2020 has been a challenging year on so many levels, and all of us are being called to shift how we approach our work and even how we think about the work we do. It has pushed us to look forward – thinking about how we can continue to work towards a better future for all. At PAN, this has included thinking about our natural environment and planning for how we can contribute to its protection through our work, through the creation of a staff committee that we fondly refer to as the Green Team (read our blog from April about the Green Team and more here).
Earlier this year, PAN committed to offset our carbon emissions from travel in the 2019 – 2020 fiscal year through purchasing carbon offsets (learn more about carbon offsetting here). The Green Team spent a significant amount of time thinking through where to invest our offsetting dollars – discussing how to maximize our impact and best support our mission and values– and decided to fulfill this commitment by purchasing $2000 of carbon offsets from Offsetters’ Synergy Portfolio, representing a value higher than our calculated compensation for the last two years of PAN’s travel CO2 emissions (learn more about Offsetters and the Synergy Portfolio).
Two of the three projects included in this portfolio- the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project and the Quadra Island Forestland Conservation Project – are based here in British Columbia. We felt it was important to extend our commitment to serving our membership across BC to meaningfully contributing to projects that support the longevity, health, and wellbeing of our local ecosystems.
The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project supports protecting forested areas in the Great Bear Rainforest (an area along the coast of what is sometimes known as British Columbia – map) – a beautiful temperate rainforest that is located in a region known for its “highly diverse plant, animal and marine life” (Province of British Columbia, accessed October 1, 2020). Offsetters notes that this project “is the first carbon project in North America on traditional territory with unextinguished [Indigenous] rights and title”. First Nations communities in the region of the Great Bear Forest direct the use of funds from carbon offset purchases towards job creation in their communities.
The Quadra Island Forestland Conservation Project works on Quadra Island, one of the Discovery Islands off the eastern coast of what is sometimes known as Vancouver Island. Offsetters explains that purchases of carbon offsets contributed to the protection of “418 hectares of forestland previously designated for logging”; this forestland is now available for the enjoyment of the public and outdoor recreation.
Looking ahead, Green Team members and PAN as a whole have also begun to think about how we will do in-person events in the future. This includes considering the environmental impacts of our travel and meal choices. We also plan to continue to offset our travel through the purchase of carefully selected carbon offsets. We will communicate with our membership as we think through these next steps and how they will impact our approach.
In closing, we look forward to how PAN can contribute to a greener future, and invite your thoughts and feedback on this process. We would also like to recognize the immense work that our member organizations and allies have undertaken in these difficult times, working to strengthen our communities every day.
Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
Madeline Gallard, Community-Based Research Coordinator