In SURFING's upcoming Greeen Issue, we announce that we've partnered with the non-profit Carbonfund and gone "carbon neutral." It appears we aren't alone.
Kelly: looking out for future generations at J Bay
Just recently, Kelly Slater committed to the same program. But he took it one step further. Instead of offsetting his carbon emissions moving forward, he's doing it retroactively for his entire career. Considering his career spans all the way back to 1991, we're talking a hell of a lot of newly planted trees. "I’ve thought about it for years," says Kelly. "but wasn’t actually sure how to do it. It’s definitely something you wonder about after all that traveling, the effect all that fuel consumption has on the planet. The guys at Carbonfund made it really easy to do. I made a brief calculation of my travel over the years. I spend about two weeks a year actually in the sky flying and quite a few driving miles which both add up a little differently. I've done around 4 million miles total, which I thought would break the bank when the end result came. But it adds up to around five acres of replanting that costs around $5500."
Here's how it works: after you calculate your impact (mileage driven or flown, electricity used, etc.), Carbonfund gives you different options to "offset" your carbon emissions –the chief culprit for the Climate Change crisis. The primary option for Carbonfund's newly formed CarbonFree Surfing Program is reforestation. SURFING Magazine committed to mangroves in India; Slater is putting his efforts toward the San Juan Del Sur area in Nicaragua. Kelly will have 25 different indigenous species planted on a private reserve bordering the Escamequita River, which protects the watershed leading right to the beach. This is not only important turtle nesting habitat, but it also protects water quality for all the surf breaks south of SJDS, including the threatened wave at Playa Yankee. "Like his eight world titles, it's clearly another great first for Kelly," says Michael Stewart, Partnerships Director at CarbonFund, "and an open invite for all surfers to look at the long trail of CO2 left behind by modern surf travel. Think of it this way: would you start a tire fire on the beach at Pipe? Well, if you don't compensate for the CO2 from plane ride over there through reforestation or green power projects, you basically just did."
The CarbonFree Surfing Program has inspired a number of other industry leaders along with Kelly. To date, the following companies/individuals are the first to sign on in their field:
1. (Surfing culture) Surfrider Foundation-Virginia Beach Chapter First SRF chapter to go Carbon Neutral.
2. (Board Shaper) Mandala Custom Shapes First custom board shaper to be Carbon Neutral.
3. (Manufacturer – surfboard blanks) Homeblown USAFirst Carbon Neutral-Hardgoods Surfing Product
4. (Retail business -surf shop) WetsandFirst Carbon Neutral-Surf Shop in the US, both online and downtown Ventura, CA retail storefront.
Along with inspiring the industry, Kelly's ultimate goal is to get all the surfers on the ASP World Tour to join in, hopefully creating a "surf forest" that makes the entire ASP tour "carbon neutral." "That'll raise some eyebrows around the world and show a responsible group of people working for the greater good of all mankind," says KS. "There are many people out there unconvinced as to our effect on the world's climate. I have to admit at times I wonder what the exact science is. But here's the clincher for me: if you plant more trees and use more land for good you will have better air quality. Simple as that. The Earth one day will get tired of us treating it so badly and flick us off and repair itself without us. We should just do our best to keep this big bedroom/house of ours as clean as possible while we have it. Sign up and make your little bit of difference."
For more on Carbonfund's Carbon Free Surfing Program, go to www.greensurf.org.
Be sure to check SURFING Magazine's Green Issue, on newsstands this month.