Offsetting your Carbon Footprint

Why your Carbon Footprint matters

We all have a carbon footprint. Our homes, businesses, cars, travel, and appliances all use energy. When fossil fuels are burned to create that energy they emit carbon dioxide, along with other greenhouse gases, which contribute directly to global warming.

Climate change is a serious problem that is happening now. The last 10 years were the warmest on record and sea levels are rising. A recent White House report warns of increasing storms, heat waves, droughts, wildfires and acidification of the oceans.

This has become an economic issue. The White House report predicts that just 3 degrees of warming will cause economic damages in excess of $150 billion dollars per year in North America alone. If we want to slow the rate of climate change, then we must reduce the impact of our energy consumption and carbon emissions.

“We only get one planet. Humankind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this planet depends on the conscious evolution of our species.”

– Leonardo DiCaprio in a speech to the United Nations

Carbon Offsets – the natural choice

To make a serious dent in our carbon emissions, we all need to take action. That means not only reducing our Carbon emissions but also drawing down carbon from the atmosphere.

Many people are refitting their homes and businesses to be more energy efficient and to use clean energy sources such as solar power. However, even the greenest homes and workplaces still have a carbon footprint and carbon reduction alone is not enough. Even if we all stopped our carbon emissions today, there is already enough greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to create catastrophic warming.

Trees and green things use carbon to grow, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the air. Planting trees is one of the most effective ways of drawing down and reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

The Empress Splendor tree utilizes a highly efficient form of photosynthesis that is rarely found in trees. This allows the Empress Splendor to both grow, and sequester carbon at an exceptionally rapid pace.

Eats Carbon for Breakfast

Trees are one of the most effective ways of offsetting your carbon emissions.

The Empress Splendor tree’s fast growth rate makes it highly efficient at carbon sequestration.

Protects old growth forests

Demand for timber is rising, creating increasing pressure on our forests and ecosystems.

Planting trees for the purpose of timber production helps to prevent the destruction of our forests.

Replenishes the soil

Empress trees can be planted in depleted soil
and will revitalize it.

The large leaves create nutrient-rich mulch that brings nutrition back to the ground.

Protecting our Forests

The United Nations predicts that global demand for timber will double by 2050.  The problem is that we don’t have enough supply to keep up with the demand and we are cutting down trees faster than we are growing them. Deforestation is happening at the rate of 20 football fields a minute. This loss of forests is causing depletion of our soils which is reducing the resiliency of our land to climate change.

World Tree is not a re-forestation project. Our goal is not to grow new forests but to protect the ones we already have by growing trees for the purpose of timber production. Empress trees produce hardwood in 10 years and regrow after harvest without replanting. This means we can help meet the demand for timber without destroying our existing forests.

What’s the catch?

At this point, many environmentalists are looking at us skeptically. “This can’t be right,” they say. Surely it is invasive or environmentally destructive. Here are the top concerns we hear from the green community:

Is it invasive?

No, the Empress tree is not invasive.

There are 23 species of Paulownia (the biological name of the Empress tree). The one that is most commonly known is the Paulownia tomentosa and this happens to be the only invasive variety. We use only non-invasive species and the trees we grow are only from mother stock. This means they are unable to reproduce without a human hand to help.

Where is it native to?

The tree is native to China – however, we have good reason to believe it has North American roots. In fact, the oldest known fossils of the tree were found in the United States. Dating to 40,000 years ago, fossils have been found from Washington State and Alabama. However, the tree does not like the cold and it was wiped out in the ice ages.

The Chinese re-introduced the Empress tree to North America 200 years ago. All the research to date shows that the tree plays nicely with other species.

Is it genetically modified?

No more than a prize-winning cucumber might be, in the sense that we do select high-quality timber varieties, but there are no alien genes inserted. The fast growth rate and rapid carbon sequestration of the trees are totally Mother Nature inspired.

Are you encouraging monocultures?

No. Empress trees are great for use in permaculture and inter-crop very well with other plants. In Costa Rica we are intercropping the trees with coffee, providing much-needed shade for the coffee plants. The Empress tree is great for planting alongside any other plants that prefer partial shade, especially in hotter locations.

We are also planting trees in places where the soil is depleted or there is fallow land that has gone out of use for environmental or economic reasons. In other words, we are planting useful trees in places where there is currently nothing else growing but grass and weeds.

So, what is the catch?

There is no catch. Mother Nature has provided us with a powerful solution to tackling our carbon problem.

But, if this is your question, you are in good company. Morley Safer of “Sixty Minutes” phoned up World Tree and asked us the same thing. He did his research and was so impressed he ended up doing a very complementary documentary on World Tree for his show ‘The American Environmental Review’. See the documentary here.

Positive action for a better world

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do to really make a difference. Offsetting your carbon emissions is a powerful action you can take to reverse your carbon footprint. This is the only program where you not only offset your emissions, but you also get a financial return. Watch the video to find out how the unique properties of the Empress tree make this possible.

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