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Offset Your Footprint

$4 per Seedling • 5 Seedlings per metric tonne

In recent Radical Listening meetings, rainforest communities in Borneo told us they are excited to ramp up reforestation. With donors like you offsetting your carbon footprints, we will plant more than a million trees over the next five years. We have fewer than 11 years to address the twin challenges of global heating and biodiversity loss. Protecting and expanding forests is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a healthy planet for all our futures.

You can now offset your carbon with a tax-deductible donation to Health In Harmony.

When you purchase Health In Harmony offsets you are not just planting trees. Traditionally marginalized communities receive the funding to do the planting. Many of the planting teams are led by women, and work in tree planting represents a just transition from a destructive industry to a regenerative economy. Further, your offset dollars may sometimes buy seedlings from patients that used them to pay for healthcare at the ASRI medical center in Borneo, ensuring affordable and quality medical treatment, regardless of income level. These seedlings are not planted in a monoculture but instead create stunningly diverse rainforest ecosystems, home to orangutans, cloud leopards, hornbills, and other endangered species.

Offsets and Trees

Trees in tropical rainforests sequester carbon at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world. An average tropical rainforest tree sequesters a quarter metric tonne over the first 10 years of its life, according to multiple conservative estimates. Our reforestation sites consistently have an 80% survival rate, so we plant five trees to offset a metric tonne of carbon over 10 years.

Trees in Harmony

Not all carbon is the same. The planet is facing a climate crisis, as well as one of biodiversity loss, and many conservation issues are intimately connected to issues of poverty and healthcare access. Instead of mass planting tree monocultures, your Health In Harmony offsets have the following benefits beyond offsetting your footprint:

  • Restoring full, healthy, biodiverse ecosystems
  • Ensuring fire resistance and longterm viability of the trees
  • Providing a home for orangutans and other endangered species
  • Investing funding in the rainforest communities that are developing the solutions for living in harmony with the planet
  • Ensuring everyone can always afford high-quality healthcare, without logging the rainforest for fast cash
  • Providing a just transition for traditionally marginalized communities from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy
  • Supporting women leaders who often head the tree planting teams
  • As Health In Harmony is a 501(c)3 organization, your emissions offset will also be a tax-deductible donation

Calculating a carbon footprint

There are many carbon calculators out there, using different metrics and considerations. Measuring a carbon footprint or offset is inherently an inexact science. We want to provide full transparency about what is behind our numbers.

Flights

Air travel is one of the most carbon-intensive modern activities, but calculating the average carbon per flight hour depends on factors like the type of plane, how full it is, and how long the flight is (25% of emissions come from take off and landing alone). CarbonIndependent.org used two different methods to determine an average carbon emission of 250 kilograms per hour of flight, which also compares with estimates from other sources.

One hour of flight emits .25 metric tonnes of carbon, therefore, requiring 1.25 trees to offset. Note that we will round up to a whole number of trees, so this offset would be 2 trees, costing $8.

Car Travel

As cars have widely varying fuel economies, which also vary by type of travel (ie. cruising on a highway vs. idling in traffic), we use carbon emitted per gallon of gas, instead of per mile driven. Most sources agree that regardless of your car, one gallon of gas emits 8,887 grams of carbon, or 8.887 kilograms of carbon (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

The average car drives 11,500 miles in a year – with an average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon, this requires 522.73 gallons of gas each year (United States Environmental Protection Agency). This emits 4.65 metric tonnes of carbon, requiring 23.23 trees. Note that we will round up to a whole number of trees, so this offset would be 24 trees, costing $96.

Average Annual Carbon Footprint

Estimates of the average carbon footprint for someone in the United States vary between 20 metric tonnes in 2008 (Science Daily), to 16.5 metric tonnes in 2014 (The World Bank), to 20.15 metric tonnes in 2016 (University of Michigan). Compiling various sources, we believe 19 metric tonnes per year is a reasonable estimation of a current annual average for the United States. The World Bank site also lists per capita emissions for all other countries as of 2014. Note that this amount would include average car and plane travel.

Nineteen metric tonnes of carbon requires 95 trees, costing $380 USD, to offset. Consider making a $31.75 USD monthly donation to offset your entire carbon footprint each year. You can also use one of the many calculators out there to calculate your own personalized carbon footprint and/or offset any custom number of metric tonnes.

Costs and Tax deductions

Each seedling planted offsets at least 1/5 of a metric tonne of carbon in its first decade, after accounting for the seedling mortality rate, and costs $4 USD to plant and maintain. Because Health In Harmony is a 501(c)3 organization, your $4 offset is a 100% tax-deductible donation, and it will:

  • Buy the seedling from a community member, local nursery, or even a patient who used it to pay for medical care
  • Purchase the water, organic fertilizers, and planting supplies
  • Pay for the local labor to plant, maintain the seedlings, and create fire barriers, ensuring a high survival rate in the critical first three years, as well as providing sustainable, safe, and equitable jobs for women and other members of rainforest communities
  • Support the essential costs that reverse deforestation such as maintaining the medical center, staffing, connectivity, utilities, and more

Commitments

There is no one standard for regulating carbon footprints and offsets, and currently 80% of emissions offset programs do not go through a verifier. We have researched multiple carbon verifiers and have decided not to work with one at this time due to the significant one-time and annual costs and the market uncertainty. We would rather put that funding directly into protecting and expanding rainforests.

From the beginning, our programs have been built on rigorous data collection, to ensure we are doing what is most effective to counter the climate crisis. To monitor and evaluate our programs, we collaborate with scientists at Stanford University to ensure the accuracy of our data. We’ve also instituted a tracking system to ensure we do not double count the carbon we sell and are committed to reporting on the seedlings planted to all offset purchasers. We will continue to monitor the evolution of the carbon market and pursue verification when there is a single international standard. Until then, you can feel confident in the quality and accuracy of our offsets, and we invite you to visit Borneo to see your impact for yourself. Please email trina@healthinharmony.org with any questions about how we measure carbon, track our outcomes, or to schedule a trip.

The climate impact of planting trees

We are learning more all the time about the impact of deforestation and reforestation on the climate crisis. Recent studies have both claimed reforestation is a climate change silver bullet and then disputed that conclusion and questioned whether trees contribute more greenhouse gases than they absorb. Health In Harmony is committed to understanding the latest research as it is published. What is clear in regards to trees and climate:

  • Cutting down trees releases significant carbon in the atmosphere, so we need to curb deforestation
  • Trees, especially those in tropical rainforests, absorb significant amounts of carbon, particularly as they grow to maturity, outweighing what they emit in methane
  • Planting trees is affordable and efficient – no other comparable sequestration technologies exist yet
  • Planting trees cannot be the only solution to climate change – we must also reduce emissions – but without massive re-rainforestation, we have little hope of stabilizing the climate or biodiversity loss in the necessary timeframe
  • Forests are important for more than just fighting climate change – they are also key for protecting biodiversity, traditional and indigenous culture, clean water, local livelihoods, and more

Begin Offsetting Today

We all try to reduce our carbon footprints, but not all emissions are avoidable. With Health In Harmony, you can buy offsets you can trust, that are tax deductible, and do more for people and biodiversity than a tree farm. When you offset your carbon with Health In Harmony, you are investing in healthy people, healthy forests, and a healthy planet.

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