Great Information

This is possibly the most important blog post I’ll write all year.

I’m often asked “what can I do that will actually make a difference to climate change?” Sometimes that question is followed up by “that won’t cost me anything,” and “ideally I wouldn’t have to change anything.” While I’m happy to offer advice on the first question it’s typically a bit more challenging to answer with the latter two in mind.

I’m happy to report there IS something you can do that will make a difference. It won’t cost you a cent. You don’t have to change anything. It’ll take you less than 20 minutes. You can do it sitting at the computer. And you can get it out of the way this week.
Sold?
Read on.

New Zealand's Climate Change Target On the 7th of May NZ’s Climate Change Issues Minister, Hon Tim Groser, called for public submissions on New Zealand‘s post
2020 climate change target. The Ministry for the Environment issued a Discussion Document stating “The Government is seeking views on New Zealand’s post-2020 climate change contribution under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This discussion document provides information about the issues and trade-offs involved in setting our contribution and explains how to have your say.”
This is the first time in six years the NZ public have been invited by the Government to consult on climate change.

Why now?

http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/enWell, in November-December of this year there is a hugely important climate change meeting in Paris: the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), otherwise known as “Paris 2015” that 196 countries/states will be coming together in order to

“achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C”

Side note: If you’re interested in reading the authoritative voice on why keeping global warming below 2°C is important you can check out the IPCC synthesis report. It’s a tough read (in more ways than one), but it’s the real deal. You’ll see how great the challenge is to keep global warming below 2°C and how ambitious our goals are going to have to be to achieve it.

Back to why now…
All 196 countries/states that have ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including NZ, are obliged to release what they intend to do towards keeping global warming below 2°C beyond 2020. These intentions are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The New Zealand Government are planning to submit NZ’s intentions in August of this year, and are seeking public input for their formal proposal.

World Resource InstituteThe World Resource Institute outlines (and I’m paraphrasing hard here to keep things succinct) “A good INDC should be ambitious..transparent… and equitable.” They go on to say “An INDC should also articulate how the country is integrating climate change into other national priorities, such as sustainable development and poverty reduction, and send signals to the private sector to contribute to these efforts.”

Okay. Then what?
These intentions will form a new international agreement and according to the World Resource Institute

“the INDCs will largely determine whether the world achieves an ambitious 2015 agreement and is put on a path toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.”

So, back to the task at hand.
Where do I come into all this?

We (read: you) have a rare (and very easy) opportunity to let our Government know what the scale of our contribution should be towards this global issue by completing an online submission. I know that you care about this. You’re reading a blog post about it.

Like me, this might be your first submission to the government on any given issue. I can assure you the process is painless, heck even straight forward. So straight forward I’ve been able to summarise it in three steps below.

This is how I recommend you could undertake the submission process:

  1. Read the discussion document here
    This is what our Government believes is appropriate for NZ.
    Consider reading what others have to say on our (NZ’s) contribution and other countries too. Suggested reading below.
    My advice, don’t read this document at face value, apply a critical eye to it – is it ambitious enough?
  2. Complete the six questions on the online submission page here before 5.00pm, Wednesday 3 June 2015.
    If you’re not feeling confident about what you think you should say, check out the “Help with your submission” section below.
  3. Share this process with (at least) one other person you know would like to have a say.
    Easiest way is to share via Facebook

 

Suggested reading/watching:

Help with your submission
Onboard and ready to go, just don’t know what to say?

The following organisations have setup some great tools to assist with your submission (or just submit directly from their websites).

They’ve provided template answers to the questions posed. These are a great place to start, you can copy and paste them and adapt them to your personal point of view. Check them out.

Generation Zero - Fix Our FutureGeneration Zero – Fix Our Future

Greens – Get Loud

… and there are probably others…

Don’t forget the World Resource Institute calls for ambitious, transparent and equitable contributions. If nothing more, ask the government to ensure their contribution is all of those things. (That is a powerful one-liner to submit!)

Alternatively drop me a line, give me a call, buy me a glass of wine, or skype in for a chat about it. You know I’d love to talk about this stuff whether we’re on the same page or not!

