Carbon Neutral Now

When I created my guided garden tours business two years ago, I wanted it to sustain me AND to add value to my environment and community. This is not only sustainable but also regenerative.

It starts with my own operations. How sustainable is my guiding business?

And beyond, what actions can make a positive difference?

I know my number

During the WAO Summit 2021, businesses were offered by the QLDC and LWT the opportunity to calculate their carbon footprint with climate expert Carly Green.

In the first year of operations, Beautiful Gardens of Wanaka greenhouse gas emissions were:

0.372 tons

That is a third of a ton, with 99% of my carbon emissions coming from the petrol used to transport my guests from garden to garden. I haven’t included the “Scope 3” in “my number” calculations. Scope 3 records the indirected GHGe (GreenHouse Gas equivalent), for example, my guests’ transport to come to Wānaka.

My actions now

Planting two trees will sequester these 0.38 tons of GHGe in 50 years. So I planted two trees on our property, an Acer campetre and a Styrax japonicus.

Beautiful Gardens of Wānaka is now carbon neutral.

Beautiful Gardens of Wānaka participates in the Te Kakano campaign “Will you have a tree with that?” When booking a tour, our guests have the option to purchase a tree and we are committed to add a tree to each of them. We have thus donated $60 to Te Kākano this year.

Our van is hybrid and consumes less than a conventional people-mover (12.6km for 1 litre). Our office is powered with Ecotricity (carbon zero electricity provider) and we have solar panels. We produce less than 1kg of waste to landfill as part of our operations in a year (mostly tea bags).

The Serena Hybrid, our garden tours van
I love planting trees!

My future actions

Even if I am offsetting, emissions are still happening, so I need to do better!

I am on the lookout for an EV 7-Seater, and I am committed to invest in such a vehicle when available for less than $30000. Please send a link my way if you know of such fully electric people mover…

In our next season starting in October 2022, we will offer a choice of Healtheries tea bags as they are the first New Zealand tea brand with certified home compostable tea bags. We will compost them in our own compost after use.

They are all small steps, but drops make oceans. The government information for business entity has sent a Climate Action Toolbox to all businesses in New Zealand. It is really well done and is optional for most businesses. But is it an option?

Regenerative Wānaka action

On an ongoing basis, I have developed a proposal for a new Regenerative land zoning and I am advocating it in every way I can, talking about it publicly, on a Facebook group, contacting local elections elected members and candidates, and soon in the media.

In line with the Lake Wānaka Tourism Regenerative vision, I believe it is the role of tourism operators to protect the beauty, improve local environment and access for both locals and visitors. As the Beautiful Gardens of Wānaka owner operator, I have the privilege to access many private lands with high biodiversity and beauty value that I believe are worthy of protecting and enhancing with the ideas included in this report. I invite you to join the conversation.

As I say at the start of the post, or as ex-QLDC councillor Ella once said, creativity is fun and exciting.

Let’s embrace change and enjoy the better world we create.

Last but not least, we live a regenerative life on our land Namaste, planting hundreds of trees, letting the grass regenerate the soil, not using chemicals, growing a lot of food we share and fostering biodiversity, we have lots of birds! Namaste is one of the gardens of the tours and it is always a pleasure to showcase how we live in harmony with nature. 

I trust Beautiful Gardens of Wānaka guests appreciate that their experience doesn’t contribute to climate change.

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