Sometimes it feels like there’s only so much we can do in our efforts to be environmentally friendly.
We can invest in reusables, but maybe we still need to drive to work if we don’t have reliable public transit. We can eat less meat, but maybe we don’t want to miss out on a trip that requires a carbon-heavy flight. Yes, corporations are responsible for a huge chunk of greenhouse gases, but we also all have a personal carbon footprint.
Buying offsets—paying to reduce in some way the emissions you’ve generated—has become a popular Band-Aid to some of these conundrums. Now there’s a new offset program that lets you counter your emissions while simultaneously helping people who live in rain forest communities. Health in Harmony focuses on two areas of health: that of the planet, and that of individuals who live in and around rain forests.
Those communities, such as one in Gunung Palung National Park on the island of Borneo, love their forests, but many of them have also had to resort to illegal logging to pay for things such as healthcare. The nonprofit addresses both these issues by investing in reforestation—which helps to revitalize forests, sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and provide much-needed habitats for orangutans—and by providing healthcare to rain forest locals.
Those residents can pay for that care with seedlings and also receive training in other money-making efforts such as organic farming so they can leave logging behind. These locals also receive money to help plant and maintain these new trees, and those teams of planters are often led by women, per the nonprofit.
With the new carbon offset program, anyone can now donate to reforestation efforts—$4 buys one seedling, and five seedlings can sequester one metric ton of carbon from the atmosphere over 10 years—while also investing in these indigenous communities.