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  • By Inge Bremer

Project aims to make Kerikeri carbon neutral

Kerikeri Primary School helping to reduce our footprint with planting along the Wairoa Stram

With this year’s very hot summer in the Northern hemisphere we are all aware that we need to change a bit.

Rod Brown of Vision Kerikeri has been thinking about this for some time and alerted us to the Ashton Hayes Carbon Neutral Project that has been operating since 2007. That village has reduced their carbon emissions by about 50%.

Here in Kerikeri we are aiming a little higher, because we are accounting not only for emissions, but also carbon absorption (sequestering) by trees.

Greater Kerikeri currently comprises around 11,200 people residing on about one thousandth of the area of New Zealand. Our group has teamed up with Waiheke Island, who are of a similar size and who also wanted to aim for carbon neutrality.We have formed the Carbon Neutral New Zealand Trust with two trustees from Kerikeri and two from Waiheke. The objective of the Trust is to provide the resources and tools for our communities (and any others who we hope will join us) so that we can get on with the job of reducing our collective carbon footprints. We believe that collectively we can achieve that. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

We are more familiar with the carbon emissions caused by cars, airplanes, and ships, but not so well informed about the great job our friends; the trees, the land, the compost, and the sea, are doing.

We hope that we can involve everyone in growing our knowledge about carbon accounting. We are never too young or old to start so we want to engage with the school children, their parents, and their grand parents. The data entered into our carbon calculator will be grouped by post code, so that we can identify what the carbon footprint is for each of the participating communities. We will show the comparison with New Zealand and world data, as far as that is available and relevant. If you enter data quarterly, you can soon start to see how that data is trending (down of course) and how you are faring relative to the various averages. Kerikeri will be the first town in New Zealand to source and track such data while Waiheke wants to be the first island to do so.

The teams at both Kerikeri and Waiheke are volunteers who are donating their time and knowledge to develop the resources on this website and to help others in the community on their carbon emission reduction journey. We are hoping to finance Carbon reduction initiatives by offering offset payments for such things as International Travel. These would be used to fund community actions like buying solar panels, e-bikes, waste recycling, and many more ideas that will help us to become carbon neutral.

We will be formally launching our project in October 2018.

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