Trees for Life environmental policy
Here at Trees for Life we are looking at the sustainability of our operations, from an environmental, economic and social perspective.
- We understand that we are part of bigger living systems.
- We recognise our role as polluters.
- We reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.
- We use locally produced goods and services where we can.
- We build trusting and collaborative relationships with others.
- We learn from our mistakes as well as our successes.
- We make our events and facilities accessible to a wide range of people.
- Most of our staff cycle or walk to work and we participate in the Cycle Scheme (www.cyclescheme.co.uk)
- We share vehicles where possible and encourage volunteers coming on our programmes to travel by train and bus. We hold some meetings via Skype to cut down on travelling.
- Our main office at Findhorn benefits from electricity supplied by the community's wind turbines.
- We endeavour to use healthy and unprocessed ingredients where possible and to introduce volunteers to the benefits, both to them and the environment, of a vegetarian diet.
- There are four key ways in which we work to improve the lives of people in our community:
- We plant trees and protect wildlife sites.
- We encourage active citizenship and volunteering.
- We create opportunities for learning.
- We support members of our community to develop their health and well-being.
Take action to counter global warming - become carbon conscious
'Tree planting is a contribution towards addressing the issue of global warming, but only as a complement to the most important action - reducing the use of fossil fuels, and the emissions of carbon dioxide that entails.'
Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life Executive Director
- The problem
- Become Carbon Conscious
- Why restore forests with Trees for Life?
- Suggested donations
- How you can reduce your carbon footprint
Why Trees for Life dissociates itself from the concepts of 'carbon offsetting' and 'carbon neutral'.
It's not possible to truly 'offset' carbon emissions or become 'carbon neutral' by planting trees. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon that has not been in the carbon cycle for millions of years, and therefore creates a net increase of carbon in the biosphere. Also, by the time a tree reaches the size where it can absorb a certain amount of carbon, the CO2 will already have contributed to global warming.
In addition, promoting the concepts of 'carbon offsetting' and 'carbon neutral' runs the risk of providing an apparent justification for continuing with a fossil-fuel intensive lifestyle and culture, whereas it is a drastic reduction in fossil fuel usage that is required now.
Instead, we invite individuals and organisations to become Carbon Conscious, by committing to take action to reduce emissions, and to plant trees to reduce the impact of those emissions that are unavoidable.
The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of our modern consumer-oriented society are a major contributor to rapid climate change. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon that has been locked away for millions of years is released into the air, causing the Earth's temperature to rise and significant climatic changes to take place. We are already seeing an increase in extreme weather events, and indicators of imminent large-scale climate change, with serious implications for the world as we know it.
As trees and other plants play a vital role in the balancing of CO2 and oxygen levels, widespread deforestation has also had a negative impact, releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.
The most important solution to global warming is to reduce CO2 emissions. Minimising the use of fossil fuels, and living more lightly on the Earth are eminently feasible - all that is required is for each of us to have the commitment to put those principles into practice.
However, it is not possible to eliminate all CO2 emissions immediately, so in the interim we can help to reduce the impact of those emissions that are unavoidable by planting trees. By supporting forest restoration, you will be helping to absorb some of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere, as well as providing habitat for a wide range of very special wildlife, and giving it a better chance of adapting to climate change. However, it is essential that this be combined with effective action from each of us to reduce our CO2 emissions.
Trees for Life is working to restore the Caledonian Forest for the long term (250 years or more), as a fully functioning healthy ecosystem, complete with all its constituent species. Tree planting by itself is not enough, as the wellbeing of the planet depends on the ecological services that intact forests provide. Our work focuses on all parts of the ecosystem, from fungi and insects in the soil to large mammals such as wild boar and beavers, as they are all are essential to the whole.
In addition, because of the long-term vision and timeframe for our project, and due to the remote locations where we work, the trees we plant will grow indefinitely and will never be cut down. They will be there as part of a restored Caledonian Forest for generation upon generation into the future. We see our work as part of the healing of the Earth, and your support will enable this to grow and expand.
How can I help?
Rather than claiming to help you become 'carbon neutral', we offer you the chance to make a real difference and become Carbon Conscious. Here's how:
Whether you're an individual, or a business, we can help you work out whether your 'carbon footprint' is broadly low, medium or high. Based on this, you make an annual donation, which provides us with essential funds to plant trees and carry out our work. This is one part of your contribution to tackling global warming.
The next step involves making a simple commitment to at least one positive change in your lifestyle or business, to reduce your fossil-fuel based carbon emissions. These changes are essential if we really want to make a difference.
Now take action!
Step 1 Work out your carbon footprint
This table is intended to give you a very approximate idea of what your relative emissions might be like. Not everyone fits neatly into a category, but it will give an indication of how much you could consider donating:
Individual / Family
Light energy user
Medium energy user
Heavy energy user
Light energy user
Medium energy user
Heavy energy user
Step 2 Pledge to take action
Have a look at the list on the link below, and choose at least one change, or step, that you can pledge to make. Once you have done this, we will send you a certificate to thank you for becoming Carbon Conscious, saying how many trees you've had planted, and what action you've pledged to take. You will then know that you have made a real contribution to tackling climate change:
Return to About Us.
Created: 31 May 2007
Last updated: 19 April 2013