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 and offsetting emissions. We’ve highlighted some key areas and actions you can start taking right now.

A future worth changing for

Imagine a future where:

  • the air we breathe in our cities is clean and healthy
  • our homes and workplaces are powered by clean energy that works with our environment
  • everyone has a home, and it is a place that keeps them warm and healthy
  • our streets are open to people walking and using bikes, and most of us have the option to take public transport that is affordable and doesn't put carbon into our atmosphere
  • our environment and ecosystems that sustain us are protected for all of us and our mokopuna to enjoy.

Unfortunately, our current way of life relies heavily on the burning of fossil fuels. This includes:

  • how we travel locally, nationally and internationally
  • how we make the stuff we buy
  • what food we eat
  • the places we build to live and work in
  • how we heat our homes and entertain ourselves.

Over time these activities have created a climate and ecological emergency. But the great news is, because we made this system, together we can remake it to be zero carbon and regenerative.

We need to make the biggest reductions in our carbon emissions between now and 2030, and make significant changes to how we live, work and play. Acting on climate change matters, for our environment, our health and our wellbeing.

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 halve our city's carbon footprint by 2030.

1. Connect with what matters

In traditional Māori knowledge, there's an understanding of the interconnectedness and relationship between all living and non-living things.

Take time to recognise how we are connected to the world around us. Connect to a sense of the place, a sense of community, and stay grounded in the physical and social world we're a part of.

This connection is a climate action in and of itself - take the time to remember what is important to you, and why you are wanting to take action. Connect with others who are on the same journey and take opportunities to re-connect with the land.

This can be as simple as taking a walk in the green belt, visiting coastal rock pools with your kids, or planting a tree. Consider getting involved in your community.

Here are some ways to start.

Arbor Day tree planting
Arbor Day tree planting

2. Advocate for change

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

Here are some ways to start:

  • Feel empowered by understanding the issue - take an interest and research climate change, climate technologies, climate action, the potential impacts on the capital, and anything else that takes your interest. Our Climate change in Wellington pages are a great place to start.
  • Learn how to communicate about climate action - there are lots of resources to help you have productive conversations with your community and decision makers about climate action. Learn more with these resources from The Workshop.
  • Communicate your values - take part in local and national consultations to ensure your voice is heard.
  • Take political action - as a democracy, your elected officials respond to the needs and interests of their electorate. You can do this through voting or lobbying to make your voice heard, or by becoming actively involved in politics. New Zealand citizens over the age of 18 can stand for council and central government.

We're doing our part to influence the systems we don’t have control over. Find out more about how we're advocating for climate action.

3. Get around with zero carbon

Imagine a Wellington where a bus came every ten minutes, had its own congestion-free lane and there was a separated bike route to your kid’s school so they can get there safely.

We're working on improvements to Wellington's transport system to give you more options for low and zero carbon ways to travel, through Let's Get Wellington Moving and the Bike Network Plan. These changes are intended to deliver easier, safer, reliable zero or low carbon transport options. Make sure you take the time to have your say on these proposals. These changes will take some time, so in the short term use zero or low carbon transport when you can, such as:

  • walking
  • biking
  • public transport
  • car share schemes or e-scooters
  • carpooling
  • electric cars.

For more information on what we can do to change how we get around the city visit our low carbon transport pages. For travel outside Wellington, why not think about taking a train or a bus or carpooling with others. If you have to fly, offset your flights and look forward to flying electric one day.

Did you know? Changing the way we get around is the biggest thing we can do to reduce emissions.

4. Eat more plant-based foods

What we eat is a large part of a personal carbon footprint. Eating a mostly plant-based diet can make a big difference to both the climate and our own health.

Here are some ways to change eating habits:

  • Reduce meat and dairy. Start by cutting meat from a few meals each week, or simply reducing the amount of meat and going for quality, not quantity. Increase veggies, and try plant-based alternatives to meat.
  • If there's time and green space, learn how to grow food sustainably, or try joining or starting a community garden.
  • 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.

Being more mindful of the food we eat is a climate action we can take every day and is also great for our health. Want to know more?

5. Buy better

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.

As a consumer, changing what we buy tells manufacturers we want them to be more responsible for what they make.

Products create carbon to produce, package, ship and sell, so we need to make sure our purchases count. Be mindful when shopping and 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 we buy better we're:

  • buying products that will last
  • choosing products that can be repaired
  • buying only what we really need
  • buying products made of materials that will decompose back into the soil.

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