Carbon Offsetting & Beyond
The most obvious aspect of the Earth Education International (EEI) Carbon & Community program
is tree-planting, something we have been involved in since 2002. Ecologically, our trees help to offset carbon dioxide emissions associated with EEI offerings and assist in efforts to make Costa Rica carbon-neutral by 2021. Some related points of interest are as follows:
* One tree will absorb at least the same amount (about .06 tonnes) of carbon dioxide produced
as a result of in-country field study travel within 1-2 years for short courses, and 3-4 years for the
* To date, trees we have planted have absorbed approximately 1/3 of all carbon dioxide emissions
associated with both participant air travel to/from Costa Rica and local bus transportation in-country for all offerings, and all such emissions are expected to be completely sequestered by 2016.
* Given that each participant plants one tree, the average time required to sequester carbon dioxide emissions associated with getting here, getting home, and all transport in-country is between 9 and 10 years.
* In addition to sequestering carbon dioxide, trees we plant provide watershed restoration, climate management and erosion control, and improved local air quality.
* Due to the primary location where we reforest (within the Montes de Aguacate Biological Corridor), reforestation of native trees helps restore habitat for increased biological diversity.
Local Community Involvement
In addition to offsetting carbon dioxide emissions (and other environmental benefits) the Carbon & Community program also supports the local economy and community. Implementation is primarily in cooperation with a local community-based partner in our sister town of Palmares. The mission of the Madre Verde Foundation is to "promote recuperation and conservation of forests, water, soil, biodiversity and other resources of the western central valley of Costa Rica." Earth Education International assists and supports those efforts, as well as similar efforts by others, through community integration, outreach, and education. For more details, see an overview of our sustainability efforts, or the EEI Sustainability Assessment Inventory (Word document). On a personal level, this also provides an opportunity for EEI program participants and alumni to collaborate with Costa Ricans and others through shared field experiences and volunteer service-learning work. For example, past participants have assisted various reforestation efforts, helped the Madre Verde Foundation in restoration of their butterfly garden, maintaining hiking trails, attending to and fertilizing trees, working in the tree nursery and posting signs, and repairing and painting the bathrooms after they were vandalized. On behalf of EEI and the local community, we thank all who have been involved for your efforts!
Reforestation: Then and Now
Included below is a representative sample of past reforestation efforts (those that are more than one year old, where a difference in size can be noted). To the left are pictures taken during the course (on the date noted), and to the right are how the trees look today.
Tropical Biology: May 2009
Ecosystems, Conservation & Community:
Semester Abroad in Sustainable Global Stewardship: Spring 2007