By David Selden, SR-SIS
The focus of the SR Cook Stove Travel Offset Project was to provide a convenient and affordable way for AALL members to reduce their personal contribution to climate change. The environmental impact of this project is significant and it has the bonus of multiple social benefits.
Travel is by far the biggest environmental burden associated with the conference and makes a significant contribution to global warming. Did you know that the average travel carbon footprint of each attendee is about one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) –per passenger? I was amazed when I learned this and realized how much fuel an aircraft carried. (No wonder the planes crashing into the World Trade Center created such horrific explosions! The aircraft carries a huge amount of fuel!) The emissions created by one person is equal to equal to burning about one ton of coal or all of the energy used by the average U.S. household over six weeks.
Sixty three conference attendees participated in the offset project, donating $1,700. These generous donors offset about 283 tons of carbon dioxide – more than 4 times each person’s footprint for this one trip. They are doing that much more to help cool the planet. Nearly everything you do just by living counts toward your personal footprint of about 17 ton of CO2 emissions per year per person.
What makes the cook stove project special is that the benefits go way beyond the verified carbon offset. It improves the lives of Ugandans in East Africa by providing jobs and greatly reducing the cost of cooking meals. Many jobs have been created to manufacture, distribute and sell the stoves. This project reduces charcoal or wood use for cooking by over 50%, lowering impacts on deforestation and saves families about 20% of their annual income spent on cooking fuel. The stoves also help reduce respiratory illness by significantly lowering the smoke created from cooking.
By the Numbers
Project participants: 63
Dollars raised: $1,700
Cost to offset a ton of CO2: about $6.04 (this is very inexpensive for 3rd party verified offset)
Tons of CO2 offset: about 283
Annual income saved by Ugandan families: $110.
Annual income for a Ugandan: $550
Deforestation reduced: Estimated 3,000 Hectares per year (90,000 Uga stove users)
Cumulative impact of Uganda the cook stove project: Over 1 million tons of carbon saved so far.
Thanks to AALL
The Committee on Environmental Sustainability would like to thank AALL staff and President Ronald Wheeler for embracing and promoting this volunteer offset project.
Photos used with permission of CoolEffect.org