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Posted: August 20, 2015

Fly It Forward launched for air travellers

National and local travel companies sign on

By Bill Swan

Groundswell Executive Director

A carbon offset is a payment intended to cover the cost of carbon dioxide production and accumulate funds to help mitigate the impact of that carbon in the earth’s atmosphere to address climate change.

Carbon dioxide is produced when we burn carbon-based fuels and Canadians generate about 16 tonnes of CO2 per capita annually putting us in the world’s top 10.

Some offsets are built in and mandatory, like carbon taxes but others are voluntary as with the travel industry where willing travellers can calculate the CO2 produced by their journey and make a payment per unit volume of CO2 produced. Carbon taxes are a hot topic, too much debate to get into here so let’s stick with the voluntary offsets for now.

Typically, funds generated by carbon offsets are used in projects to reduce greenhouse gas production, absorb them or teach us how to avoid emitting them. Large-scale carbon sequestration by the oil and gas industry, reforestation projects, energy use education, capping landfills, home retrofit programs are just a few examples of how CO2 offsets can get used.

Often your offset payments can be used anywhere in the world; there is not necessarily a link between your payment and a local project addressing climate change. Not a bad thing, but some people like to see the benefits of their payments accrue closer to home.

Groundswell Network Society, based in Invermere, is launching Fly It Forward, a voluntary CO2 offset program that does just that.

Going on a flight soon?

Fly it ForwardGroundswell’s Fly It Forward will offer individuals and businesses the option to voluntarily offset their carbon produced from air travel through a financial contribution toward demonstration projects and education programs Groundswell conducts at home and inspires action around the world.

Through Fly It Forward, Groundswell wants to change the term ‘offset payment’ into community investment by directing your CO2 associated payment into our ongoing carbon-free programs that include:

Operating the award-winning Community Greenhouse and Gardens as CO2 neutral teaching and local food producing facilities.

Through the Community Greenhouse and Permaculture Gardens Groundswell invests in many CO2 busting activities that include:

Local food production – fresh organic produce with almost zero food miles delivered into our schools and community food systems;

Applied, renewable energy demonstration projects and education programs;

Youth training, skills development and employment in the sustainability sector;

School and community directed education programs and workshops;

Waste reduction, recycling, water conservation and community composting;

Transportation alternatives – electric vehicle charging stations, operation of solar electric vehicles, research on car sharing and education programs;

Online resources, conference & workshop presentations, and outreach to communities throughout the Kootenays and around the world.

When you enrol in Fly It Forward your investments benefit these applied Groundswell programs that address the climate change directly.

We will also recognize you or your businesses’ involvement through our publications, website, and social media that you can share with your clients and friends. As a patron of Fly It Forward you tell others you value that what’s good for the planet is good for people too.

And two outstanding travel companies have already endorsed their support.

Adventure Canada is an international travel company specializing in ocean adventures along some of the world’s most stunning coastlines and communities. Specializing in Canadian arctic adventures they travel with leading experts in natural and cultural history.

Eagle Eye Tours, based here in the Columbia Valley, takes travellers around the world in search of birds and natural history. Staff from both companies are Flying it Forward and challenging their clients to sign on too.

All program participants receive discounts on Groundswell events, products and services along with a decal and membership card that recognizes your support. Become a Groundswell Fly It Forward participant today and keep the benefits local! To register, visit http://groundswellnetwork.ca/fly-it-forward/

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