Even as children we are taught that we use oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, and trees do the opposite, but a new program by conservation nonprofit company the Conservation Fund actually acts on that information by calculating how many trees are needed to offset a person or company’s existence, and then planting that number of trees.
Visitors to The Conservation Fund’s web site can “Go Zero” by inputting their estimated annual consumption for home energy use, daily transportation, and air travel into the calculator. The calculator will then draw up a “carbon footprint” for the year, as well as how many trees it would take to offset that foot print. The visitors can then make a donation to the fund, which will be used by reforestation group Environmental-Synergy Inc. to plant the exact number of trees figured by the calculator. A small amount also goes to administrative fees.
The Conservation Fund is not the only organization concerned with reducing carbon footprints. Solar technology company Real Goods gives consumers a chance to offset the CO2 emissions of their orders by donating $2 per tree to the Go Zero program.
On average, the Conservation Fund site says, each “Carbon Zero” tree compensates for approximately 1.33 tons of CO2 equivalent for 70 years. According to the web site, the fund has become the leading environmental nonprofit addressing climate change since acquiring and protecting 20,000 acres of unproductive land in 2000. There, the fund has planted more than 5 million trees, which will capture (known as “sequestration”) nearly 10 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Each tree costs a little more than $5 each, but the site also has a page that tells visitors how they can reduce their carbon footprint through acts such as turning off unnecessary lights and using mass transportation whenever possible.