Lowering the ecological impact of Birch Cottage doesn’t only involve the cottage itself. Around these parts we’re not blessed with great public transport, and so for the majority of visitors, getting here by car is the only option (although we have had people arrive here who have cycled from the USA (with occasional boat trips), and hitched from as far away as Austria). We also realise that many people will have flown into the country to get here. The solution? We offset the carbon emissions generated by planting a tree or trees for every visitor.
We know that this isn’t perfect, and emissions need to come down, but offsetting is the best we can do for now, and so here’s what happens.
We don’t plant them each time someone arrives – come winter we plant sufficient to offset the emissions of visits for the year so far, based on where our visitors came from and how they got here. We’re assuming a minimum of one tree per visitor, even for those who came just half an hour by car.
This excellent calculator allows us to work out the carbon emissions of travellers and plant accordingly – http://calculator.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx?lang=en-GB A tree can sequester as much as a tonne of CO2 over a 40 year lifespan, and we are estimating on 0.5 tonne / 20 years here. So one tree will offset the travel of a visitor flying from Germany, then driving here by car. Luckily we have plenty of room, and we do love to plant trees – over 1200 so far.