Moving toward a healthier relationship with Earth
The Earth is a powerful educator on Dragons programs, and we recognize it as a stakeholder in our business. As a step toward giving the Earth the respect it deserves, Where There Be Dragons has partnered with Native, a Public Benefit Corporation to offset the greenhouse gasses our business produces.
WHAT OFFSETTING MEANS
When you purchase offset credits, you help fund projects that reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Some projects take carbon out of the atmosphere, while others prevent more carbon from being emitted. Credits are measured in equivalent tonnes (metric tons) of carbon dioxide (CO2). One offset credit equals one tonne of CO2 equivalent avoided or removed from the atmosphere, compensating for one tonne emitted elsewhere.
Dragons carbon offsets support the Medford Spring Grassland Conservation Project in Bent County, Colorado, USA—just a few hours away from Dragons HQ in Boulder. The project will allow the Southern Plains Land Trust to buy 6,600 acres of grassland and prevent it from being farmed or developed. Preserving the grassland prevents carbon stored in the soil from being released, keeping an estimated 190,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over the next 50 years. (The equivalent of 40,000 years of emissions from one car!)
WHAT DRAGONS IS OFFSETTING
Dragons offset purchases are divided into two categories:
Administrative Carbon Footprint
In 2019, Dragons offset our entire administrative footprint: 517 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Among other things, this includes: energy consumption in our office space, employee commutes, air travel and hotels for administrative gatherings and our instructor orientations, and travel for outreach to schools and students. For future years, Dragons will reduce this footprint by making adjustments to our office infrastructure and shifting the ways we travel. We will continue purchasing offsets for emissions we can’t reduce.
Footprint from Program Flights
Dragons largest impact comes from international flights to and from our programs. Program flights amount to over 4,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year—an average of 4.15 tonnes per traveler. Beginning in 2020, offsets for air travel emissions will be included in the cost of all summer, semester, and partnership programs. At the end of each season, Dragons will calculate the total emissions from the season’s flights and purchase the appropriate number of offsets.
ARE OFFSETS A LEGITIMATE CLIMATE STRATEGY?
Offsets can constitute part of a broader climate strategy. Some emissions are difficult to reduce, and offsets offer a transitional way to reduce the harm of these “necessary” emissions (e.g., international flights for Dragons programs).
However, offsets are not a one-stop climate solution. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that to curtail climate change, we must reach global carbon neutrality by 2050. Not enough emissions can be offset to reach this goal. If we want to address climate change, we need to focus on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions using all available strategies, from small lifestyle changes to big technological advances. Offsets will play a role in achieving this goal, but they won’t be enough. We must reduce carbon emissions across the board. Offsets therefore constitute only part of Dragons effort to reduce our climate impact—you can read more about other initiatives on our Environmental & Social Responsibility page.