JNF Hechsher for carbon offsetting

by Maskil on 19 Sep 2007

Partly through the influence of celebrities, many people are now recognising the benefits – for both planet and soul – of living a carbon neutral lifestyle. In many cases, this carbon neutral status can only be achieved by a certain amount of carbon offsetting.

As many of the available carbon offsetting schemes involve tree planting, it was presumably only a matter of time before the Jewish National Fund (JNF) became involved in this sector; the JNF has been planting trees in Eretz Israel for more than a century.

They have chosen to make their entry by means of the JNF Go Neutral initiative, launched just prior to Rosh Hashanah. One of the cornerstones of the campaign is a fairly slick website, which includes items such as:

A carbon emission calculator, linked to a tool for donating to the JNF’s tree planting and other projects. According to the site, “In the interest of protecting the environment, you will receive an e-certificate only. No paper certificate will be mailed.”

Go Neutral goodies from cafepress

A newsletter signup (no indication of how often newsletters are sent)

A Go Neutral blog (of course)

Some useful FAQs, as well as pages summarising the JNF’s activities with a carbon neutral slant, why offset, history of the JNF, as well as tips for reducing your carbon footprint.

My only quibble is that the cost per tree is $10. This is lower than the usual donation of $18 per tree, but substantially more than with many schemes that involve planting mainly in 3rd world countries. But I guess if you’re here, you’re not looking at this purely from a carbon offsetting perspective! Hopefully, having your carbon offset investment managed by an experienced, reputable outfit like the JNF also counts for something!

I take the following paragraph to mean that the JNF is now finally abandoning its long-criticised policy of favouring large, monoculture pine forests (although I have seen it suggested that these pine monocultures are intended as nurse/pioneer crops in a longer-term diversification plan):

In addition, in the aftermath of the war with Hezbollah in 2006, JNF is implementing the principles of sustainable development and sustainable forest management as it seeks to re-green the north. The multi-faceted plan includes:

Working with natural systems and the enhancement of biological diversity as a central guideline

The Go Neutral website can be found here:

Jewish National Fund Go Neutral

Hat tip to the JTA for highlighting this initiative:

JTA.org — The Jewish National Fund is launching an environmental awareness program that will propose offsetting carbon dioxide by planting trees in Israel.

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