Friday, 19 December 2014

6 ways to have a low-emissions Christmas and New Years

By Judd Ormsby

This is the last post on this site for the year so I thought I’d try make it a fun one. In this post I take a look at six fun ideas that might help you reduce your emissions. If you have some more ideas drop them in the comments below.


1) Quit your job!

Okay maybe that’s a bit extreme, but the best predictor of consumption emissions seems to be your expenditure.  But if you are considering cutting back your hours, well now you know it could help the planet. (Actually it’s ultimately humans you’re helping, not so much the planet. Planets don’t have feelings.)

2) Save, don’t spend. Enjoy more leisure and less consumption

My colleagues having a jam at our Christmas party

Quitting your job isn’t the only way to reduce your spending. Saving money is a less drastic alternative (so long as you’re not just saving up for a hummer). Contrary to popular belief, even economists know that there is more to life than money.  Basic micro-theory (of labour) is all about consumption vs. leisure trade-offs. Spend time learning an instrument, or maybe try to finish reading the internet (once I finish I’ll have so much more time!).

3) When you do spend money, spend it on services.

Let’s face it, swapping consumption for leisure can only go so far before it becomes a real drag. Services, by their nature, are more labour-intensive than other goods. People aren’t as dirty (at least in a GHG sense – promise) as fossil fuels. So when you swap fossil fuel-intensive goods for products that employ more people you are reducing your carbon footprint.

So get circus lessons.  Go to your favourite restaurant. Watch a play.

4) Listen to your mother and eat your veges.

Veges are less carbon-intensive than cows. Hops counts. So enjoy a local craft beer and tell your mates you’re saving the planet.

5) Swim, don’t shower. 


This one is especially relevant this summer. You won’t need to shower every day if you’re regularly swimming at the beach these holidays. You will lower your electricity bill as well as save some GHGs.

6) Have a kiwi Christmas.

The preliminary results from my colleagues’ consumption emissions work suggests New Zealanders are flying overseas more and more even after controlling for other factors. Now I’m not saying don’t travel (because, when I stop spending all my discretionary income on restaurants, I’m gunna) but it is something to think about given all the beautiful spots we have here in NZ.

Me and my fellow bloggers will be off enjoying the festive season for the next couple of weeks, so in the meantime have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

1 comment:

  1. I love your sense of fun, it sounds like a call to value home grown and local and in terms of consumption to downsize. Is it also about choosing not to have wealth as a goal?

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