How Does Carbon Offsetting Work?

While carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural part of life, human activity such as fossil fuel burning and extensive deforestation has created an imbalance of CO2 in our atmosphere. This excess has altered the stability of the planet’s climate system, and as a result, we are now experiencing global climate change – the effects of which include increased natural disasters such as severe storms, droughts and floods.

The earth’s forests provide some of the best defenses against climate change. Trees and plants capture and store CO2 in their trunks, branches and roots, while a forest’s healthy soils can attract carbon-capturing microbes. By protecting natural forests and restoring the soil's capacity to store carbon and water, we can help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

By offsetting your CO2 footprint – the carbon emissions created through car and air travel, electricity use, and food production – you’re helping to protect natural forests and regenerate healthy soils to increase CO2 capture. And if you offset in the Sierra Gorda, you’re not just fighting climate change, you’re also protecting biodiversity, and supporting communities in need ­– a triple return on your investment.

How do I calculate my carbon emissions?

Taking a shower, cooking, using a computer, traveling in an automobile...just about everything you do has a carbon footprint. If you want to add all these up to calculate your total emissions, you just need to input some information into our calculators.

Through our own studies and data from the International Panel on Climate Change, we know the quantities of carbon captured by our local oak forests. With this information, we can tell you the area of forest you need to protect to mitigate your emissions, and what the cost will be.

I have my amount of my carbon emission... now what?

Once you have made the payment for your emissions, we will search for one of the many landowners willing to protect and regenerate their forests in exchange for financial support, which, thanks to you, we can give. In this way, the landowner will be compensated for some of the environmental services that his or her forest plot is offering to all of us.

Once the landowner and plot have been chosen, the forest will remain protected from logging, hunting, forest fires, and ranching for one year. With this protection, the forest biomass and number of tree saplings will increase, capturing greater quantities of carbon, and forest animals will benefit from improved habitat.

So that you can see the property that is protected thanks to your donation, we will send you a map with a satellite image and the exact coordinates.

What happens after one year?

The calculation of your carbon emissions represents just one year. After that year, you will continue emitting CO2 to the atmosphere but you will no longer have a counterpart in the Sierra Gorda to compensate your carbon footprint. Truly making a difference to protect the environment means taking more permanent actions, so we invite you to consider partnering with us long-term to compensate your footprint.

What about livestock?

Cows, sheep, and goats were first brought to the Americas in the 16th century. Prior to that, they did not exist in this part of the world. For generations, local landowners have let livestock, especially cattle, roam free in their forests, which has resulted in the deterioration of vegetation, soil erosion, and the clearing of trees to create pastures.

In exchange for your donation, the landowner will promise to sell his or her cows for human consumption, which will allow the property to begin a process of regeneration, capturing more carbon dioxide and hosting increasing biodiversity.

The payment that the landowners receive is more than they would earn from the raising of livestock, and they do not run the risk of losing animals to disease or death. In the Sierra Gorda, neither beef nor cow's milk are an important part of the diet of most local landowners (corn, beans, rice, and chicken are the foundation of the diet), which means that selling cows will not affect the ability of landowners to feed their families.

What type of forest will be protected with my carbon compensation?

To create the greatest environmental benefit with your compensation payments, we target oak forests with extremely high conservation value for protection and regeneration. These forests provide habitat for threatened mammals (the jaguar and puma) as well as birds (the great curassow and bearded wood partridge) meaning that by helping us protect forests, you are directly supporting the conservation of threatened animals.

Who makes sure that the landowners fulfill their responsibilities?

As part of the Carbon Offsets program, we provide training and constant support for participating landowners. In the process, they become stewards of the environment, and our personnel monitor to assure that they are fulfilling their responsibilities.

 
 
 

What you can do

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