth changing for

Imagine a future where the air we breathe is clean and healthy, our homes and workplaces are powered by renewable energy, active/public transport is the norm and our environment and ecosystems are thriving.

Our current way of life relies heavily on the burning of fossil fuels like petrol, diesel and natural gas for travel, what we buy, what we eat, where and how we build places to live and work, and the energy we use. Over time our activities have created a climate and ecological emergency. Because we caused the problem, we also have the chance to work together to make a change and create a net zero capital by 2050.

We need to make the biggest changes to how we live, work and play between now and the end of the decade. We have a role in making climate action possible by supporting urgent action in our communities, as does Central Government and businesses. 

It's going to take all of us working together to more than halve our city's emissions by 2030.

Make a meaningful difference in your everyday life 

1. Move with zero or low carbon transport options

When you can, get around in zero or low carbon ways. Active transport is the best option, alongside public transport and share schemes like Mevo, Cityhop, Beam and Flamingo. Walk, run, bike, scoot, skate, train, bus, ferry and fly far less often.

We're working on improving Wellington's transport system so you have more options to travel sustainably.  

For travel outside Wellington, think about taking a train or a bus or carpooling with others. If you have to fly, offset your flights.

2. Live more sustainably and connect with what matters to you

In traditional Māori knowledge, there's an interconnectedness between all living and non-living things; a sense of the place, a sense of community, an opportunity to stay grounded in our physical, spiritual and social world. 

Connecting with what matters most in your everyday life will help protect the people, places and lifestyle we love. This can be as simple as taking a walk in the green belt, visiting coastal rock pools with your kids, or planting a native tree. Living local – close to your work, schools, shops and services – as well as composting if you can are others things your can do.

You could also think about getting more involved in your community. 

3. Eat more plant-based foods, with healthy portions and no waste.

What we eat makes a big difference to our personal carbon footprint. Eating a mostly plant-based diet can have a positive impact on our health and our environment. Refresh your eating habits – and save money at the same time.

  • Grow your kai – herbs on your windowsill, lettuces or purple potatoes/taewa in a planter pot, in your backyard or at a community garden.
  • Aim to eat a rainbow – more green, red, orange and yellow veges, meat-free meals (or try plant-based alternatives to meat), less dairy and overall go for quality, not quantity.
  • Support farmers and producers in your area, especially those who are doing their part to protect the environment. Community Supported Agriculture and food cooperatives schemes can help you shop locally, sustainably, and ethically.
  •  Check out the carbon emissions of your food using New Zealand Food Emissions Database and see how production, processing, packaging and transport contribute to the overall carbon of your food choices.
  •  Waste as little food as possible, and compost what food waste couldn't be avoided. Visit lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz for some excellent resources, or think about joining sharewaste.org.nz.

Want to know more?

4. Buy better

Try to score second-hand bargains, go for quality so things will last longer, and aim to follow the waste hierarchy – refuse, repair, reduce, re-use, recycle or rot.

Everything we buy comes with a carbon price tag. Fast fashion, single-use plastics and products designed to last only until the next update all have a big impact on our climate.

Products create carbon to produce, package, ship and sell, so why not give mindful shopping a go. Next time you get an urge to do some retail therapy, ask yourself:

  1. Do I really need it?
  2. How long will this product last?
  3. What is the climate impact of making and transporting this product?
  4. What will happen to this product when I don’t need it anymore?
  5. How could I buy better?

When investing, check out the Mindful Money website to see how to ethically invest in KiwiSaver and funds.

5. Advocate for climate-positive change

We can also influence what happens in Wellington and across the country, especially when we work together to have our say. Take every opportunity you can to be vocal in support of the changes we need to create a low carbon city by 2030 and a net zero carbon city by 2050.

  • Kōrero about climate as often as you can. There are plenty of resources to help you have productive conversations with your whānau, friends, community and decision makers about climate action. Learn more with info from The Workshop.
  • Keep learning! – read, research and ask questions. Our Climate change in Wellington pages are a great place to start.
  • Add your voice to local and national consultations; wear a climate-positive t-shirt, make submissions, write letters, post on social channels.
  • Let your money do the talking. It’s easy to find out how sustainable your investments are. Check out your Kiwi Saver for starters.
  • Climate change is a political ‘hot potato’. Elected officials respond to the needs and interests of their electorate, so you can influence what they say and do by voting, lobbying or getting involved in politics yourself. It’s never too soon - New Zealand citizens over the age of 18 can stand for council and central government.

Climate action has huge co-benefits like equity, community, improved health, cost savings, warmer homes, increased green spaces - more of the things we care about.

Local and central government policies can strongly influence the systems that create most of Wellington’s emissions, like transport, electricity generation and the design of our buildings. We're working behind the scenes to help change the systems we don’t control. Find out more about how we're advocating for climate action.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases generated by your everyday behaviour and actions. Check out the FutureFit website by Gen Less, which gives a snapshot of your personal impact on the planet and suggests positive changes to reduce your emissions. You can also track your changing footprint over time.

Toitu’s free carbon calculators let you calculate your household and travel emissions. You can also visit Toitu.co.nz or Ekos.org.nz to explore offsetting your emissions.

Here's a climate action plan template to start making changes today: Climate action plan (577KB PDF)