Treesponsibility is a not-for-profit community group combining reforestation and ecological restoration with awareness-raising about climate change. We are currently entering Year 14 of a 25 year tree-planting programme in the Upper Calder Valley and plant over 10,000 trees a year with the help of hundreds of volunteers. We are aiming to create a healthy and resilient landscape of interlinked woodland, hedgerow, moor and meadow which will:-
1 - Help to minimise our area's vunerability to flash flooding.
2 - Create wildlife corridors in accordance with our Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
3 - Provide a bio-energy source for the future through woodland management and thinning of our new plantations.
We use our practical work as a medium through which we can communicate the urgent need for action on climate change.
Since our inception we have worked with most of the schools in the Upper Calder Valley; published a book (“Sowing the Seeds of Change”); successfully opposed an opencast mine at Public Inquiry (preventing over 500,000 tonnes of CO2emissions); and contributed to local and regional policy consultations.
Our initiatives have included:-
Our CO2mmitment project
We set up a network of local firms and organisations, who pledged to take determined action to cut emissions, whilst funding enough trees to reabsorb the CO2 pollution from their business activities. [For example SUMA Wholefoods pay for over 2 hectares of new woodland each year to compensate for CO2 from their lorry fleet. They have switched to green electricity, and are now searching for a local recycled-oil biodiesel supplier. Like all CO2mmitment members, they undertake not to engage in carbon trading].
Our “Holidays that don’t cost the earth”
- a programme of tree-planting holiday breaks. Initiating this project gained us coverage on BBC Look North and Radio Leeds, which helped us to spread the message that aviation has huge environmental costs, and that “It’s funkier not to fly”.
Free energy audits to local businesses
In 2009 Treesponsibility and Hebden Bridge Transition Town teamed up to offer free energy audits to local businesses in an effort to engage with the entire local community to work on long term solutions to climate change and peak oil.
We carried out free energy audits to nearly a hundred local businesses as part of our business support project, which involved looking at how energy was used in the business, and to see where improvements, money and energy could be saved.
Following the consultations all businesses were given a report outlining where improvements could be made and money saved. They were also given advice on Carbon Trust Grants to upgrade equipment, local recycling facilities and information and discounts from green energy providers.
We carried out these consultations as part of our White Rose Forest Infrastructure grant, funded by Yorkshire Forward.
Overall, we aim to set an inspirational example of a group of people working co-operatively to limit the damaging impacts already in the pipeline, and leave a decent environment for future generations to inherit. Our project provides a good platform from which to spread two core ideas:-
1 - "It's not too late to slow the rate of climate change, or to adopt good land management practice so we can withstand the chaotic weather patterns in a warming world."
2 - "Although significant emissions cuts are needed this is achievable if everyone works together. (For example immediate and huge savings can be made by not leaving electrical devices on standby, or by adopting a variety of money-saving energy techniques."
Our tree-planting work brings us into contact with people from all walks of life, allowing us to spread information about how to live within ecological limits.