ESRAG’s new Flight Carbon Estimator makes it simple for you to contribute to Rotary climate solutions every time you fly. Your donation goes into The Rotary Foundation’s fund for environmental global grants to support Rotary projects that reduce carbon emissions. By doing this, you’re increasing your awareness and turning it into action. Goal 4 of Rotary’s environmental global grant guidelines lists an array of eligible carbon reduction projects including solar power, sustainable transportation systems and cleaner cookstoves.
This Raise for Rotary/Carbon Compensation Fund is the brainchild of past ESRAG director Larry Hands (Madison, WI, US) and Northfield, Minnesota Rotarians Bruce Morlan and Jesse Steed. Their initial goal is to raise $100,000, but the campaign will be perennial. “26,000 Rotarians travel every year to the Rotary International Convention,” says Morlan. “At a contribution of even $100 per attendee, that could raise $2.6 million to put towards real programs to reduce emissions. Repeat annually!” These donations are fully tax-deductible for US taxpayers.
While the cost of offsetting the harm done by a tonne of CO2 is $200-$300, Morlan says, this compensation program is “a way for conscientious Rotarians who are concerned about the environment to contribute to action to reduce carbon emissions.” He sees a great opportunity for Rotarians to spearhead projects in energy efficiency for low-cost housing. “Instead of giving tenants money for their unaffordable utility bills, it would be much better to help landlords replace windows, add insulation, or put in more efficient HVAC without having to raise the rent,” he points out.
Morland is a mathematician and longtime conservative supporter of the Citizens Climate Lobby. He is a co-founder of the Rotary Climate Action Team (RCAT) network with Alan Anderson of the Northfield, MN Rotary Club. Steed, who joined the Northfield club five years ago, is a real estate broker who enjoys website design. He was recruited for the project by Morland to make sure that the online calculator and donation process was user-friendly.
To use the calculator, all you need to enter is the total duration of your air travel, the number of flight segments (since takeoff and landing add emissions), and the seat class. First class uses more space and accounts for a greater portion of the flight’s emissions. The calculator offers two levels of donation: basic ($10 USD per tonne) and premium ($30 USD per tonne). “It’s easy. It’s there. Use it!” says Steed.