Your individual actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can make a big difference. There are many simple and low-cost ways to reduce your carbon footprint and prepare for the effects of climate change. These efforts also have other benefits such as health and economic benefits. Any steps taken in responding to climate change, no matter how big or small, is beneficial for everyone, businesses and communities.

Prepare for extreme events

Emergency Management Southland (EMS) has a number of helpful tips to get your home, business, and community ready for emergencies. Climate change projections and recent data show that climate induced extreme events are on the rise and are becoming more common and severe. Emergency plans are an important first step for climate resilience.

Looking after the vulnerable in your community

Those such as elderly, children and disabled people will be adversely affected by different climatic conditions. EMS encourages all communities to come together and talk about how to get ready and create a plan for during an emergency.

Know your carbon foot print

Measuring carbon footprint of your household or business will give you an idea of your impact on the climate and how to take measures to reduce emissions. Future Fit provides a household carbon calculator using New Zealand information. There are a number of agencies available for businesses to provide emissions calculation support. In the resources below, are links to MfE carbon calculator and suppliers of emissions expertise and services.

Energy efficient and warm homes

Energy efficient, warm and dry homes can reduce your power bills and keep you and your whanau healthy and happy. In the resources below there are some useful tips for making your home healthy.

Reduce your waste

What we produce and consume are dependent on energy and natural resources. Reducing your waste through sustainable consumption, reusing and recycling can reduce the energy and natural resource use. In turn contributing to emissions reduction. Southland District Council’s waste service activity focuses on protecting public health and reducing environmental impacts through waste collection, disposal, reduction, reuse and recycling. Reducing household food waste going into landfill is one of the key requirements to reduce waste related emissions.

Get active and reduce transport emissions

Transport is responsible for 17% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s gross emissions. In Southland, transport related greenhouse gas emissions stand at 6% of the overall gross emissions of the region. More than 50% of these emissions are from private vehicles, something that can be reduced. Using an active mode of transport such as walking, scooting, or cycling will help to reduce these emissions. Council are also assessing ways to improve required infrastructure to provide a better environment for walking and cycling. We are also exploring opportunities to include active transport into the next Activity Management Plan.

Water conservation

Pumping, purifying and distribution of drinking water add to Council’s emissions budget. Climate change projections for Southland show an increase in prolonged droughts and heatwave days in northern and central part of the district. This means the water levels in the district will be put under pressure. We must be mindful of our water use. In Southland, average consumption of water per resident per day is 891 litres. This is much higher than the national average, which is 227 litres. Water conservation practices improve our water efficiency and ability to face the impacts of climate change. There are many low cost or free tools that can provide tips for water saving on Council’s website.