climate and biodiversity

Empowering Communities, Restoring Nature: Planeterra’s Impactful Initiatives

Written by Thomas Armitt – Global Manager, Projects & Partnerships, Planeterra

From the air we breathe to the food we rely on, biodiversity is essential for life on Earth. Moreover, without biodiversity, tourism simply would not exist, and communities around the world would not be able to harness its benefits.

It is no secret that biodiversity is sadly under threat, but we don’t want to dive into that. Instead, we want to take action and play our part, doing what we do best: using tourism to change lives.

Planeterra believes that community tourism can be a powerful tool to help address the climate and biodiversity crisis. So, in today’s blog, we’ll explore three game-changing initiatives that allow us to support the work that communities around the world are doing to protect, restore, and manage their environment. Let’s get into it!

Soa Zara Ranohira, Madagascar

Innovating for Change: Climate & Biodiversity Initiative

Picture this: communities partnering up with tourism enterprises to tackle the impacts of climate change. That’s the essence of Planeterra’s Climate & Biodiversity Initiative.

Through this initiative, we’re not just looking to offset carbon footprints; we want to develop grassroots solutions that make a long-lasting, tangible impact. For this, we’re working hand-in-hand with our community partners to create life-changing experiences that can be woven into the fabric of tourism.

Imagine trekking through lush forests, guided by a community member who intimately understands the land. The aim of these experiences is for travellers to go beyond just being visitors to a place, and instead become participants in something much larger—a movement toward a more positive future for all.

Rooted in Resilience: Tree Growing Initiative

Communities at the forefront of climate change often face its impacts most severely and disproportionately. That’s where Planeterra’s Tree Growing Initiative comes in. Our mission with this initiative is simple yet powerful: “Growing Trees to Uplift Communities.”

We see trees as more than just symbols of biodiversity regeneration; they’re lifelines for communities facing uncertain futures. This is evident through the many benefits of growing trees: healthier ecosystems, food security, water security, and improved defences against soil erosion, flooding, and drought.

At Planeterra, we believe that by planting the right trees in the right places and for the right reasons, we can help communities build sustainable livelihoods, improve their well-being, and become more resilient to the growing impacts of climate change.

It’s a win-win situation that positively impacts both people and the planet. 

We’re immensely proud to say that, to date, we’ve grown over 2 million trees in partnership with G Adventures and Flight Centre, and we collaborate with Reforest to monitor our progress and achievements with this initiative.

Nature-Positive Tourism: Investing in Communities

Nature-positive community tourism is not just about minimizing harm; it’s about actively investing in the well-being of Indigenous communities and the environments they call home.

Through this initiative, Planeterra is working alongside communities to help them integrate a nature-positive approach to the experiences they offer. From protecting animal welfare to reconnecting people with nature, every aspect of these experiences is designed to leave a positive impact.

The goal is to uplift communities and help travellers become stewards of the environment and advocates for social justice, forging meaningful connections and leaving a legacy of positive change.

So, What Can You Do to Get Involved?

As travellers, we hold immense responsibility and our choices matter. Let’s choose our adventures wisely! Opt for trips that prioritize responsible travel and uplifting communities. If you need advice on that, get in touch with Planeterra! We’re happy to support you on your journey to becoming a more responsible traveller.

Also, spread the word about Planeterra’s initiatives and the impact we’re creating and working to amplify. But most importantly, take action in your own life to reduce your impact on nature and guarantee a thriving planet for future generations. 

Remember that the only way to protect and restore biodiversity is by working together and playing our part.

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Navigating the Climate Challenge: Our Commitment to Carbon Footprint Reduction and Biodiversity Restoration

Written by Thomas Armitt – Global Manager, Projects & Partnerships, Planeterra

In an era marked by environmental challenges, responsible organizations are taking the lead in understanding and mitigating their carbon footprint. Planeterra, a community tourism enterprise development organization, stands at the forefront of this movement.

Let’s delve into how Planeterra calculates its carbon footprint, why it’s committed to this initiative, and the importance of understanding and acting upon these metrics.

Plant with Purpose Tanzania

What is Planeterra’s carbon footprint?

Planeterra, in collaboration with eCollective, embarked on a journey to quantify and understand its carbon footprint through a robust methodology aligned with best practices. Following the guidelines set by UN Tourism for carbon footprint calculation, we strategically chose the year 2019 as our baseline, representing our organizational activities post-COVID.

The results are telling: our carbon footprint for 2019 stood at 108,638 kg CO2e, providing a snapshot of our pre-pandemic impact. Fast forward to 2022, and our measured carbon footprint was 43,161 kg CO2e. We have recently finalized measuring our carbon footprint for 2023, and we are pleased to announce that there has been a 25% decrease in our emissions compared to 2022, with a total of 32,235 kg CO2e

This calculation not only serves as a quantitative benchmark but also underscores our commitment to transparency, sustainability, and continuous improvement. Planeterra’s partnership with eCollective empowers us to take informed steps toward reducing our environmental impact and aligning our operations with global sustainability goals.

How are we calculating our carbon footprint?

