What Happens to Your Money when you Select Offset Carbon?

By Hari Yellina
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Representational Photo by Louisa Potter on Unsplash

Do you ever wonder where the money goes when you check the button to offset your carbon footprint when booking a trip or vacation? Some farmers who have dabbled with agritourism believe they owe it to their visitors to put some of their earnings back into farm environmental programmes. Visitors can view these initiatives by taking a farm tour or strolling by a flowing brook. Jodie McQueen is embracing her goal to provide farm stays with a mission—helping the land, community, and ecologically conscious traveller—on the foothills of Mount Roland in Tasmania’s north-west. She developed her own regenerative farm fund model, in which a predetermined sum of revenue from visitors is allocated to conservation and restoration initiatives.

The goal, according to Ms. McQueen, was for visitors to “really see what their money had bought and that they are making a difference.” Among the advantages include enhancing biodiversity, strengthening sensitive area fencing infrastructure, and halting land degradation. Beginning with an effort to restore a creek, Ms. McQueen realised she needed help planting 600 trees because she was unable to do so on her own. She has teamed with Mount Roland Rivercare, a local Landcare organisation, and one community tree-planting day planted the seed for other projects. As Ms. McQueen remarked, “I didn’t expect it to actually help me develop some amazing community relationships when I set out with the fund.”

Beginning with an effort to restore a creek, Ms. McQueen realised she needed help planting 600 trees because she was unable to do so on her own. She has teamed with Mount Roland Rivercare, a local Landcare organisation, and one community tree-planting day planted the seed for other projects. As Ms. McQueen remarked, “I didn’t expect it to actually help me develop some amazing community relationships when I set out with the fund.” Greg Taylor, the secretary for Mount Roland Rivercare, says it has been satisfying to watch local landowners, residents, and visitors work together to protect the environment. He stated, “The excitement surrounding the concept of planting trees has just been overpowering.”

Holger Strie is also pursuing agritourism in the northeast of Tasmania. He has bought three farms at Notley Fern Gorge, a natural rainforest above the Tamar Valley, in the last two years. In the future, he said, “we are looking at conducting a three-day farm experience, looking at the biological assets of the area” because a few of the properties were connected. “With the remaining trees here, we do have amazing fauna. It’s the perfect location to demonstrate how we can effectively manage forestry, agriculture, and tourism. Additionally, Mr. Strie owns a small tour business. He invests a portion of the national trekking company’s earnings back into his farms in Tasmania.

He has planted an unusual mix of species, including Californian redwoods, blackwoods, and she-oaks, amid barren areas of the properties and steep gullies. “We’re not considering entering the carbon trading market, he continued, but rather creating a carbon bank that is owned by our company. A significant portion of the trees we are currently planting won’t be harvested for another 100 years, not in my lifetime. But that’s the outlook we have. It’s a lengthy project, and perhaps someone will carry it on after me.”


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