IDEATE/Black Rock Labs Carbon Offset Program Saved 877 Burners’ Worth of CO2

This summer, IDEATE and Black Rock Labs created a program to buy carbon offsets for your 2017 Burn, which we called out here in the Journal. C-Quest, the offset provider, has a nice update on the impact of that project:

“Burning Man participants purchased a total of 1,228,600 lbs of carbon dioxide emission reductions to offset their carbon footprint from participating in Burning Man 2017. This volume is equal to 557 metric tonnes, equivalent to emission reductions generated from the installation of 55 of our improved cookstoves in rural Zambia under a new Climate Action Reserve (CAR) protocol that is being piloted by C-Quest Capital.”

My, that sounds like a lot of pounds! According to C-Quest’s estimates, which you can find on their website, 1,228,600 lbs. of CO2 emission reduction equals 877 BRC participants’ emissions during the whole event, or 1.4% of BRC’s total emissions. From the perspective of reducing BRC’s carbon footprint, this program made a small but significant start.

That’s not the only way to look at the impact, though. On the other end of this exchange, Burning Man participants installed 55 new clean-tech cookstoves in rural Zambia. In addition to the carbon emission reductions, these stoves have an enormous effect of the respiratory health of the people using them every day, so that’s a great thing, too. Here’s more from C-Quest’s report:

“C-Quest Capital’s CEO, Ken Newcombe, visited the village on November 13, 2017 to see firsthand how the villagers were liking their new stoves.

He observed that double-pot stoves completely eliminated the use of a back-up three-stone fire, a style of open-fire cooking similar to how cooking was done in pre-historic times. This is a big breakthrough for the project as households typically when receiving one of our single-pot improved cookstoves will still cook on their very smoky and inefficient three-stone fire for a small fraction of their cooking. Almost all households Ken visited had two pots cooking, a good sign that the three-stone fire is a thing of the past for these households.

Ken also observed that the cooks were well trained by COMACO and CQC and had switched to small twigs and crop residues that they collect around their houses from the large logs that are the fuel best suited for use in the three-stone fire, which they collected from forest lands, often kilometers away.

To properly dry wood prior to using it for cooking, they place the wood above or behind the stove following the instructional guidance provided by COMACO.

It was a happy village, full of energy and the women danced for an hour during Ken’s visit in appreciation of the stoves.

An independent verification by a third-party auditor will be conducted towards the end of December 2017. The independent auditor will visit the village and verify stove installations and usage, and then issue a report that verifies the amount of carbon offset credits that will be issued by CAR.”

Here’s a video of the people who benefitted from this Burner-funded program:

So while buying carbon offsets is just one of a gazillion ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your Burn, this program has the bonus effect of making some people’s lives way better!

Stay tuned for updates about how to participate in 2018.


Top photo courtesy of C-Quest

About the author: Jon Mitchell

Jon Mitchell

, a.k.a. Argus, is the publisher of the Burning Man Journal, the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter, and the Burning Man website. He co-wrote a big story about spending 24 hours at the Temple of Juno in 2012. He’s been a Burner since 2008. He writes a blog about meditation called Grind Well. Email: argus@burningman.org

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