The impact of our emissions

The impact of our emissions

Four students studying at Victoria Business School have developed an emissions-calculating website as part of an independent research project for their Information Systems major.

Alex Bremner, Alex Taikato, Leighton Szeto, and Jack Woodbury share their motivations and invite staff and students to explore the tool and discover the impact of their actions.

Ever wanted to know the real climate impact of your actions? What’s My Impact? aims to help students and staff at Victoria University of Wellington reduce their CO2 emissions—one decision at a time!

Climate change is something most Victoria University of Wellington students understand. It’s scary, costly, and it’s something we want to fight. But, for all our admirable intentions, it’s sometimes hard to know how. Countering global warming can often seem insurmountable, and beyond the reach of an individual. However, if we all make small changes to our behavior, we can have a demonstrable impact on our overall emissions.

What’s My Impact? aims to guide students and staff in meaningfully curbing their emissions. Food and transportation are its targets, together contributing to around 70 percent of New Zealand’s emissions. The website is designed to educate students and staff in broad strokes, helping them to calculate their CO2 and find low-impact alternatives.

Our goal is to help people understand that there is more to fighting climate change than banning plastic bags and reducing oil exploration and that many of our behaviors are wholly counter-intuitive!

Take beef and lamb, for example. Farming is a huge chunk of our economy, but our fondness for red meat is problematic. Just eating one portion of lamb (150 grams) releases as much carbon as driving from Wellington to Upper Hutt. By simply switching to poultry, one person can reduce their emissions by approximately 82 percent. If someone did the same every day for a whole year, they would reduce their CO2 output by approximately 1750 kilograms. Imagine if every staff member and student here did the same!

Further, many New Zealanders are avid travellers and love sightseeing around our country. Yet, there is a significant environmental cost attached to our intrepid aspirations. Flying return from Wellington to Auckland, for example, releases approximately 66 kilograms of CO2 per passenger. That’s like driving to Stokes Valley and back from Wellington eight times! Switching one’s transportation method, or finding a local alternative drastically reduces a trip’s CO2.

In developing the website, our team was shocked to learn that many of our everyday choices are particularly damaging. It’s our hope that What’s My Impact? promotes similar awareness among other students and staff members. Climate change might be overwhelming, but together, we can have a huge impact.

Go to whatsmyimpacts.co.nz to find out more!

Alex Taikato, Leighton Szeto, Alex Bremner, and Jack Woodbury are third-year commerce students, finishing their Information Systems major at Victoria Business School.