We clearly love being in the outdoors, whether it is camping, walking, climbing, or any other outdoor sport you can think of – so we spend a lot of time in it. To attend our meets, we mainly use car shares and usually use the train for our single day social events.

So we have been asking ourselves – what can we give back?

The club estimated (using online calculator at https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator1.html) that based on 12 UK meets and 2 international meets (our usual meet set-up) we would need to offset around at least 20 tonnes of CO2 per year. Our single day social events were not included in this calculation, but we have hopefully accounted for them as you’ll see further below. After this decision, Oli (our training secretary) kindly conducted the research to assist us in finding the initiatives we may be interested in supporting.

Initially, we would have loved to have focused all of our carbon off-setting in the UK, however there just isn’t enough room for it! To offset 20 tonnes per year, we’d need approximately 1000 fully grown trees per year. As a result we decided to split the focus between the UK and overseas where we could both contribute to replanting of trees and the overall picture for a sustainable future. We (at the Committee) think the programmes are excellent and would like the club to support.

At the AGM (Nov 2021), we will ask the members if they are happy add a bit more to the cost of membership to contribute to towards doing this yearly. If you are a member and you are reading this, please keep an eye out for the AGM email in the run up!

In the meantime, we voted to use the club’s funds to cover this year as a start. So here they are – the projects we think will be an awesome addition to the MMC’s Carbon Offsetting ‘Project’:

Trees for Life

This project is based in Scotland were we will help to rewild the Caledonian Forest, a rich habitat in the Scottish Highlands. The impact of this programme from what we can contribute for carbon offsetting will be small overall, but it is still large for the habitat it is helping to re-build. Plus, it can potentially account for our now more regular single day events (climbs and rambles) where the number of attendees is less predictable and are more likely to use the trains.

The MMC bought a ‘grove’ which allows us to continue to contribute towards this project, kicking it off with 39 trees. The cool part? We get to have our own webpage to check out the number of trees we’ve contributed towards, when, and individuals can donate additional trees if they wish (there’s already one!):

https://treesforlife.org.uk/groves/336079/

The locally collected seeds include (though I think not limited to): Scots pine, Willow, Birch, Rowan, Hazel, Alder, Holly, Aspen, and Bird Cherry. The trees will be planted at one of the remote sites, including the Dundreggan estate near Loch Ness and the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve.

Saplings are planted alongside other young, native trees, transforming open hillsides into healthy young woodland, rich in wildlife such as red squirrel, black grouse, capercaillie, wood ants and twinflower. Once the trees reach maturity, natural regeneration will go on to create the wild forests of the future for generations to enjoy.

Trees for Life have provided a map of where their donated trees are being planted – from 2020, this is the Carn na Coarach area in the Dundreggan Forest:

https://treesforlife.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Website-map-scaled.jpeg

Later down the line we may be able to arrange a larger Scottish Meet which can include a hike in the area, making wild guesses on which trees are “ours”. Of course, picking the best sites for the new trees may mean it may be spread across the whole area. In which case, no matter! It’s all about the contribution.

The Carbon Footprint: The America’s Portfolio

The second programme was selected from a number offered by Carbon Footprint. During our research, we realised that UK based programmes were split with overseas ones as standard, but clarity on how this was split isn’t readily available for many. Carbon Footprint is fortunately pretty clear, offering 1 tree in the UK per tonne of CO2 offsetting overseas.

However, as we really wanted to also support the Scottish rewilding project, it was more cost-effective for the club (this year) to go with 20 tonnes of CO2 offsetting with the America’s Portfolio – which focuses on preventing/reducing deforestation and contributing towards sustainable development, and renewable energy.

Link to the project details here: https://www.carbonfootprint.com/americas_offsets.html

Of course, as the Carbon Footprint programmes are ‘buy-as-you-go’, the selected programme (or programmes) can be reviewed every year and we look forward to hearing back from members on their thoughts.

Page last updated: 17/06/2021