30 Aug Record-breaking Costa Rica tree planting generates historic carbon neutral Adventure Travel World Summit 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska
- Rios Tropicales and the Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves partner with Visit Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Adventure Travel Trade Association to make world adventure travel conference carbon neutral.
- EARTH University Carbon Neutral Unit verifies the event.
(San José, Costa Rica, 22 August, 2016): In a bold move to show the world the importance of global climate change, Costa Rica partnered with the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau in Alaska and the Adventure Travel Trade Association to plant 5,000 trees to make the upcoming Adventure Travel World Summit 2016 completely carbon neutral.
In one of the country’s largest tree planting events in one day, more than 350 volunteers planted 5,000 native trees on Aug. 19, 2016 on a private reserve in Bajos del Tigre in Santa Marta, Siquirres, in the Limón province. The International Carbon Neutral Project Alaska – Costa Rica seeks to compensate the carbon emissions generated by the annual Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, to be held Sep. 19 to 22, 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska
Giving the World a Breath of Fresh Air: Planting 5,000 Trees
On the morning of Aug. 19, 2016, more than 350 volunteers gathered in the hot, steamy sunshine in Santa Marta de Siquirres on the farm “Las Terciopelos”, owned by Rafael Gallo and his partner Jimmy Nixon, co-founder of Rios Tropicales. They offered 10 acres of their 247-acre (100-hectare) farm for the tree planting project. It is part of the large Rios Tropicales private reserve that protects 1,977 acres (800 hectares) of primary rainforest and pastureland being converted back to rainforest. Gallo and Nixon have already reforested more than 44 acres (18 hectares) on their farm since 2008, and plan to reforest the entire property over the next 10 years.
Volunteers organized by the Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves came from San Jose by buses donated by Rios Tropicales and ICT. They were treated to breakfast at the Rios Tropicales operations center “El Cairo” near Siquirres before arriving at the farm. Other volunteers, including 113 local schoolchildren from Jabillos, El Tigre, Tres Equis and Linda Vista, came from many other areas of Costa Rica.
Over four hours, enthusiastic volunteers planted 5,000 sapling trees in 10 kinds of native hardwoods like Pilon, Guapinol and Mountain Almond that are proven to be good for this climate and region of Costa Rica. The 3,000 Mountain Almond trees planted will eventually provide food for endangered Great Green Macaws, endemic to Costa Rica’s Caribbean region.
In about 12 to 14 years, these trees will capture the approximately 1,200 tons of carbon estimated to be produced during ATWS 2016 by people traveling to the conference, principally on flights, according to Edmundo Castro, head of carbon neutrality for EARTH University. Additionally, Visit Anchorage is taking steps to reduce carbon emissions during the conference by eliminating hotel shuttles to the Anchorage convention center and encouraging participants to walk, ride bikes, or take public transportation.
“By planting trees, people are taking ownership of the oxygen that they use and will think about the carbon that they produce,” noted Gallo. “It’s really rewarding to see people plant a tree and kiss it goodbye, and know that it will grow and be part of the rainforest.” Gallo also ensured the tree planting event was trash neutral. All plastic bags from the trees and all trash generated were stuffed inside an old raft placed around the event memorial sign, which will be turned into a planter