The Carbon Question – How to Help a Warming Planet
Carbon is the universal building block of life – an abundant, natural element found in all life forms on our planet. So why has it become such a dirty word in the climate change conversation?
When talking about carbon and climate – we’re referring to carbon dioxide (C02) a heat-trapping “greenhouse” gas naturally produced on the earth every day through respiration and combustion.
Atmospheric carbon has been naturally captured and stored in the earth for millions of years – but it is being released back into the atmosphere in a much shorter time at enormous scale by human-driven emissions from burning of fossil fuels.
Mass manufacturing, energy consumption and land use has dramatically scaled up over the last 200 years and so has our carbon footprint. Since the Industrial Revolution, the impact of human produced greenhouse gases to the atmosphere has been over 50 times that of changes in the Sun's output.
Carbon emissions are the leading cause of climate change and to save our planet from its present course of climate warming, the reduction of carbon emissions is crucial.
One of the most sustainable and holistic ways to deal with carbon is to invest in carbon sinks; natural environments like forests and oceans that can efficiently absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
So, what’s the best way to do that?
Planting Trees and Protecting Forests
There are many reasons to hug a tree – especially for how they help resist climate change!
Trees are natural carbon neutralizers that absorb carbon dioxide for their own purposes. Through photosynthesis, trees absorb atmospheric CO2 that they use to grow their branches, roots, and leaves and release oxygen. They effectively capture carbon, storing it for decades until it is released when they eventually die and decay or are burned.
Depending on the age and species of a tree – on average, one tree can absorb 22lbs of carbon for the first 20 years of its life!
Trees have been called “the lungs of the earth” and with increasing deforestation, not only are we damaging valuable carbon sinks and threatening wildlife, but more carbon is also released into the atmosphere upon their destruction.
Reforestation programs and woodland stewardship programs that seek to protect existing forested areas can help preserve and replenish these carbon-reducing plants, not to mention support biodiversity of woodlands around the globe!
Kelp Can Help!
Have you heard about “blue carbon”? This is the sequestering of carbon by oceanic and coastal ecosystems and their native plants, including sea grasses, algae, and plants, including kelp.
Kelp forests are integral part of ocean ecosystems, providing habitat and food to marine wildlife and naturally capture carbon in their tissue, storing it safely out of the atmosphere.
With kelp - there is a phenomenal growth advantage. While a tree can take decades to reach a mature size, kelp plants grow 30 times faster than trees and are able to absorb and store CO2 at ocean depths for centuries.
Globally, seaweeds are thought to sequester nearly 200 million tonnes of CO2 every year – to give you an idea of what that equals to – it’s as much as New York State’s annual emissions!
Oceans cover 70% of our planet – and the damage to their biodiversity is occurring at an alarming rate, higher than that of terrestrial ecosystems due to human exploitation and warming and acidification from climate change.
Kelp forest planting is an exciting opportunity to work to restore and protect vulnerable oceans and cultivate valuable carbon sinks.
When it comes down to it – investing in the growth and preservation of tree and kelp forests are complementary ways to reduce the impact of carbon and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - fighting climate change on land and sea!
Plus, they both protect and contribute to healthy, thriving ecosystems and promote biodiversity!
Our 3x Approach to Carbon Reduction
To start, reducing the amount of carbon we, as a company directly put into the atmosphere is key. That is why at the heart of Good Juju we chose to be a plastic free company. Plastic produces carbon emitting greenhouse gases at every single stage of its lifecycle. We do not use plastic in any of our products or shipping materials and we have pledged to prevent 50 million plastic bottles from hitting the waste stream by 2030. To date we have prevented over 130,000 bottles!
Secondly, from the beginning – we knew that carbon emissions from shipping are a reality, but we are doing what we can to cancel this out! We work to reduce carbon generated from the distribution of our products, partnering with a specialized company that ensures trees are planted to offset the shipping on your order so that it is carbon negative!
To date we have offset over 8 million km’s of shipping emissions and protected over 32,000 km2 of forest.
What’s next? As a 1% for the planet member, this year we are dedicating our resources to Ocean Wise’s Seaforestation project to increase kelp in our oceans! By helping to grow and restore kelp forests at scale, we can remove CO2 from the atmosphere, create marine habitat, and combat ocean acidification… all while creating economic opportunities for Indigenous and coastal communities!
Learn more about our Earth Month 2022 partnership with Ocean Wise here!
Finally, one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions is through everyday lifestyle choices.
Practising conscious consumerism and consuming less energy and goods overall can help to reduce your carbon footprint. This includes habits, like cold-water washing, carpooling, and flipping off a light switch when you leave a room.
We believe that it is better – and more sustainable – to do many things as best you can than to try do it “perfectly” and that small, everyday choices make a difference for the future of our planet.
Causes of climate change – What is the most important cause of climate change? Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/causes.html
How Much Co2 Does a Tree Absorb? Source: https://onetreeplanted.org/blogs/stories/how-much-co2-does-tree-absorb
What is Blue Carbon? Source: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/bluecarbon.html
Seaforestation – Oceanwise: Source: https://ocean.org/climate-change/seaforestation/
'Run The Oil Industry in Reverse': Fighting Climate Change by Farming Kelp. Source: https://www.npr.org/2021/03/01/970670565/run-the-oil-industry-in-reverse-fighting-climate-change-by-farming-kelp
The remarkable power of Australian kelp – How kelp can help solve climate change: Source: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210406-how-kelp-can-help-solve-climate-change