101 Ways to Remedy Climate Change

To: The Climate Change Issues Minister Mr Tim Groser

The climate belongs to all of us: it is owned by us in common. So we all receive it’s benefits, but have the responsibility not to destroy it. If we fail to meet that responsibility, we will surely destroy ourselves.

But you and your fellow Ministers say that taking action to remedy climate change will ruin our New Zealand economy. I can only assume therefore that you are quite happy with the converse: preserve our economy by ruining nature.

Preserving our economy means continually increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This may have contributed to our wellbeing in the past, but now GDP is increased by:

  • Eating more to consume more agricultural produce, which increase GDP. As we eat more, we get fatter thereby increasing the consumption of health services, which increases GDP
  • Drinking more alcoholic beverages to consume more produce from the beverage industry, which increases GDP. As a consequence of consuming more alcohol, more police, justice and medical services are consumed in dealing with the problems, all contributing to increased GDP.
  • Being unwell, so that we can consume more medicines and medical services, all of which increases GDP. A serious outbreak of health would result in a substantial drop in GDP, a depression even, so a serious outbreak in health should be avoided at all costs.
  • Taking longer to commute to and from work, because we use more cars, need more roads and consume more fuel, all of which increases GDP. The more we pollute the atmosphere from commuting, more health services we consume, all increasing GDP.
  • Buying more stuff and building bigger houses for more stuff, all good for GDP but research proves that these things don’t increase our happiness.
  • Having more earthquakes like the ones in Christchurch because the rebuild increases GDP.
  • Making the houses we build and the goods we buy of such quality that they wear out quicker because constantly replacing them increases GDP. Things that last a long time don’t increase GDP and therefore aren’t good for the economy.
  • Keeping busy and working harder because this all increases GDP. It doesn’t matter that what we produce is meaningful or doesn’t benefit people, like gambling on house prices, currency, shares and financial instruments. All that matters is being busy, because busy-ness increases GDP. Why do you think commercial activity is called business?

So preserving our economy is ruining nature and our wellbeing. Isn’t it time to change to an economy that preserves nature and make us happy? Because if we don’t change our economy voluntarily, climate change will certainly change it for us. And if we don’t focus on happiness, our nation will surely tear itself apart.

I make this submission to you Mr Groser as a citizen of New Zealand. Most of your submissions will come from corporates, because a few of privileged people at the top of the corporates benefit from the status quo. They have the resources to persuade you to maintain that status quo to maintain their monetary benefits, or to make changes in a way which they can exploit for their monetary gain.

Please be reminded that corporates are not citizens of New Zealand.

So I give to you 101 Ways to Remedy Climate Change:

Food

1. Grow your own food
2. Eat less processed food – processed food uses more energy than raw food
3. Prohibit/impose tariffs on the import of any food which can be produced in NZ. Accept that other countries will do the same and in doing so, will reduce world transport energy consumption
4. Drink water from the tap, not from a one use plastic drink bottle
5. Eliminate sugar based beverages – the embodied energy in the water content is substantially greater than tap water, there is considerable embodied energy in the aluminium/plastic bottle (including disposal to a landfill) and the refined sugar content is unhealthy
6. Reduce the number of pets kept – they consume vast quantities of imported food. Adopt a chicken as a pet – they eat food scraps and produce eggs/meat.

Soils

7. Ban synthetic herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and other biocides – they destroy micro-organisms in the soil, especially mycorrhizal fungi, which are essential to sequester carbon in the soil. This includes use on farms, gardens, forests, parks, road sides and in respect of aquatic plants
8. Ban use of synthetic chemical fertilisers for the same reason as above, as well as reducing the energy content in manufacturing, distribution and application of such fertilisers
9. Restore/increase soil micro-organisms via actively aerated compost teas, worm farms, compost and mulches
10. Restore/increase mycorrhizal fungi into soil by direct application and by selecting trees/plant species that increase such fungi
11. Increase tree/plant species that maximise carbon sequestration in soil and restoration of soil micro-organisms
12. Minimise bare ground – keep soil planted and use no till cultivation, or at least, minimum till

Farming

13. Change animal feed to reduce methane ‘exhalation’ from their digestive system ie. by use of biochar, tannin and oils
14. Don’t dehorn cattle and goats – the horns improve digestive function, reducing methane emissions
15. Create multi-species pastures and decrease monoculture pastures
16. Prevent soil degradation by optimising stock numbers, increasing stock rotation, adopting ‘knee-high’ pasture grazing management,  and creating stand off pads
17. Make biogas from fermentation of cow excreta collected from milking and other sheds
18. Decrease stock numbers, increase crops/trees for biofuels
19. Companion plant into crops
20. Create herbal leys under orchards and vineyards – not cultivated bare ground which releases carbon

Gardening

21. Increase shrubs and small trees (especially berries, fruit and nut trees)
22. Decrease lawn area – decreases use of motor mower, increases plants to absorb carbon dioxide and increases the area of soil to sequester carbon
23. Compost, worm farm and mulch to keep kitchen and garden waste out of landfills and to increase soil micro-organisms
24. Create community gardens and promote landsharing – connect gardeners without land to land, so they can grow their own food
25. Increase the use of hand tools (broom, saw, scythe, hedge cutter, spade, hoe) and decrease motorised tools (leaf blower, chainsaw, weed-wacker, roto-tiller)

Forestry

26. Ban clear-fell harvesting of forests – selective/rotational logging ensures that the carbon absorbing capacity of the forest remains
27. Plant multi-species forests to increase food production (nuts and bee fodder), carbon sequestration and soil micro-organisms
28. Plant coppice forests for animal feed, bio-fuel, fibre production, wood products and to sequester carbon
29. Use harvest shreddings and off-cuts for bio-fuel and to make biochar