Planeterra’s comprehensive carbon footprint audit encompasses various facets of its operations. The following areas are scrutinized:

  • Office emissions: Examining the environmental impact of the physical office space.
  • Working from home emissions: Assessing the carbon footprint associated with remote work.
  • Staff business travel: Including accommodation-related emissions.
  • Staff commuting: Gauging the carbon impact of daily travel to and from work.
  • Miscellaneous: Encompassing various factors like accommodation, transport, activities, and food.

What’s not included in the audit are optional extras, investments, website, merchandise, waste, events, brochures & publications.

Why are we doing that?

Alignment with Global Goals: Planeterra is committed to decarbonizing its operations in line with the United Nations’ goal of achieving a net-zero society by 2050.

Climate Emergency Declaration: Signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, Planeterra aims to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. The focus extends beyond carbon reduction to regenerating biodiversity and collaborating with stakeholders for a net-zero tourism industry.

Community-Centric Approach: As a community tourism enterprise development organization, Planeterra recognizes the importance of supporting our community in innovating climate and biodiversity crisis solutions that lead to enhanced adaptability and resilience to the impacts of climate change.

What do we aim to do?

Focus on Key Emission Sources: Prioritizing emissions from working from home and travel-related activities, Planeterra acknowledges the unique nature of its field-based work.

Travel Emission Reduction: Mitigating travel emissions through science-based targets, emphasizing online meetings, and ensuring any necessary travel contributes positively to organizational goals.

Innovative Climate-Biodiversity Initiative: continuing the development of our tree-growing initiative, which emphasizes direct benefits to communities, contributing to resilience, well-being, and biodiversity restoration.

Partnerships for Impact: Collaborating with tourism companies and third-party organizations to finance and scale their Climate-Biodiversity initiatives, exploring financial incentives for communities, such as carbon finance and biodiversity credits.

Continuous Improvement

Planeterra acknowledges the dynamic nature of climate and biodiversity challenges and the significant positive impact that grassroots solutions can provide to the communities we work with. A commitment to continuously reviewing and updating our mitigation strategy ensures the integration of relevant activities into our core operations for the foreseeable future.

In conclusion, Planeterra’s journey toward carbon footprint reduction and biodiversity restoration is not merely a commitment but a tangible, action-oriented initiative. By aligning our operations with global sustainability goals and prioritizing community resilience, Planeterra exemplifies how organizations can be catalysts for positive change in the face of environmental challenges.

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Our Tree Growing Program

Uplifting communities one tree at a time

Planeterra’s Tree-growing Program

At Planeterra, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on our planet and its people. Our mission with this initiative is simple yet powerful:

“Growing Trees to Uplift Communities”

We firmly believe that by planting the right trees in the right places and for the right reasons, we can help communities build sustainable livelihoods, improve their well-being and become more resilient to the growing impacts of climate change.

Why Trees Matter

Trees are the lungs of our planet, providing us with clean air to breathe. But their importance goes beyond that. Trees play a vital role in restoring our planet, helping us rekindle our relationship with nature and addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues, including climate change, deforestation, and poverty. Here’s how:

Economic Benefits

Tree planting and management create income sources and jobs, especially in rural areas with limited employment opportunities, reducing poverty and elevating living standards.

Job Creation and Income Generation

Planting and growing trees provide local employment opportunities, especially for those skilled in agroforestry, horticulture, and forestry. Additionally, communities can explore income diversification avenues such as selling timber, fruits, nuts, or medicinal plants harvested from their cultivated trees.

Enhanced Environmental Quality

Trees reduce pollution, combat climate change impacts, conserve biodiversity and prevent soil erosion.

Food & Water Security

Trees provide nutrition, especially in food-scarce regions, enhancing the local diet’s quality and diversity through fruit and nut trees. Trees also protect watersheds and enhance water quality by preventing erosion, filtering out pollutants, and providing habitat for animals, resulting in cleaner and healthier water for communities.

Climate Resilience

Growing trees and restoring degraded land build resilient ecosystems, shielding communities from climate change effects like droughts, floods, and soil erosion.

Improved Health

Trees provide clean air, lessen heat and UV radiation effects, and encourage physical activity through recreational opportunities. Additionally, the therapeutic potential and health benefits of medicinal plants can enhance well-being by offering natural remedies for various health conditions, such as pain, inflammation, and immune support.

Increased Resilience

Trees contribute to community resilience against environmental challenges such as droughts, floods, and extreme weather events. They regulate local climates by offering shade, reducing evaporation, and releasing moisture.

Foster connections with nature

Modern society often encourages people to move away from their traditional, nature-centered beliefs and practices, which can diminish the deep-rooted pride that indigenous communities hold in their connection to the natural world. Supporting communities in tree planting, cultivation, and protection helps rekindle this essential bond with nature, preserving ancestral knowledge and fostering a sense of pride that can be passed down through generations.

Our commitment to make a difference

Our tree-growing program is both inclusive and participatory. Planeterra collaborates directly with organizations representing local communities to ensure their active involvement in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of the project. This approach guarantees that the initiative is culturally appropriate, socially acceptable, and sustainable over the long term.

