non-fiction rock from Aotearoa New Zealand

Posts tagged “Ekos

The Carbon Offset Dubstep

a drive around the block is statistically insignificant in terms of the overall impact on the climate. That said, when a million turn an ignition key, it moves into the collective realm of statistical, and planetary, significancy. The heat is on.

Interpretation of Timothy Morton

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So we just bought carbon credits to offset our trip to Tokyo and Seoul. And it’s an easy thing to do.

From memory, Naomi Klein said in her book This Changes Everything, that a transition away from high-carbon to low-carbon activities is essential for ongoing viability of life on earth. She cites creative endeavours, such as the arts, as being a low-carbon activity to encourage. That’s a nice thing to hear if you make things such as music, it has a feel-good buzz to it, a pat-on-the-back for not launching tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere willy-nilly by being a ‘dirty polluter’.

But then we hop on a plane to go and play random weird tunes elsewhere because we can. Carbon, say hello to the atmosphere. And though it’s highly likely the plane will still have dumped that much carbon without us on board, the fact remains that we are on board, we have added encouragement to the intercontinental flight network [it is an amazing thing!], and we know that the impact of such events collectively cumulate into an unfolding hyperobject called Climate Change. [Again, read or watch Morton’s ideas on Hyperobjects].

How to mitigate such impacts? What’s a personal responsibility in this regard? How to offset the negative impacts of a positive endeavour? Talk to EKOS.

Ekos makes carbon footprint measurement and offsetting accessible for businesses and individuals. Our carbon credits come from our own carbon projects that grow and protect indigenous forest. These projects do more than capture carbon: they reduce erosion, help to clean waterways, improve biodiversity and provide sustainable income for local communities in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. [from website]

Carbon offsetting is easy. This is the second time we’ve used EKOS to help carbon offset our tours and they are super helpful. You can read about the first time in the post, Out of step to not offset. They assist to calculate the impact of flights, trains, taxis and other transportation required. To offset our trip to Tokyo and Seoul we paid approximately NZ$240, that covered all transport as well as any other calculation we were unable to supply.

Carbon offsetting means planting trees. Planting one tree sequesters about one ton once fully grown. One ton is statistically insignificant in the grand scheme of things. However after planting one million trees, and then multiply that further, then it does start to have some statistical, and actual, significance. Let’s plant some shade.

We would encourage all touring act, big and small, to investigate offsetting your projects where possible. There may be local equivalents in the areas where you live. Check it out.

We wrote this last time, seems worth saying again: “We hope other creative practitioners and festival organisers can hook up with a services like Ekos and make reducing their carbon footprint a regular and expected part of creative responsibility and activity. “


Out of step to not Offset

If you have been following our tour diary, you will have picked up that we often comment on the environment, in all its beauty and/or visible degradation (or often invisibity due to the impenetrable smog).

Creative work generally has a low carbon footprint. However, it’s unarguable that hopping on a plane to tour your creative endevour generates a massive carbon footprint.

As creative workers, we wanted to attempt to offset our impact as best as possible. Our work is not more important than the sustained ongoingness of life on this globe.

For this tour we have chosen to utilise the services of Ekos, a NZ charity that produces internationally certified CO2 offsets from rainforest protection carbon conservation projects. When we offset our flight emissions with Ekos we supported the Rarakau Rainforest Conservation Project on Maori land in western Southland, Aotearoa NZ. And it was easy and affordable. Ekos also has certified rainforest protection carbon projects in several Pacific nations.

From the Ekos website:

“Most of us understand the need for infrastructure to support and enable our economy and wellbeing. Water, energy, waste management, transportation, communications, self defence… Without sufficient investments in infrastructure, the services we enjoy from them cannot endure.

Ecosystems are also ‘infrastructure’ – they provide beneficial services to our wellbeing. For example rainforests provide water quality, water supply, flood protection, drought mitigation, climate resilience, nutrient cycling, food fuel, and building materials. These services are central to our economy, and nature provides them for free – until we kill the geese that lay the golden eggs. A smart economy takes advantage of nature’s helpers by investing in their maintenance and durability.

The time has long past when we can rely on governments and voluntary organisations to meet our ecological infrastructure investment needs. Ekos enables visionary elements in the private sector to take on a game-changing leadership role in sustainable development through an approach based on carrots rather than sticks. An investment in nature is an investment in our common wellbeing.”

We hope other creative practitioners and festival organisers can hook up with a services like Ekos and make reducing their carbon footprint a regular and expected part of creative responsibility and activity. It is encouraging the hear that some big festivals are discussing with Ekos ways to minimise the environmental impact of their festival.


FYI: A couple of books have stretched our thinking about making bigger connections. Donna Harraway’s book, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene stirred lots of conversations. She talks about how this new epoch, our current age, has been termed as the Anthropocene, the age where humanity-collective is responsible for the multi-environmental/multi-species damage. Harraway suggests this concept isn’t big enough, or accurate enough, and suggest that the term Capitalocene is more apt: that the fundamental driver of environmental and species damage done is the economic model of Capitalism in all it variants, not ALL humans. Naomi Klein also discusses the links between capitalism and climate change in her book, “This Changes Everything“. Klein also discusses the low-carbon footprint of creative work. Both books are well worth read.