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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?

 

Social Plastic® is a simple idea to reduce the need to produce any more virgin plastic (most of which are petrol based products) when recycled and ethically traded plastic is a viable option.

Some clever entrepreneurs David Katz and Shaun Frankson have started The Plastic Bank.

The Plastic Bank focuses on developing nations with high levels of plastic pollution in their waterways and oceans. Locals are rewarded by collecting plastic that is lining their beaches and waterways which provides them with an income/supplementary income. The collected plastic is then turned into viable products, and can be done so within the community with their own opensource recyclebot – a 3D printer that can be used to produce items needed within that community. Or it can be sent to a nearby Plastic Bank affiliated centre to be utilised in many different ways. Companies can then purchase this commodity and make their own products out of it and can promote their use of Social Plastic® to consumers that value non-virgin materials.
Lush (North America) were the first company to trial the use of Social Plastic® for their Charity Pot products.
Katz and Frankson hope that consumers start to request Social Plastic® in the goods that they buy, creating more demand and an ethical and sustainable option where plastic is required.

Check out the three minute clip for an overview.

ethically sourced plastic that helped improve someone elses life and kept plastic from coming into the ocean

– Shaun Frankson

Pretty clever system really: cleanup waterways; create jobs where they’re needed most; create plastic products from non-virgin plastic supplies. #winning

You can follow The Plastic Bank on Facebook and other social media platfoms, here.
They also encourage supporters to sign their digital petition to show demand for Social Plastic® and create awareness of the conscious consumer movement.

And for further food for thought…

Image sourced from: https://www.facebook.com/PlasticBank

Image sourced from: https://www.facebook.com/PlasticBank

 

 

 

 

Shake and fold

BY 10 January 2015 Great Ideas

One little innocuous thing we do everyday can have a massive positive impact and it won’t cost you a cent.

All it takes is four minutes of your time now to share in this great, simple idea.