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On the road to carbon offsets

On the road to carbon offsets

In creating the Base Camp of the 1000 Days for the Planet mission, Space for Life launched a movement for biodiversity. The ambassadors, people who decided to make public the action that they’re taking for the planet, are so inspiring that we wanted to share their story with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired and become an ambassador yourself!

At a family party, my uncle Ronald takes me aside and quietly confides that he’s decided to neutralize the greenhouse-gas emissions from his car by buying carbon offsets. Is this such a fringe thing to do that it’s embarrassing to talk about? Our ambassador of the month, Janie-Claude Marchand, makes some mileage on the subject.

A compromise that holds the road

A café swarming with life in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood is the setting for my interview with Janie-Claude. The tea she’s sipping is fair-trade. When I ask her if she identifies as an “eco-freak,” she doesn’t hesitate for a second to nod yes. “At Environment Jeunesse, I work at it every day. It’s really part of who I am.” Deadpan she tells me that her boyfriend hasn’t embraced eco-consciousness the way she has. Meaning the matter of using the car has been a bit contentious with the couple. Since their daughter, Mélodie, was born, the young family has bought a vehicle to make getting around easier. While Janie-Claude still primarily uses public transit to get to work, her partner finds the car more essential. In thinking about a compromise, the idea came to her of compensating for the greenhouse-gas emissions produced by their long road trips.

Less expensive than going to a restaurant…

$14.83. That’s how much the couple paid a to counterbalance the 2,100 kilometers of their last road trip in the Gaspé. “It doesn’t matter which counterbalancing module you do business with, it’s not expensive. All you have to do is calculate your mileage on a Google map and take the test on the organization’s website.” There you have it. Counterbalancing is affordable for everyone, and it’s not complicated. “The David Suzuki Foundation website in my opinion is the most complete one for helping anyone make the right choice.” So we checked. With a few clicks you find a practical guide and a listing of the principal companies that offer the service. Wind energy, methane recovery, reforesting – these firms invest on your behalf in projects that neutralize the CO2 emitted. Janie-Claude opted for a research project on a smaller scale. Piloted by the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Carbone Boréal offers the opportunity of contributing to the reforestation of Québec’s boreal forest. “Even if you’re under the impression that it doesn’t change very much, it’s worth the effort. For us, it’s four trees that have been planted, which is four trees more than before.” Of the hundreds of ambassadors enrolled in the movement, Janie-Claude is the only one to have made her activity public. Contribution to the carbon exchange remains voluntary, as much for businesses as for individuals. “But if we don’t do it, we can’t talk about it, or inspire other people to adopt it.” Well said, Janie-Claude.

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