I’ve definitely got some opinions on what is presented in the Discussion Document and am happy to share (just didn’t to muddy the waters here!).

Please. Take this easy and free (!) opportunity to show our Government that the citizens they represent think minimising the effects of climate change both now and in the future is important.
Otherwise, how else will the Government know?

 

It’s brunch o’clock on Sunday. If you’re anything like me the decision of where to go for decent nosh can be crippling at the best of times (early morning decision making is not a strength in this household). Or maybe you’re visiting a new city and you haven’t the foggiest idea of where to turn for good food.

The idea of ‘good food’ is of course relative to the person, the situation and perhaps whether you’re suffering from the ‘Sunday-morning-flu’. These days ‘good food’ can mean more than just who in town has the best hollandaise on their eggs benedict.

 A delicious and entirely local dinner from Roots Restaurant, Lyttleton
Good food can be much broader and depending on what you value it can encompass such things as ethically sourced ingredients; free-range and organic options; food that is prepared in a sustainable environment, where waste is minimised and managed smartly; perhaps has sustainably caught seafood on the menu; and ideally uses fantastic in-season, local ingredients.

 

Up until recently it has been incredibly difficult to judge which businesses do well at this stuff. Enter the good folk at Conscious Consumers NZ. These guys and gals have come up with an accreditation scheme to help consumers make more sustainable and ethical choices in the hospitality sector. One of the best things about this system is that it is incredibly easy to use and is *free* for consumers to use. Businesses that sign up and pay the annual fee are are awarded any mix of up to 12 ‘badges’ in areas they can prove they perform in. Ultimately the scheme functions via a *free* app where you can check out who locally (limited cities in NZ currently as they build the brand) is operating within 12 areas of sustainability. These badges fit neatly within three categories,  Smart waste, ethical products and community. This way you can identify the values that you most closely align with, be it organic, eco-packaging or sustainable seafood.

   
 Local  Generosity
     
 BYO containers  Recycling  Eco-packaging  Composting  Eco-cleaners
         
Free range Fair trade Sustainable Seafood Vegetarian/Vegan Organic

Businesses are reviewed annually to ensure they still fit the criteria of the badges they hold. Businesses pay an annual fee to be profiled on the Conscious Consumer website as part of the package. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of the accreditation process you can check this out.

Fancy a deal?

On the app you can set your preferences of cities and favourite businesses. From time to time businesses offer rewards or deals to customers that use the app.

Sometimes you’ll see a sign in a shop, usually at the counter with a QR code on it advertising either their business and/or their current deal. 

 

Bravo

This is a great, if not basic, way to identify businesses that share the same values as you and support them with your custom. The app is free and I recommend you give it a whirl. It’s not hugely scientific, but it is evidence based. Personally I think this is a great start in the right direction and primarily exists with the well-meaning consumer (that’s you) in mind.

Conscious Consumer app does the hard work for you!

 

Feel good factor

It’s great to see that these like-minded businesses can measure their positive impacts.

Check out these stats (correct at time of publishing, otherwise see up-to-date stats here)

Each year our businesses spend $1,002,000 on organic food and beverages.

Each year our businesses spend $9,538,100 on local food and beverages.

Each year our businesses save 1,311,300 containers potentially going to landfill.

Each year our businesses help 21,200 animals avoid factory-style farming.

Why not download the app now? It’s available on both apple and android platforms from here

Colmar Brunton conducted a survey in 2014, their sixth, monitoring New Zealanders’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviours around sustainability.
The report published at the end of the survey is a visual snapshot of their findings and is easily digested in infographic format.

#FTW Colmar Brunton!

CB1

CB2

CB3

You can check the report out for yourself here

There were a few pleasant surprises in there for me.

CB4       CB5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some great perspectives that also heartened me.

The future face of capitalism will be defined by delivering value and values.
Those that embrace this reality & adapt will find extraordinary opportunities.
Those that ignore it will do so at their peril.

JOHN GARZONE & MICHAEL D’ANTONIO
The Power of The Post-Recession Consumer

I would definitely encourage you to check out this positive and thought provoking read.

I’d love to hear if anything in particular surprised or struck a chord with you, comments encouraged.