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Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Questions about our new offset program? Here’s a quick take and a quick story from Health In Harmony Executive Director, Jonathan Jennings.

The climate emergency we face is urgent. We know we must reduce global carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 to avoid an irreversible shift. Meanwhile, emissions hit an all-time high in 2019 and continue to surge.

Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is a simple equation. First, through nature-based solutions, like forest protection and reforestation, we must keep more carbon sequestered in terrestrial and aquatic systems and out of the atmosphere. Second, we must change our behaviors and lifestyles. People in industrialized nations like the U.S., Germany, and Japan, especially, must emit far less.

My annual carbon footprint is roughly 10-times that of the average Indian citizen’s, triple that of the average French citizen’s and 37-times bigger than the average Kenyan’s. So I have a much greater responsibility to change the way I live and reduce the footprint I emit.

This year Health In Harmony launched an offset program in partnership with ASRI, our cornerstone partner in Indonesia, to ramp up reforestation efforts and make an even greater impact.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Emitters, like me, visit our website and input the hours of flight time or the gallons of gasoline they want to offset.
  2. Our website calculates the metric tons of carbon emitted and the corresponding trees that need to be planted.
  3. Purchased tree seedlings are planted and nurtured into maturity by our colleagues at ASRI.

It’s simple to offset your holiday travel or commute.

To illustrate, my wife Sam, our kids, and I drove from our home near Portland to Newport Beach, just south of Los Angeles, to meet my parents for the holidays. And then we drove back. We zero’d our minivan’s odometer before pulling out of our drive. We drove a total of 2,685.2 miles, and our minivan’s computer told us we averaged 24.5 miles per gallon, equaling 109.6 total gallons of gas burned. 

Once home, Sam, went to the Health In Harmony website and clicked on the blue offset banner at the top of each page. Once there, she input the gallons of gas we expended during our journey (2,685.2 total miles / 24.5 average miles per gallon  = 109.6 total gallons). Our website calculated the total amount of carbon we emitted from the minivan during our trip (0.97 metric tons), as well as the number and cost of the trees needed to offset those emissions. Once her donation was made, Sam received confirmation from Health In Harmony.

Let’s be clear. Offsetting our carbon footprint is no substitute for individual behavior change to drastically reduce our emissions.

But behavior change doesn’t happen overnight. Offsetting the footprint of our daily commutes, holiday travel, and consumption is a smart and valuable thing to do – in the meantime – for planetary health. 

In 2020 I will offset my daily car commute and all of my flights. I hope you will join me in adopting this lifestyle change.  

Many organizations have offset programs. But when you purchase an offset from Health In Harmony, you are not just planting trees. The rainforests we work in are home to trees that sequester carbon at some of the highest rates in the world.

And vitally, our offset program is about much more than carbon.

Our offset program: 

  • Supports women leaders who manage tree planting teams
  • Restores biodiverse ecosystems including habitat for orangutans and other endangered species
  • Ensures fire resistance and longterm viability of trees
  • Provides loggers from poor communities the opportunity to transition from a dangerous, poorly paid job in logging to a more lucrative, safer, sustainable occupation like organic farming

And because Health In Harmony is a 501(c)(3) organization, your offset is also a tax-deductible donation.

Your partnership with Health In Harmony is critical to keeping carbon sequestered in the rainforests of Borneo – and now Madagascar – out of the atmosphere, and continuing to drawdown. Please join us in shifting our behaviors at home for people, forests, and the planet.

Learn more at www.healthinharmony.org/carbonfaq and start Offsetting your carbon at www.healthinharmony.org/offset.

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