Urban Planning

30. Create urban villages
31. Build many mini markets, rather than large central supermarkets, located within walking distance of people homes
32. More, smaller schools, within walking distance of pupil’s home – not large schools that require students to bus/car.
33. Circulate speciality teachers between schools and Link schools online with speciality teachers
34. Locate medical care within walking distance of people’s homes and link health practitioners online with specialist facilities
35. Prohibit subdividers imposing restrictive covenants on titles, most of which promote large houses and homogenous subdivisions. A variety of housing is required to suit all sectors of the population. Control property use in district plans developed to remedy climate change, not restrictive covenants that contribute to it.
36. Integrate housing and work places, not separate them. Today there are very few industries that are not housing friendly

City/Town

37. Turn street lights off after 12am
38. In parks and reserves, increase proportion of shrubs/trees to grass
39. Reduce liquor licensing law closing time to 12am

Roads

40. Plant berry bushes, fruit and nut trees and vegetables on kerbsides
41. Plant shrubs and small tree planting on road/motorways to increase vehicle carbon dioxide exhaust absorption at source and to increase carbon sequestration
42. Decrease road size by maximising one way roads to release increased areas for cycle/walk ways and plantable kerbside spaces
43. Build less roads and more stand alone cycle lanes and walkways

Housing

44. Build smaller houses rather than bigger houses – they have less embodied energy, use less energy to run and occupy less land area
45. For new builds, cover roof tops with plants and/or solar panels
46. Rates reduction for retrofit of existing houses to reduce energy use – PV panels, solar hot water, passive solar, solar curtains, insulation, etc.
47. Require landlords to retrofit rented houses to reduce energy use

At Home

48. Adjust hot water cylinder thermostat so that water no hotter than needed
49. Wrap hot water cylinder and water piping with insulation
50. Optimise use of windows/doors to air condition a house, not electric air conditioners
51. Optimise fridge/freezer energy use – purchase a super insulated freezer/fridge and keep freezer full – if not full of food, put in plastic bottles of water to temporarily fill the space
52. Change light bulbs to fluorescents or LED’s, and turn off surplus lights
53. Minimise household gadgets and appliances
54. Compost/worm farm all biodegradables
55. Separate rubbish and lobby local authority to pick up separated rubbish
56. Shop with shopping bags, don’t use plastic bags
57. Install an energy efficient shower head
58. Dry washing on clothes line outside or in garage/carport, not an electric clothes dryer
59. Turn heating thermostat down a little and put on a jersey
60. Don’t buy hard copy newspapers and magazines, read them online
61. Buy less stuff

Work

62. Legislate so that computer workers have the right to work from home 50% of the work week
63. Improve internet fibre network to cover all of NZ
64. Improve teleconferencing/telemeeting, online education and online access to information held in public libraries
65. Legislate for flexible working hours to minimise eight and five o’clock traffic so that commuting time is minimised
66. Adjust personal income tax rates according to work travel – those that work from home or walk/cycle to work pay less tax, those that take public transport pay a little more, those that travel by car pay more, those that travel by car long distances pay most

Workplace

67. Require landlords to achieve a minimum energy efficiency standard
68. Convert to a paperless office – eliminates the embodied energy in producing paper, the storage space for paper and the transport costs of distributing paper
69. Build smaller offices – less embodied energy to build and less energy to run

Energy Generation

70. Increase renewable generation – PV, hot water solar, wind, biofuels, hydro, wave
71. Increase distributed generation
72. Increase use of combined heat and power systems
73. Amend electricity marketing legislation so that household generators can distribute excess generation to family and friends ie. not via a monopoly market as is the requirement now
74. Implement feed in tariffs for household generation
75. Minimum efficiency rating for all woodburners and mandatory minimum dryness specification for all sales of fire wood
76. 100% electricity generation in NZ from renewable sources, funded by Government, including funding for household generation
77. Close the Bluff aluminium smelter and allocate the electricity to eliminate fossil fuel generation of electricity. Bauxite mines in Australia should be installing PV, or other, electricity generation to process aluminium at the mines.

Energy Conservation

78. For all new builds, mandatory requirement for double glazing, air leakage testing and window curtain installation (with minimum insulation rating)
79. Install passive energy absorbers – dark coloured concrete floors, trombe walls
80. Paint roofs white
81. Double the present mandatory requirement for ceiling insulation

Transport/Vehicles

82. Move goods to people, not people to goods
83. Move work to people at/close to home, not people to work
84. Electrify bikes, cars, trucks, buses and trains
85. Improve public transport
86. Dial a bus services
87. All vehicles have road user charge hubometers on them – larger cars pay higher RUC than smaller cars. No RUC for motorbikes or small electric cars
88. Car pool
89. Tax second/third cars per household
90. Reduce the speed limit

Air Transport

91. Tax air travellers proportionate to the time of stay at their destination – the longer they stay, the lesser the tax

Sea Transport

92. Passenger ferry service Auckland/Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane
93. Re-introduce sailing ships

Tourism

94. Increase homestay – additional guests only minimally increase resident’s base line energy use

Manufacturing

95. Manufacture more goods in NZ, import less
96. Impose tariffs on imported goods that can be manufactured in NZ
97. Export/import technology, ideas, education and online entertainment, not goods
98. Double GST input credit for goods recycled into or being components of new products and for components used to repair goods
99. Require ‘birth to birth’ specifications for all goods so that manufacturers take responsibility for what happens to goods at the end of their life
100. Require manufacturers to make a label statement as to how long their product will last
101. Buy local

16 June 2015 (updated 30 August 2017)

Tony Banks
15 Te Awa Road, Tamahere
Email: bankst@ihug.co.nz

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