Where in the world are you?
Dunedin, New Zealand
What do you do in the world?
I'm the director of the Centre for Sustainability, a research centre of the University of Otago.
In one sentence, what is climate change?
Climate change is shorthand for the many environmental changes that are the result of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and includes warmer and rising seas, melting ice sheets and glaciers, more extreme weather events, changing weather patterns, and a hotter globe.
How does climate change affect your life?
It permeates my thinking all the time - how the actions of people today are shaping a devastatingly different future for my grandchildren. My city Dunedin will be the worst impacted by sea level rise in New Zealand, with around 10,000 people living in homes that are less than 50cm above sea level. The impacts are already starting to be seen here with warmer winters and more extreme weather.
What do you feel you can do about it?
It's part of my work - I do research on how people and businesses change to adopt lower-carbon energy and mobility - see http://energycultures.org/. Also I was one of the authors of a recent report for the Royal Society of New Zealand "Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy for New Zealand".
In my own life, I try to make low-carbon choices - walk to work, eat vegetarian food, heat our home with renewable fuel, and drive a (small and old) hybrid car.
Do you feel there is more you could do? If so, what is stopping you from doing those things?
I'd like to have a fully electric car, because in NZ our electricity is 80% renewable, so this means minimal GHG emissions. Retrofitting our hybrid to fully electric is the next plan. One thing I would like to do is to fly less, but my work (ironically) involves quite a lot of flying, and at present we are not able to offset the emissions. I'd like to rectify this.
What's your favourite Sunday afternoon activity?
Going for a walk up a steep track that starts a couple of kilometres from my home, and goes up 1000 feet into alpine vegetation with a glorious view of the city and mountains.
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