The news of another flood or a record-breaking heatwave can be a concerning reminder that our climate is changing. You might be one of the many people who want to make a difference but don’t know where to start or what’s most effective. To help with this, Wellington City Council has started a series of practical interactive workshops for Wellingtonians who want to reduce the carbon emissions from their daily lives.
Run by a community facilitator, the two-hour weekly workshops bring together groups of interested locals and look at transport, energy use, waste, food, shopping habits and more over the course of five weeks.
Wellington city resident Megan Graham recently took part in the workshops with her husband and decided to join because she wanted to walk the talk for her kids, she says.
“My kids are now grown up and at the stage where they are defining their own values, and I don’t want to be left behind while they are doing so many positive things. I raised my kids to nurture the planet and I wanted to know what else I could do.”
Megan found that the course opened her eyes to a more holistic approach when it came to being sustainable.
“The course was great because it wasn’t about changing one thing in isolation, it’s about how everything works together. While you can recycle, you can also minimise your plastic consumption from the get-go when you’re shopping.
“We were looking at everyday habits that can be improved. For example, I used to turn on the jug and forget to make my tea, so I would just turn it on a few times before I poured the water. Turns out that I can save electricity by using it the first time. I’ve also started doing things like making my own cleaning solutions at home and changing the types of bathroom products we use - my husband now uses one of those old-fashioned razors!”
Another Wellingtonian who found the course extremely useful is 17-year-old Youth Councillor Maddalena Dal Sasso, who is two weeks out from finishing college and extremely passionate about climate action.
At college, she started an Enviro Club, organised dozens of sustainability events, and set up her own curbside-style food waste pick-up system, where her and other passionate club members go from classroom to classroom clearing bins once a week, and into an on-site worm farm.
She says that her passion for the environment started when she was young, so she joined Zero Together to get inspired for the future.
“I have always loved animals and the environment. I care so much about everything. In primary school I was writing to Council about putting bikes on buses, I walk everywhere or use public transport.”
“We learnt so many tangible things that we can do at home. Like you can change your lightbulbs to LED lights. The biggest thing it did for me was helping me get some enjoyment back in my life. I care about the environment so much that I reduced my life to the point that I couldn’t have a healthy and sustainable life, I stopped travelling out of Wellington.”
Maddalena is grateful that the course helped her bring some balance into daily life.
“Zero Together opened my eyes and taught me that most people are doing their best and doing small things every day, so I didn’t need to drop everything at once. I learnt that there were overnight buses and this was a more sustainable way to travel. After not leaving Wellington for years, I was able to visit some friends in Taranaki.
“This course gives you tangible, digestible content that is perfect for any audience. Little actions add up. You can make change. I would highly recommend it.”
To find out more about Zero Together, visit our website.