New Year’s RestitutionRead Now
“Marg, it’s time for us to make some New Year’s restitutions.”
“Restitutions? For what? What have we done? I remember at the wedding my parents talked about you needing to pay restitution for stealing their only daughter and unpaid live-in house cleaner. That was a laugh! And you took them seriously and asked what they thought was fair!”
“Well, your dad looked kinda angry. You know, I can never tell when he is kidding. And no, not that kind of restitution. You know, when you decide to do things differently in the new year.”
“Oh, you mean new year’s resolutions! Well, we could certainly make some resolutions. How about we start by resolving to lower our household carbon emissions a bit more?”
Tom, looking sheepish: “OK, let’s see, what could we do?”
Marg takes a moment and thinks. “You’ve already stopped flying to Christchurch to visit your friends. Taking the bus and train saves quite a bit. Now we just need to switch KiwiRail to electric trains. Have you heard the idea to use the Tiwai Point power to convert the South Island trains to electric? That would save even more travel emissions.”
Marg goes on: “And with the electric car we aren’t burning as much petrol as before. You are riding the e-bike more for errands around town. Good savings there.”
Tom chips in: “We’re eating a lot less beef and lamb. I’ve found a place to buy New Zealand made charcoal, which saves on the emissions of overseas charcoal kilns. We’re composting all of our food scraps and taking the garden clippings to green waste. You know they make it into mulch instead of burying it in landfill.”
“We did create a bit of emissions flying to the islands for holiday before the lockdown. But we offset it with tree planting, didn’t we?”
Marg: “Yes, a bit more native forest is a good thing, but we can only plant so many trees. We’re just gonna need to cut back on flying. It’s a big source of emissions.”
Tom: “Well, traveling overseas probably won’t be much of an issue this year, not with the pandemic still at full tilt. OK, we can resolve not to fly overseas this year. That’s one. So, what else?”
Marg taps her chin as she thinks: “We’ve already installed a low emissions wood burner and put a heat pump in the bedroom. That saves on electricity.”
Tom: “How about this: I decided not to go in with my brother on that bitcoin investment because of the emissions.”
“Good one, Tom.” Marg breaks a smile: “But you haven’t given up watching dancing cat videos. I’ve seen you watching them when you think I’m not looking. You know about the emissions from live streaming on the internet. Maybe you can download a movie of them instead.”
“OK, I’ll give up the cat videos. But, they are so cute! OK, that’s two resolutions. What else?”
Marg pauses and looks perplexed. “I’m running out of ideas.”
“Maybe we can ask Google Assistant. He seems to know everything.
HEY GOOGLE, WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO TO LOWER OUR EMISSIONS?”
Google: “There is still much more you can do. There are heaps of websites with emissions savings ideas. When you aren’t watching dancing cats, try visiting www.genless.govt.nz or www.mfe.govt.nz.“
Tom rolls his eyes, “OK, thanks Google.”
Google keeps going: “Think reduce, reuse, recycle. Marg, you could be repairing old clothes instead of buying new ones. I note your sewing machine has been gathering dust lately. Or maybe just check the op shops before going to the department store. Tom, you should be fixing things more instead of replacing them. You don’t need a new lawnmower – just sharpen the one you have. There is also volunteering…”
Marg: “Hey, good idea Google. You know, Tom, you’ve got free time on weekends. Maybe we could start volunteering for a few things, like planting trees or catching pests or delivering meals to shut-ins.”
“I’ve got enough to do, thank you! Why would I want to volunteer to do more?”
Google: “Maybe as restitution for stealing your in-law’s house cleaner?”
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These are a collection of opinion articles principally written by CKM member Tom Powell for the Marlborough Express. Tom is a retired geologist who came to New Zealand in 2004 to work in the geothermal industry on the North Island, is a New Zealand citizen and now lives in Blenheim. Some articles have been written by other CKM members, and their names appear with those articles.