Over the past few days I’ve had the opportunity and good fortune to be in contact with David Suzuki’s “Play it cool” campaign and another group that is affiliated with Play It Cool, called Clean Air Champions. Take a look at my sidebar on the left you’ll see them there recently added on the bottom.
Play it Cool is a program that allows athletes to offset their carbon emissions with Gold Standard level offsets, through the company Planetair.ca. It’s a simple and effective way for athletes (and anyone!!) to lessen the impact of their travel schedules. We, as athletes, fly and drive quite a bit; I used to have to drive sometimes upwards of 200km a day (though thankfully this is a thing of the past). I have never been so aware of pollution as when I had to commute everyday in Montréal rush hour traffic, in the middle of the summer. Sure, when we were in Beijing it was smoggy and the air, initially stung my eyes and throat, and I remember being in Shanghai and not seeing the sun for 10 days. But that was expected and is an extreme example. Obviously that doesn’t make it OK, but its more shocking when you are a most definitely part of the cause, and it’s at home. Sitting in my car, with the AC blasting barely moving for forty-five minutes, possibly getting a little ragey, it’s easy to feel guilty. (I would like to note that I did do my best to carpool!!)
I like to think that I’ve got at least a cursory notion of what is going on around the planet, and of course this includes the environment. How many Canadians spent at least part of their summers in canoes on lakes somewhere? Or went on family camping trips? Some of my best memories are of a canoe trip my family, and a dear family friend, went on when I was around five or six. It rained for the entire week it took us to cover the 100miles or so, but the memory is still tops on my list.
Play it Cool is a way for me, and athletes everywhere, to give back to nature in a meaningful way. By offsetting my carbon emissions I feel I’m making a bit of a difference and hopefully others will to. I’d like to reiterate the fact that these offsets aren’t simply planting trees. I encourage you to go and take a look at playitcool.ca and planetair.ca, and see firstly, what the program is about, and secondly, at planetair.ca, see how you can make a difference and what those differences are. The gold standard rating for offsets is widely regarded as the highest level of offset. You are actually making something that will add to sustainable development somewhere in the world. Whether that be a new wind or solar power farms or something like that you know it’s going to help.
The other group I’ve recently, and proudly, become associated with is Clean Air Champions. This is a group that uses athletes to spread the message about the environment to students from grades 6 to 9. They educate us first, and then we go into a school with a premade presentation that guides students and teachers through the CAC website. On the site the class can track their personal stab at reducing their carbon emissions. The student get their own profile and work at reducing their emission by using a carbon calculator to determine if their new modes of transport are more efficient. It encourages students to carpool, ride bikes, take the bus and walk. It’s a great project and I am thrilled to be part of the team.
Below is my certificate stating that i’ve offset the emissions i will cause related to paddling in the upcoming year