New Zealand a Haven for the Eco-Conscious

I’ve never been to New Zealand but I’d love to go; but, if I were to go it sounds as if I’d just have to live there. New Zealand is experiencing and influx of immigrants that are moving there for only environmental reasons.

Liam Clifford, a director of London-based GlobalVisas, writes on the company’s website that while some eco-migrants are from low-lying island nations, many are wealthy Americans and Europeans choosing to start a new life in New Zealand.

“It is seen as a country with a temperate climate that will escape extreme weather. It has a superior environmental record and is developing renewable fuels, and is shielded from conflicts by the Pacific Ocean.”

John Zamick chose New Zealand as a new home for his family for entirely environmental reasons.

In the UK rising temperatures and sea levels threatened to turn the “semi-arid” East Anglia region into a desert – if the low-lying plains are not swamped by rising seas instead.

The businessman, who now co-directs a biodiesel company in Nelson, saw the writing on the wall when he studied the droughts and other long-term environmental effects of global warming in Europe and North Africa.

Microwave CO2

Something that I’ve never thought about is happening in New Zealand and that’s using microwaves to store carbon in charcoal.

“The application of microwaves to charcoal making is new,” says Tim Flannery of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, an expert on climate change and not associated with Carbonscape. “If it increases efficiency in the charcoal-making process it could prove to be a real winner.”

The plant is months away from running at full capacity, and is currently being used to produce charcoal that can be used to fertilise soil and for academic research.

The use of charcoal as a fertiliser, or “biochar”, is well known. Nearly 500 years ago, tribes in the Amazon used to smoulder their domestic waste, and the resultant charcoal was mixed into the soil. In places in the Amazon, this terra preta, or black earth, is nearly half a metre thick.

Charcoal makes the soil more fertile by binding nutrients to itself and making them available for plants, and is extremely resistant to breakdown. “You do quite often get a very significant boost in soil fertility and water holding capacity,” says Michael Bird at the University of St Andrews, UK.

“The unknowns that remain are exactly how long [the charcoal] stays in the soil. In some circumstances it can be millions of years, or decades, depending on how it is made, and soil conditions.”

More on Green Flying

Singapore is going green too, the FAA is trying to green American planes, and don’t forget that you can also travel green!

To add to this list of good news, Christchurch airport is going carbon-neutral, which is really good news!

At a meeting in Christchurch the company received its carbon zero certificate from Landcare Research which chief executive Rene Bakx says comes after a detailed measurement and analysis process.

“We are the gateway for the best of the South Island, and, with an agreed focus on tourism and sustainability, the decision to work towards this goal was a straightforward one for the company to take,” he says.

He says the status has been achieved by the reduction and offsetting of greenhouse emissions by the airport company operations. Emissions from planes are not included in the calculations.

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