Climate change is upon us. We've had decades of warning and done little. Now it's time for Big Change, Victoria University senior climate research fellow Judy Lawrence says.
As part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism initiative committed to bringing more and better climate change coverage, Laurel Stowell speaks to Lawrence and others about what can practically be done on a local and individual level.
People who recognise the need to act on climate change are now asking how.
And the answer could be what election candidate Sam Ferguson suggested to Horizons Regional Council: "taking a climate change lens to every decision".
The question will be: does this action or this product increase the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere?
Individuals, households, businesses and councils can ask it and reduce the extent of global warming.
The other thing that has to happen to adaptation.
Whanganui District Council put out a discussion document on climate change in mid-August, and is asking residents for feedback.
The responses will feed into a draft climate change strategy, which will also be consulted on.
Whanganui district councillor Alan Taylor has a degree in climate studies and said nothing "little old New Zealand" did would reduce climate change and technology had to be the answer.
"If we don't do it, in my view I think we have had it," he said.
But that's not a view held by most scientists, Lawrence said.
For her the number one priority has to be reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, which lingers in the atmosphere forever.
In New Zealand 19 per cent are from transport.
The gas that makes New Zealand's biggest contribution to climate change is methane, shorter lived and 35 per cent of our total, and mainly from cattle and sheep.
On a household level, Whanganui eco-educator Nelson Lebo said the things people could do have been known for more than 20 years.
It's very simple - drive less, fly less and eat less meat.
"Everything else is just fluff."
Whanganui district should save money and time by not doing consultation and "spend every single dime on building resilient infrastructure", he said.
But Whanganui District Council's strategy general manager Charlotte Almond said it's important to consult Whanganui people about their views, because they won't buy into a strategy imposed from outside.
When it comes to households reducing their emissions, the Environment Ministry advises finding out exactly what they are first, by using the Global Footprint Network website.
The ministry's list expands on Lebo's basics, suggesting cutting down on dairy as well as meat, eating local and seasonal food, and growing your own.
It suggests cutting food waste and composting food scraps and green waste instead of sending it to landfill to make more methane.
About 85 per cent of New Zealand's electricity is made without burning fossil fuels, but the ministry still suggests cutting down on electricity and water use, for example by washing clothes in cold water and drying them outdoors.
It suggests buying less, and repairing and reusing what you already have.
Taylor is in agreement on that one.
"We can't keep consuming as much as we have been," he said.
But there's also much to be done on a human-to-human level. Scientists at the Science Media Centre say people need to talk about climate change - however difficult that may be.
But the time for debating whether it's happening or not is long gone, Dr Amanda Thomas said, and eco-anxiety is growing, especially among young people.
Some decide not to have children, and feel they can't do anything worthwhile to prevent global warming. This can lead to a terrible sense of hopelessness.
It's worse than the way people reacted to fears of nuclear obliteration during the cold war.
"It's not a maybe any more. It's now a matter of when, how much and how bad."
The best way to counter that is to join up with other people and do something, Thomas said.
"It feels really good to do stuff about climate change with other people. Often those friendships make activism worthwhile and [the effect] is more long lasting than tackling it alone."
The student strike for climate was one such action, she said. Another is the way a decade of the Oil Free campaign gave Government a licence to end block offers for offshore oil exploration.
Individuals and groups can also lobby and vote for ambitious emission reduction targets. Children carry climate change messages home to their families, and mothers' groups are fertile ground for spreading information.
But campaigners need to make sure they recognises indigenous world views and don't add to inequality, the scientists say.
Farmers, Thomas said, could stop resisting change and take leadership on climate - which is central to their business.
Whanganui District Council has called climate change an impending crisis rather than an emergency. But climate awareness already plays a part in its infrastructure strategy and long term plan, Almond said.
It has taken actions like switching to energy efficient LED bulbs for street lighting, and building shared pedestrian/cycle pathways for active transport.
It could also change its vehicle fleet to electric cars, Lawrence said. Christchurch City Council not only has a fleet of electric cars, it hires out those not in use to pay expenses. And the Whanganui council could follow Horizons' lead and advocate for "managed retreat" of development from flood-prone areas.
The council could beef up its emergency team, Taylor adds, and keep North Mole maintained to protect against sea level rise.
Almond has been speaking to groups about climate change, and asking for ideas. On September 10 the Green Drinks group suggested mandatory rainwater tanks for new houses, denser housing, better public transport and planting trees across large grassed areas rather than mowing them.
Other organisations can put on the climate lens. School boards should choose sustainable wooden buildings that don't need fossil fuels for heating.
Businesses should get an energy audit, if they haven't already done so, Lawrence said.
"That's been around for decades. If people aren't doing it now they've really been going around with blinkers on."
Changes to energy use can cut costs and emissions. Electric cars, electric trucks and electrified rail have to be the transport of the future - though that will take time to happen.
Agriculture produces half of New Zealand's emissions, and farmers must reduce both the carbon emissions in their operation and the methane their animals emit by burping. Dairy farms may lose their social license to operate, Lawrence said, and synthetic milk is coming down the track.
Farmers will have to produce milk and meat sustainably - or else make something else.
Hospitals use a lot of energy, mainly for heating. They need to produce less waste and gear themselves to cope with heat stress, new hot climate diseases and more climate emergencies.
The overall drive has to be to reduce emissions, rather than offset them by planting trees. Lawrence is certain about that. Offsetting is a myth, she said, and can't be relied on. Land ownership changes, and trees can be felled by disease or fire.
New Zealand has to move to 100 per cent renewable electricity generation. That should be easily done, by boosting geothermal, solar and wind generation.
She wonders why this country has to design complicated systems like the Emissions Trading Scheme to deal with a problem like climate change. The systems are hard to understand and use, and she said voluntary measures don't work either.
"We've seen that. I think the time has come for good old basic regulation."
She's waiting to see what the Zero Carbon Bill will do, and doesn't believe it will be strong enough.