Our CO2 Footprint

So it is the end of the year and you are thinking about donating money to any of the organizations that rely on our help to keep doing their good work. But there are so many, how do you decide who to give to and even more important, how much are you going to give? Sometimes it can feel so overwhelming to be faced with so much need, especially if your “donation budget” is limited or arbitrary that indecision stops you from helping out at all. So here are a few suggestions to help you in your generosity.

First off, how much are you going to give? What amount of your hard earned cash does it make sense to give away and how do you justify that generosity to yourself or your family? Well, most of us need to work to make a living and for most of us that involves using some form of fossil fuel burning transportation to make the daily commute. If we didn’t work, we wouldn’t have any money to donate so how about a self-tax on our work related transportation impacts? For the past few years, we at Misty Isles Adventures have self taxed ourselves on the diesel that we used working Misty Isles. This year we have expanded that to include all gas and propane used for our boats and vehicles.

What is our calculation? As a business, we keep all of our fuel receipts. In 2010 we used 2,178 litres of diesel in Misty Isles. Diesel produces 2.7 kg of CO2 per litre and so we produced 5.9 tonnes of CO2 this way. In addition, we used 1751 litres of gas and propane which produces 2.4 kg per litre for a total of 4.2 tonnes of CO2. So in 2010, our business operations produced 10.1 tonnes of CO2. We self-tax ourselves at $50 per tonne and so we have established that we will donate a minimum of $505 to charities. This money is directly related to our work and we regard it as part of the cost of doing business.

But it is also more than this. It is a chance at year-end to review this aspect of our impact on the environment and to see if there has been a change in our CO2 production. It is a chance to at least partially mitigate our impacts by donating to environmental organizations. And it is a chance to reflect on using the sails and bicycles even more!

What if you don’t need to work or commute for a living? Do you still travel for recreation, adventure and learning? Keep your fuel receipts. Websites such as www.atmosfair.de and www.treecanada.ca make it easy to find out your carbon impacts from air travel and other activities. If you travel to someplace beautiful for a vacation, why not do a little good at the same time?

We start by giving close to home. The Georgia Strait Alliance, Friends of Cortes Island and Salmon Are Sacred are all working hard to keep our area ecosystems vibrant and healthy. Samantha is passionate about animal welfare and gives to The Fauna Foundation and Farm Sanctuary. And after my time spent working in the Antarctic, I have a strong affinity for the Southern Ocean and so we give to the Sea Shepherds for their defence of the whales against the Japanese harpoons.

Sure, there are still many more worthy agencies we’d like to help but at least now that we have justified a minimum donation budget, we can be generous to those we feel strongly about.

Our thanks to Barry Saxifrage who supplied the following CO2 calculations for a four day exploration of Bute Inlet and the Discovery Islands we did with a group of six passengers.

Barry writes ” I thought I’d pass along my CO2 emissions research for our trip. Misty isn’t great on CO2 per kilometre…but it isn’t used as a long distance transport vehicle. It is used for vacationing. On that measure it is an excellent low-CO2 vacation option…especially when there are many people on board. Here is the data:”

370L of diesel
2.7kg of CO2 per liter of diesel
420L of gasoline
2.4kg of CO2 per liter of gasoline
62 hours of Misty running
6L diesel/hour = 16kgCO2/hour
75 hours of Misty average engine time
5L diesel/hour = 13.5kgCO2/hour

1/3 tonne CO2 TOTAL
24 hours*5L/hour = 120L = 324kgCO2
1/18 tonne CO2 per PASSENGER
324kg/6people = 54kg/person = 20L/person

How does our 4-day trip CO2 compare to other vacation options?

* SUV with 2 people driving to Nanaimo and back
* SUV with 4 people driving to Victoria and back
* Average car with 3 people driving to Victoria and back
* Full bus driving to Edmonton and back (best land transport option)

* Seaplane Seattle-Cortes = 2 times more per person
* Fly Vancouver-LosAngeles = 18 times more per person
* Fly Vancouver-Toronto = 33 times more per person
* Fly Vancouver-India = 170 times more per person. Each person flying Van to India emits more than they would taking two Misty adventures per year for 80 years.


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