Kiwis agree that more needs to be done to combat climate change

New Zealanders are more concerned about climate change than ever before, but only half of us know what we personally need to do to make a difference.

What's worse, only half of us believe our actions will be effective. 

Despite the negative news, there is room to be optimistic. The good news from the latest IAG-IPSOS poll, which surveyed 1,000 Kiwis, is that 79 percent of us believe that climate change is important. That's up 7 percent from last year.

The poll also showed that 69 percent are more concerned than they've ever been before, while 67 percent of Kiwis are prepared to act to reduce the impacts of climate change.

The problem is only 54 percent of people said they know what to do, while only 47 percent of respondents think their actions will actually be effective.

The Archer family says that making a change is not as complicated as many think. The Auckland family of six produce just one council-sized bin of rubbish per year. In five years, the Archers have slashed the amount of waste they produce, and in the process saved thousands of dollars. 

From composting to backyard chickens and their impressive vegetable patch, the family bring less into their home and consequently throw out less. 

But while it all looks daunting on the outside, they encourage people to start small. 

"People try and go all at once and immediately switch from a heavy-waste household to zero-waste overnight - it's just such a daunting transition," says Stephen Archer. "It's better to go slower."

Archer says everyone needs to take personal responsibility for their rubbish.

"Don't underestimate what impact you can actually have," he says.

Nic Taylor started her business Mainstream based on that philosophy. 

"We might feel like we're one person doing one small thing, but the reality is by doing that and by role-modeling that we're inspiring other people to do the same, and that's how change scales," she says.

Taylor consults with individuals, councils and businesses on how to go green.

"The shift in the past 12 to 18 months has been phenomenal, just in terms of the interest and the engagement and the awareness. So I'm very hopeful."

One example of that is the protest earlier this year that brought out thousands of students to advocate for more to be done against climate change. 

"It couldn't be a more urgent problem and we really have to do everything we can as individuals and as a country," says climate scientist Professor James Renwick.

Big business are doing something too, with 107 Kiwi companies that collectively produce 60 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions have pledged to reduce them.

"Small steps lead to giant strides, so if everybody in the world said 'I'm not going to do my bit', nothing happens. But if everybody in the world did just their bit then we would solve the problem," says Mike Bennetts of the Climate Leaders Coalition.

And that's a sentiment echoed by the Archers.

"Give it a shot, you'll be surprised at what you can do."