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Flights for Forests

20 September 2011

Youth for the environment, Battambang-Cambodia. Photo Credit: Sch. Mark Lopez,SJ

Aviation accounts for 4 to 9 percent of the climate change impact of human activity.  With more and more people flying, air travel is set to become the world’s largest single contributor to environmental damage and global warming.

Recognising that the Jesuit mission requires many Jesuits to fly frequently to work together for greater social justice in the world, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) created its own carbon offset scheme, Flights for Forests.

Flights for Forests is a way of recognising the impact of Jesuit travel and work on the environment in a way that helps the rural communities that are the most affected by global economic and climate changes.

All Jesuits and partners within the Conference are asked to participate in this scheme by contributing US$5 for every 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.

“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 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 Steve Curtin, SJ.

The Flights for Forests project 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 Father Mark.

Flights for Forests will be managed by the Environmental Science for Social Change, a Jesuit research institute that promotes environmental sustainability and social justice, in conjunction with JCAP.  Pedro Walpole SJ is the project leader.

More information about Flights for Forests is available here.

Note: This article was obtained from the Jesuit Asia Pacific Conference newsletter .

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