*Planeterra’s tree-growing program is just one component of our Global Climate and Biodiversity Initiative. Click here to learn more.

Growing trees in Partnership with Industry Leaders

We are proud to partner with organizations dedicated to creating a better future for all, such as G Adventures and Flight Center. They have made a commitment to plant trees every time a traveler purchases one of their services. Meanwhile, Planeterra works closely with our tree-growing partners to ensure your trees receive the care and attention needed to thrive in their new environment.

Also, to monitor the progress and achievements of the program, we collaborate with Reforest.

Meet our Tree-growing Partners

Trees for Kenya

An NGO dedicated to reforestation collaborates with communities, Community Forest Associations, and the Kenya Forest Service to identify degraded lands. They assist farmers in planting diverse trees for benefits including fuelwood, timber, nitrogen balance, soil improvement, fruits, fodder, and agroforestry species, actively engaging schools in tree-planting initiatives.

Project: Mount Kenya Landscape Restoration (Kenya).

Tree Adoption Uganda

Through activities like tree planting and agroforestry, this youth-centric NGO is fostering resilience among smallholder farmers against climate change while empowering unemployed young people in rural communities of Uganda. This is achieved through education and training in establishing and managing indigenous tree nurseries and tree farms.

Project: Nakaseke Community Reforestation (Uganda).

Soa Zara 

Soa Zara is an association established in 2016 in Ranohira, located in the Ihorombe region of Madagascar. Its primary objective is to safeguard the environment and advance sustainable development. In addition to biodiversity preservation and reforestation efforts to restore wildlife habitats, the organization offers ecological alternatives to the local population.

Project: Soa Zara Reforestation Project (Madagascar).

Global Forest Generation

GFG’s first initiative, Acción Andina, led by Latin America’s conservation leaders, aims to restore and protect native Polylepis forests in the high Andes, crucial in addressing climate change.

Projects: Acción Serrana: Reforesting Polylepis mountains in Córdoba (Argentina), Restoration of Sierras Grandes de Córdoba (Argentina), Restoring the Biodiversity of the Jujuy Landscape (Argentina), Restoration of Native Vegetation Cover on the Southern Slope of Tunari National Park (Bolivia), Restoration of Polylepis Forests in the Northern slope of Tunari National Park (Bolivia), Ancestral Communities Bringing Back Forests in Vilcanota (Peru), Ancestral communities recover forests in Q’ero (Peru), Reforesting high-Andean cloud forest in Cajamarca (Peru), Reforesting Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve (Peru), Restoration of High Altitude Forests in Ccorca (Peru), Restoration of High Andean Cloud Forests in the Challabamba (Peru), Restoring ancient forests in Aquia (Peru).

The High Atlas Foundation

A Moroccan association and a U.S. nonprofit promote organic agriculture, women’s empowerment, youth development, education, and health in Morocco. They produce fruit trees, benefiting livelihoods and environments while fostering partnerships between people, government, and intercultural groups.

Projects: Maskarat Nursery – El Khair Women’s Cooperative (Morocco), Maskarat, Ras El Qasr Commune (Morocco).

Eden Reforestation Projects

Collaborating closely with communities facing extreme poverty to address the devastating effects of deforestation on natural landscapes, Eden Reforestation Projects has employed thousands of local community members, equipping them with the essential knowledge and tools to plant, nurture, and safeguard millions of trees annually until maturity. Presently, the organization’s initiatives result in planting an impressive 15 million trees each month.

Projects:

Mahelmudi, Kalikot District (Nepal), Indrawati, Sindhupalchowk District of Bagmati Province (Nepal), La Tigra Agroforestry, Francisco Morazan (Honduras), Ankilahila 1 Mangrove project, Mahamavo River estuary (Madagascar), Zala Titi Reforestation Project, Quelimane District (Mozambique), Tana Delta Mangrove project, Kilelengwani and Ozi villages (Kenya).

AMBA Estate

An organic farm, guesthouse, and social enterprise nestled in the Uva Highlands of Sri Lanka, their mission is to maximize local employment and incomes while preserving and restoring the natural environment. Collaborating closely with the local community, they produce and export a range of artisanal products. Moreover, they offer guests the opportunity to relax and recharge in one of the most beautiful spots in Sri Lanka, surrounded by 130 acres of mountains, waterfalls, caves, forests, and tea fields.

Project: Ambadandegama Reforestation Initiative (Sri Lanka).

Plant With Purpose

For over 35 years, Plant With Purpose has been empowering local organizations and community leaders to create a localized movement among rural communities focused on reforesting and replenishing watersheds around the world. They have successfully planted more than eight million trees each year, approaching a total of 50 million trees. This movement is continuously growing, with farmers, mothers, fathers, youth, and elders actively reforesting the watersheds in their own communities. As these trees are planted, people come to understand the value of trees for their livelihoods and the local environment.

Projects: Community forestry for human rights (Thailand), Reforestation in the Shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania).

Donate to Make a Difference

Join us on this journey! Your support is crucial to the success of our initiatives. By clicking the “Donate” button below, you are directly helping us in uplifting communities around the world.

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