Travel involves substantial carbon fuel emissions that affect global warming, but you can help offset these effects by making a donation to tropical reforestation efforts in Costa Rica. All donations go directly to the Center of Investigation in Technological Transference and Education for Development (CITTED), which is a branch of the State University from a Distance (UNED). With this initiative, 1 native tree species is planted for every $6.
“A single tree in tropical zones fixes an average of 1 to 2.2 tons of carbon during its 20 to 30 years growth.”
CITTED is working with Anywhere to help reforest Costa Rica. This organization is focused on sustainable development in the North Huetar region of Costa Rica, in order to help elevate the standard of living in this rural area as well as foster conservation. CITTED’s efforts include seed recollection, reforestation of watersheds, and environmental education. With money provided by Anywhere’s donors, CITTED will plant 100 trees every month. They focus particularly on planting trees that are endangered because of their highly prized timber.
In the past, Anywhere has also worked with Programa Amigable con el Cambio Climatico, an organization that has planted over 30,000 native trees in degraded areas of Costa Rica, and an additional 7,000 trees in other areas of Central America.
Once almost completely forested, the country of Costa Rica saw vast clearings of land during the 1970s and 1980s to create cattle pastures for beef exports. With one of the worst rates of deforestation in Latin America, by 1990 only 21% of the country remained forested. However, with ambitious environmental policies and commitment, Costa Rica has become the only tropical country to radically reverse the effects of deforestation, doubling the amount of forest in just two decades.
Reforestation in the tropics is a powerful means of carbon offset because the trees grow quickly, and carbon offset measures can have a relatively rapid effect. According to the Tropical Science Center and Programa Amigable con el Cambio Climatico, a single tree in tropical zones fixes an average of 1 to 2.2 tons of carbon during its 20 to 30 years growth. If two trees are planted, the fixation time for the same amount of carbon is cut in half.
Unfortunately, travel-related activities often produce substantial greenhouse gases. According to a United Nations report on Climate Change and Tourism, “Carbon dioxide emissions from the [tourism] sector’s transport, accommodation and other tourism activities are estimated to account for between 4 and 6% of total emissions [worldwide].”
For most travelers, air travel produces the vast amount of carbon emissions. Therefore, the largest component of a traveler’s carbon offset calculation is based on from where they are traveling.
Suggested Tree Donations for Carbon Offset of Round Trip Flights
Canada 2 United States 2 Mexico 2 Central America 1 South America 2 Europe 4 Japan 6
For simplicity’s sake the Programa Amigable con el Cambio Climatico estimates that 1 tree planted in Costa Rica will offset 1 ton of carbon over a 20-30 year period. The fixation rate, however, can range up to 2.2 tons of carbon over the same period. If two trees are planted, instead of one, the sequestration time for the same amount of carbon is cut roughly in half. The donation is for contributions to tropical reforestation.