Starting with Carbon - Mitchell

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Mitchell shares how he went from a cynic to a wanna be Greta Thunberg in the space of a few years after just getting started.

Tell us about yourself

I am a father of 2 wonderful children, based in Christchurch. I love “attempting” to make a difference in the world.

What’s your environment story?

I grew up spending a lot of time in nature, we are lucky like that in New Zealand. But over the course of high school and university I suppose I started to take it for granted.

After working as a tour guide around the country, I realised all of the wonderful moods our scenery has and just how lucky we are to live with such wonderful natural resources on our doorstep. After talking with so many international visitors, I started to look into forests around the world and what I found made me genuinely sad.

Tell us about your first step into climate action?

Now I have never been an eco warrior and I am definitely guilty of not living the perfect life by our Mother Earth. But my first step came when a work colleague of mine suggested that I get a reusable water bottle. I had been drinking water from bottles for a long time and I had never considered changing, even though I would say I hated plastic bottles if you asked me.

I did what she said and purchased a green reusable water bottle. Pretty much straight after the purchase I felt like I had just saved the planet, and then my workmate said that if I ever threw the bottle away it would be more harmful than all the plastic I had thrown away in the past. Now I never googled that, but I swore from that moment that I would only use that bottle if I was not in the vicinity of a cup.

It slowly became a habit and I have carried that bottle around for a solid 5 years. My goal is to never replace it.

How has your lifestyle changed now?

After successfully transitioning to the trusty reusable water bottle, I started to wean myself from other non-reusable products, my next step was ditching the dreaded takeaway coffee cup. I got myself a keep cup and was able to eliminate 99% of takeaway coffee cups from my life. I now have a whole new view on takeaway dining, it has made me slow down whenever I am dining out and think about the options I have. For example if I forget my keep cup I just sit down, drink the coffee and enjoy the café.

Now that I feel comfortable getting rid of non-reusables, I have started to look at my travel habits. At the start of this year I started biking to work. I will admit, it is an e-bike, but to be honest it has been an awesome experience.

I tried doing some vegetarian meals and failed miserably, so I will need to have another go at that soon. But my wife and I now talk on a weekly basis about how we could change something we are doing to improve our overall footprint, sometimes it is just a talk, but other times it leads to us changing the products we use around the house.

How have you learnt about carbon credits?

A lot of reading of free articles online and talking to people about it. It is a very new space but I think it is the commodity that represents environmental value. There is a lot of scientific argument about if it is the right system and all that jazz, but I am just happy that there is something I can learn about and act upon to start making a difference to my daily habits. 

Why do you think it’s important to talk about climate change?

Because we are effed if we don’t. It scares the bejesus out of me what our kids might have to go through if we don’t look after all the wonderful species on this planet.

What are your environmental goals?

My goal is to be able to trade carbon so that any profits can be used to offset my footprint. I would like to be able to proudly say that I am a carbon positive human. I was once told that human activity extracts environmental value to create human value, but we need to rethink that, we need to create environmental value at the same time as creating human value, if we can't do that then we should not do the activity.

What would you say to someone who doesn’t think going green is for them?

Just get started, do something really small that is meaningful to you. Ignore the people that say you have to do everything today. Making a change to a small habit gets you thinking about it consciously and then it all starts to break down into small actions that are manageable.