Carbon Neutral Efforts

Carbon Neutral Efforts

Our Carbon Neutral Efforts

Climate change is the 3rd biggest threat to native plants after losing habitat to development and to encroaching invasive weeds. Despite all of this, El Dorado County is a beautiful place to enjoy.

Let that inspire us to reduce carbon emissions both at club events and at home. We can be part of the solution.

In that way, those who come after us, whether they be human, plant, or animal, may reap the benefits of this beautiful place we call home.

Some of our past projects do good conservation work and also reduce the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere. We want to continue to do this in even a bigger way than before, so stay tuned.

Case Studies in Carbon Sequestration
Meeting our carbon* neutral pledge last year (April 2020 – March 2021)

It’s a new process for us. One that we will repeat each year. It’s like when you plant a new type vegetable in your garden, say an artichoke. You know what the plant looks like because you are perusing the nursery aisle and there it is – clearly labeled “Green Globe Artichoke” and you are excited to grow one for the first time. Certainly you know the final product: you have cooked and eaten artichokes for years. Yet all of the google searches and advice from friends do not equal just planting the plant and growing one for yourself. That is how it has been with meeting our carbon neutral pledge this year…

In January 2021, the Board set in motion a contribution of $110 to Native Energy for a 7 ton carbon* offset for the chapter’s 2020-2021 activity year.

For a deeper dive into the details, put on your gardening hat and grab you small artichoke ready to be transplanted… The Board made the pledge in September 2019. At the beginning of last year we estimated of the chapter’s annual transportation carbon footprint to be 20 tons. For the time being we are focusing on just our transportation carbon. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere based upon how far members, visitors and customers travel to get to meetings, to hikes, to conservation work parties, and to plant sales. Because of the pandemic, many activities were canceled or zoomed instead. We re-estimated our footprint to be 7 tons.

To put the 7 tons in some perspective, the average carbon footprint per person in the U.S. is 15 tons.

Think of Native Energy as a carbon credit wholesaler who is selling the chapter a small quantity of carbon offsets being generated from its portfolio of projects throughout the world. Some of their projects involve fuel efficient stoves/solar cookers in Africa, or methane bio-digesters in India. These projects have been developed under United Nations mechanisms and are a part of a voluntary** program which not only reduces global carbon emissions but also supports the U.N’s worldwide sustainable development goals.

Its portfolio is rigorously certified and verified which reduces possible concerns of paying for projects that are just a “green washing”.

It has been expressed that local projects aligned with CNPS interests would be more preferable than a general portfolio of projects such as offered by Native Energy. The Board is discussing how to move towards compiling a chapter portfolio of local carbon sequestering projects.    

*”Carbon” refers to “carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (CO2-e ) released into the atmosphere. The “e” stands for “equivalent”, that is, other greenhouse gas amounts (like methane) are fudged around and added to the CO2 amount so that we can speak of a single total number.

** An example of a non-voluntary market is California’s “Cap and Trade”, a large regulated carbon emissions trading market involving utilities and commercial/industrial enterprises. Though also having a goal of reducing carbon emissions, it is completely separate from the U.N. voluntary program.

Recommended by Chapter Members

If you know of resources that educate about carbon neutral subjects, and help increase the enjoyment and use of California native plants; please let us know by contacting Tal Blackburn.
Gardening in a Changing Climate
“Here’s what I found to be an excellent Master Gardener presentation on climate change and how people can live more sustainably. It’s by Steve Savage, retired meteorologist and local Master Gardener and was given in 5 (!) one hour segments. It’s available online at the Master Gardeners of Dorado County website… might be great to offer as a link. I really got a lot out of it and plan to listen again. (Lester really liked it too.)” -Alice
Kiss the Ground

Documentary available on Netflix

“A highly produced Netflix documentary called Kiss the Ground is worth mentioning as a resource. While directed at our destructive agricultural practices and not the average gardener, the message is clear that healthy soils sequester carbon. Watching it leads to many resources such as Kristin Ohlson’s book, The Soil Will Save Us, and Elaine Ingham’s “ -Christie
Climate Change Solutions Simulator
“You might be interested in looking at Climate Interactives’ Climate Change Solutions Simulator. The purpose of it is to evaluate the best options for reducing greenhouse gases. Not surprisingly, putting a price on carbon is very effective.” -Gwen
Zero Waste Groceries

“My son in SF sent me this link. If I lived in Bay Area, I’d try. They don’t deliver up here but I signed up for their newsletter and expressed interest. Premise is no plastic waste… I thought you might be interested in the fact that there are services out there. It is one way to minimize a carbon footprint. They claim that only the nitrile gloves that they use are disposed. Everything else is reused. So this is a little FYI.” -O.J.

EDC Fire Safe Chipping Program

As of November 29, 2021, the El Dorado County Fire Safe has reopened its chipping program…

Instead of burning your brush piles this year, consider having them chipped.  It’s good for reducing severity of wildfires, good for fewer carbon emissions compared to burning piles and a free service.

Chips can be used as mulch, on garden paths or under chicken roosts.  If spreading chips over a large field area is desired, consider observing CNPS’ guidelines for applying compost to rangelands.  Their guidelines’ purpose is to minimize detriment to land well suited for native plants.  Though compost is not the same as chips, the guidelines offer some insight nevertheless.  CNPS recommends a maximum of ¼” compost every 3 years, not tilled in.  They advise that serpentine soil may not be a good candidate area and areas with many native plants may also not be good candidates.