Climate Change and Plastic Pollution
Climate change is the variation in average weather conditions, and it is caused by several factors including human activity, which has become more of an issue in recent years.
Whilst many gases that contribute, the issue stems from the increase in CO² levels, primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of land. This process heats the atmosphere that helps to regulate the Earth’s temperature. The major contributing industries are agriculture, transportation, electricity, and commercial. Transportation contributes 21% of all global carbon emissions and is the second largest source of anthropogenic carbon. Air travel alone contributes 2.5% of all global emissions.
This causes an increase in extreme weather patterns and an overall warming of the average global temperature which, unless serious action is taken, is likely to permanently compromise both the way we live and the natural habitat around us.
Single-use plastics have also been a key topic in recent environmental discussions, thanks to the likes of Blue Planet II and online videos showing the sheer volume of plastic which has ended up in our oceans and communities. The problem is getting worse – an estimated 50 billion plastic bottles end up in landfill or the oceans every year.
In developed countries, plastic bottles can be widely recycled thanks to advances in technology, growing awareness and increased funding. However, this is not the case in many poor and middle-income countries, where it is common to find a lack of recycling and high levels of waste – much of which is visible in cities, towns and villages.
The problem is exacerbated by a chronic lack of funding, which disproportionately impacts poorer communities who are more likely to live in or around excessive volumes of waste. This increases the threat of disease, particularly to young or vulnerable people.
Offset all carbon emissions
We will offset all carbon emissions resulting from our volunteers’ trips through our Gyapa stove initiative, which provides families in Ghana with Gold Standard certified, energy-saving stoves.
Reduce waste on trips
Poor waste management can have a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of local people and wildlife. We’ll help volunteers avoid unnecessary waste and bring home any recyclable materials.
Carbon neutral UK office
Our UK office is powered by renewable energy, and our staff use public transport for business journeys where possible. We offset carbon generated by flight and car journeys through Gyapa stoves.
Waste management and supplies
We source our supplies from sustainable businesses, shopping Fairtrade and using recycled alternatives wherever possible. We use a variety of recycling schemes to minimise our net waste.
In the UK
We’ve carefully considered the most effective initiatives that we can introduce to be more environmentally friendly. Our work begins in our UK office, and through these relatively small changes, we can proudly say we are low waste and carbon neutral:
TerraCycle helps to recycle waste that usually goes to landfill. They offer a range of recycling programmes for different items in various locations across the UK. In the African Adventures office, we compost our food waste and group our plastic packaging, so we can utilise TerraCycle’s recycling programmes and minimise all our office waste.
We source our UK office supplies from responsible, eco-friendly suppliers wherever possible. From buying Fairtrade tea and coffee, and using recycled loo roll (we said we’re committed!), to choosing recycled alternatives for our printing paper and other essentials, we’re always on the lookout for eco-friendly alternatives for the place we call home.
Carbon offsetting initiatives typically fund projects that reduce or remove carbon emitted from another source to neutralise the overall impact. Each year, we calculate the total amount of carbon emitted from our business – including staff miles from public and private transport and office utilities – and donate the equivalent number of stoves to our Gyapa stove initiative.
Flying is not good for the environment. In fact, an average return flight from the UK to Kenya releases around two tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. This doesn’t mean everybody should stop flying, but it does mean we need to reduce its impact.
At African Adventures, we are serious about our commitment to help protect the environment. Within two years, we aim to offset all carbon generated by our volunteers’ flights to Africa through our Gyapa stove programme in Ghana.
A Gyapa stove is a Gold Standard certified, energy-saving stove, which requires a lot less fuel than the traditional method of cooking over an open coal pot. The impact of this on individual health and finances, as well as the environmental benefits, make it a valuable, low-cost investment. Up to 50% of household income for the poorest families is spent on cooking fuel, and the ongoing demand in Ghana helps drive greater deforestation.
In fact, in 2018, Ghana had the biggest increase in the loss of primary rainforest and has one of the highest deforestation rates throughout all of Africa. A Gyapa stove requires up to 50% less fuel than traditional cooking methods, and on average, avoids between half a ton of carbon being dumped into the atmosphere every year.
This year, we will offset between 500-600 tonnes of carbon emissions generated by our volunteers’ flights by purchasing 250 Gyapa stoves for the communities we work in across Ghana. We will be rolling out this offset programme further until we offset 100% of all emissions generated from our volunteers’ flights.
If you want to help us achieve our goal sooner, you can purchase a Gyapa stove and directly offset your own carbon emissions here.
We are a family of six – myself and my five granddaughters. The stove has been very good. It doesn’t consume excessive charcoal and produces enough heat for cooking within a few minutes. It cooks so quickly and easily compared to the normal ‘coal pot’ I had before. This benefits me and my family as it means we don’t have to spend too much on charcoal.