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Park stewards introduce carbon offset program


| Sourced From Thestarphoenix |

Saskatchewan’s urban park stewards officially launched the first voluntary carbon offset program in the province Thursday.

The program allows people to offset their daily carbon emissions by making a proportional donation to a member of the Association of Saskatchewan Urban Parks & Conservation Agencies (ASUPCA) that would be used to plant trees and naturalize land in the respective parks and conservation zones.

“Carbon offsetting is happening in Canada, but there aren’t any specific programs in Saskatchewan that I am aware of,” said Meewasin Valley Authority spokesperson Doug Porteous.

Other members of ASUPCA are the Battlefords River Valley, Chinook Parkway in Swift Current, Pehonan Parkway in Prince Albert, Wakamow Valley in Moose Jaw and Wascana in Regina. More than 60 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population live near parks maintained by an ASUPCA member.

The system is fairly straightforward.

If someone was flying to Calgary and wanted to offset the carbon footprint from the flight, he or she could go to the group’s website and determine how much it would cost to offset the emissions using the site’s built-in carbon calculator.

The calculator uses emissions data from Agriculture Canada to determine the carbon footprints of various household and leisure activities, as well as transportation options, based on the size and type of vehicle and the distance travelled.

The group says eight trees can absorb one tonne of carbon over a span of about 60 years, and the average cost to the park stewards to plant eight trees is about $50, so that is the cost to offset one tonne of carbon use — equal to travelling about 8,400 kilometres in an airplane.

“We’re pioneering this carbon offset program as a way to keep those carbon offset dollars and the environmental benefit in Saskatchewan,” said Porteous.

The group doesn’t know how much the program could bring in, but it hopes to begin explaining carbon offsets through educational programs offered by the various groups.

To purchase carbon offsets, or try out the emissions calculator, go to carboncreditcanada.ca.

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