The first 13 trees were planted on the 29th of september on 4 different locations in Wageningen

The first 13 trees were planted on the 29th of september on 4 different locations in Wageningen

Back in April, at the same time as planning for the tree planting in September, several team members endeavoured to calculate the carbon cost of running TEDx at Wageningen, and how we can make the event carbon-neutral. In this initial process, a basic, representative model of our carbon emissions was created and calculated reflecting sources of emissions such as transportation by guests (domestic and international), the provision of food and drinks, and heating and electricity. In short and according to the model, hosting TEDx will emit 6,828 tonnes of CO2, which is – to put it mildly – quite a lot. TEDxWageningenUniversity is committed to ensuring that the event is carbon-neutral and to raise awareness about our carbon footprint, and so we have made it our goal to offset our emissions by sequestering carbon via planting trees. A second model was thus created to identify how many trees, and in how much time, it would take to render the event carbon-neutral. Here, the team included a number of different trees ranging from local forest trees such as oak, beech and poplar to fruiting trees such as pears and apples – which have the added benefit of potentially providing neighbourhoods and communities with local produce. The result was: planting a combination of 60 trees will, over the course of a generation (approximately 30 years), make the event carbon-neutral. We recognise that this is a long process, and that it is easier by far to burn up fuel and gas than it is to wait decades for trees to mature. However, we also believe that it is by taking conscious steps – no matter how small – towards achieving sustainability that we can halt, or even reverse, the adverse effects of CO2 emissions. While we would love for everyone to come and attend TEDx at Wageningen, no matter how far away they are, we would also like to encourage our guests to take steps in reducing their carbon footprint. There is excellent public transport in the Netherlands that can replace private travel, but if you must drive carpooling and lift-sharing is a great way to reduce emissions per person. Of course, it goes without saying, cycling is a mainstay of life in the Netherlands and great bike paths are aplenty. So please; start with your small step and help us to invalidate our models and make the event carbon-neutral, or even carbon-negative!