Research shows we can reduce emissions by more than a quarter just by making a handful of specific lifestyle changes and creating a society of less stuff, and more joy.
The seven “shifts” are part of a new Take The Jump (Kia Māia te Peke) initiative being piloted by the Nelson Tasman Climate Forum. It provides a glimmer of inspiration in a time when there is often little hopeful news around the climate. Our political leaders can appear conflicted in their approach to climate change and scientists are warning we may be locked into at least 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures.
The Take The Jump shifts give us some hope of staying within those 1.5 degrees and avoiding ecological breakdown – if made within the next 10 years. When adopted across a population, these behavioural changes will also pull businesses and Government away from fossil fuels.
The Jump message is powerful because it is underpinned by foundational values that are supportive and encouraging:
- Trying is enough.
- No more ‘us and them’ (no shaming)
- Live for joy, not for stuff (more creativity, comedy, camaraderie, crafts)
- Those living in relative comfort must ‘Take the Jump’ most urgently
- Try alternatives to a mindset and culture defined by consumerism
You can Take The Jump yourself and then share your experience. Some of the shifts might seem impossible at first, but they can be approached in small steps. Try one for a month, and see how it feels. You can pledge for one, two or three months on the TTJ website and receive regular emails and updates to help with the shifts. https://www.takethejump.org.nz/
When you sign up on the website, you will also have access to a global online hub where you can connect with other Kiwis who are taking the jump and see what groups are doing around the world.
Keep electronic products for at least seven years. This will mean more repairing rather than replacing, and not succumbing to adverts that make you think you need the next new thing now.
The Nelson Tasman region has the highest number of vehicles per person in the country, and Aotearoa New Zealand has the highest number of vehicles per person of any major country in the world, more than the USA and Australia. Where practical, make the shift from car to public transport, or to walking or biking. It’s better for your health, your budget, and the planet.
Move to a mostly plant-based diet. This means replacing most of the meat and dairy we eat with plant-based alternatives which are lower in overall emissions. The closer to entirely plant-based the better, though not everyone may go all the way.
The upper limit for meat consumption is 16kg a year (so try a maximum of 300g per week) and 90kg of dairy (so try a maximum of 1.7kg per week). Support our biodiversity and native forests by choosing wild pig, deer, or goat meat. Customary harvesting of seafood and some birds by local iwi is another sustainable practice.
Dispose of waste mindfully. If we have no food waste (or as close as possible) it means we have made the most of all the resources and emissions associated with producing food and getting it on your plate.
The clothing and textile industry emits more greenhouse gases than the aviation industry. Try to buy no more than three new items of clothing per year. Don’t worry – this doesn’t include socks, underwear or shoes! And of course, there’s free rein on all used clothing. The Nelson Tasman region punches well above its weight in the second-hand shop stakes with Nelson itself having 23 second-hand shops while Tasman has 17.
Choose holiday destinations that are closer to home, and book flights strategically. The sustainable amount to fly is one short-haul return flight (destination <1500km) every three years. A long-haul return flight is sustainable once every eight years, depending on how far you’re flying. We can still see the world: flying abroad 10 times over a lifetime, or travelling more slowly overland to different places.
Perform at least one act to help preserve or restore New Zealand’s native bush and wetlands.
The research shows that all the changes above can amount to about 25% of the emission reductions we need. But there’s still a huge chunk of emissions coming from government and the private sector. The JUMP outlines a few changes that will nudge the system, including switching to an ethical bank or pension fund, improving energy efficiency at home or participating in protests and writing submissions to your local council.