I was asked a little while back “are people in the UK more environmentally aware than in New Zealand?” and at the time I think I said “not really, if anything there are more ignorant folk in the UK simply because of the size of the population”…or words to that effect.
I have reflected on the question again of late because New Zealand does like to market itself as a green paradise, unspoilt and giving you the chance to get close to nature but I think that everyone should know a few things…
- New Zealand uses a lot of clean geothermal power and thus does not burn huge amounts of fossil fuels such as, for example, Australia. GOOD.
- New Zealand homes are very poorly insulated and most do not have double-glazing. BAD.
- New Zealand homes do not often have solar panels (and many have wood burning stoves). BAD.
- New Zealand’s reliance on agriculture leads to high emissions issues from…cows. But they are apparently introducing dung beetles to try to mitigate that issue. BAD but GOOD.
- Much like other countries, New Zealand has a recycling scheme for certain types of rubbish. GOOD.
- New Zealand’s record on conservation is chequered. While there are many initiatives to applaud in trying to preserve endangered flora and fauna (often due to the goodwill of individuals), there are also dubious decisions made and actions taken (including by the Government and the Department of Conservation) which perhaps do not support the words used. MIXED.
- There seem to be a high proportion of gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs here. BAD.
- They are manufacturing petrol from a by-product of the brewing of beer. GOOD. Drink up!
- Let’s face it, the main reason that New Zealand appears so green and unspoilt is because of one very simple thing…THERE AREN’T THAT MANY PEOPLE! As population grows in future, challenges will undoubtedly surface.
So is it really better than other countries…some for sure, but there is an awfully long way to go to be the paragon of virtue which the tourism industry would like to have you believe in.