Too small to make a difference?
New Zealand has an image of being clean and green. Their beautiful mountains, forests and rivers are what they are known for. They have a unique biodiversity and landscapes which you can enjoy on both the North and the South Island. However, the daily practices of the Kiwis may not contribute to preserve this beautiful New Zealand.
In the recently published Climate Change Performance Index New Zealand is listed as a poor performing country. Furthermore, they rank fifth in the OECD greenhouse gas emissions per capita list, while almost 80% of their electricity is generated by renewable sources. Their current government even explains all the benefits of climate change on their website. Another interesting fact is that they apply poison in order to protect their endemic birds. In order to get rid of pests they distribute 1080 poison all over the country, which has very damaging effects on many other species. Besides, New Zealand has historically been one of the countries that used the most DDT in the world and Roundup is freely available in the supermarket.
Surprisingly, many Kiwis don’t feel responsible to protect their environment. They claim to be too small to make a difference. They might emit the most emissions per capita, but this is still very little, because they are with only four million people. They might use quite some poison, but they are an underpopulated island and the poison will quickly dilute and emissions will blow away fastly. However, in my opinion every country should feel entitled to become the most environmentally sustainable country in the world. I think I am going to try to explain them my favourite quote: If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in your room.