Planting Trees To Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

We are never going to stop travelling, even under Covid rules we still make short journeys to the beach, and as soon as this is under control, we'll be hunting waves again around the world. Surfing's carbon footprint as an activity is pretty horrendous per head, yes if you compare it to business travel etc. it's nothing, but per head of surfing population we are pumping the stuff out. 

So we have put together a series of features about offsetting CO2, written by scientists, not surfers to explain exactly how it all works, and what is the best way to do things. This goes for the actual act of travel, to offsetting. So to start with here are a few takeaways today - 


1. It is better to take longer, fewer journeys, than to take many short ones. What does that mean? Two months in Indo or Central America, staying at a beach lodge, walking to the surf, is better, even though the flight is longer, than five or six chart hits in Europe. 

2. If you can, do not solo road trip, the more of you in one car the better, but we knew that. But of course that has to be balanced by turning up at spots and creating an insta crowd as well. 

3. If you can, only travel by public mass transit, train to airport, buses around the country you're going to. We know there are hurdles, starting right here in Cornwall for example you're not allowed a surfboard on a train to London...



There are three levels to CO2 offsetting, we're going to explore them each at length, but her mis a starting point.

Level 1

Protecting existing mature forests and woodlands is more important than planting new ones. Mature forests are already absorbing at a maximum rate, and are constantly re-generating, it takes years for forests to mature, so protection is number one. This goes for sea grass meadows and kelp forests as well. 

Level 2

Plant native, so like Fergal, Matt Smith and Mitch Corbett are doing at Hometree in Ireland, plant species that should be there. This helps biodiversity and extra growth. Likewise, plant native around the oceans, Mangroves, sea grass and kelp all do the same things, and actually absorb CO2 quicker than a lot of terrestrial plants, check out Seatrees from sustaiblesurf

Level 3

Planting non-native/commercial. To be clear a lot of larger CO2 tree planting operations are often linked to commercial forestry. This is a good and bad thing, on a plus side when you buy a flight and you're skint, adding a couple of quid on to plant trees is easy. But, you have to remember these trees don't reach maturity and stay there, and whilst they do help, there is no doubt. They will be cut and then replaced. The other downside is, unlike native forests they do nothing for the environment and bio-diversity, if you've ever taken a walk on forestry commission land, looked down those rows, it's a virtual desert of life. That said better to plant something than nothing. 

Thats an intro, if you read no more over the next couple of weeks, then take these snippets away.