The Jesuits in the Asia Pacific region have initiated a carbon offset scheme to reduce the impact of air travel on the environment. Flights for Forests was presented and approved at the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) assembly in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, in July 2011.
“Air travel is a major contributor to global warming, and since our collaboration in the Jesuit mission requires many of us to fly frequently, we seek to mitigate the damage our trips cause to the environment,” said JCAP President Fr Mark Raper SJ.
The Province offices of Australia, Indonesia and Micronesia were among the first to sign up.
‘It’s an important initiative to extend our care for the environment that has both symbolic and practical value’, says Australian Provincial Fr Steve Curtin SJ.
Flights for Forests is not limited to Jesuits and collaborators, or even to people in the Asia Pacific region.
“Although we conceived it for JCAP, Flights for Forests is open to anyone anywhere who wants to join us in this effort to reconcile with creation,” said Fr Raper
Flights for Forests will be managed by Environmental Science for Social Change, a Jesuit research institute that promotes environmental sustainability and social justice, in conjunction with JCAP. Fr Pedro Walpole SJ is the project leader.
Participants only have to commit US$5 for each flight taken. The contributions will go into a fund that will be used for forest renewal activities undertaken by youth groups in rural parts of Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.