As PAN navigates the third year of the pandemic, we have had the opportunity to examine how we do our work and what that might look like in future. At PAN, we recognize that our work does not exist in a vacuum – rather, in line with our commitment to social change and equity, we see our organization as a ‘global being’. We believe that “upholding Climate Change action and Environmental rights” is both intrinsically important, as well as integral to human rights. We are inherently connected to the world around us and approach our work to support the broad “dignity, health and wellness of all people”. One of the ways we ‘walk the talk’ is through our ongoing work around environmental protection and sustainability.
As we did in 2020, PAN recently bought carbon offsets to mitigate the CO2 emissions produced by our operations, especially travel. As COVID cancelled PAN’s in-person meetings and much of our travel, the latest purchase is substantially lower than before, but takes into consideration that even virtual work has an environmental impact. However, we decided to offset more than our actual emissions because we wanted to provide sustainable support to this important initiative on an annual basis.
We continue to support the Synergy portfolio offered by Ostrom (formerly Offsetters); this portfolio represents three carbon offset projects, including two in British Columbia (the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project and the Quadra Island Forestland Conservation Project).
Focusing on the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project, some of the work that has been supported through offset purchases include youth programs and summer camps; a renovated Elder (senior) centre; building of a youth centre and the continued creation of jobs for the First Nations engaged in this project. We are proud to support this project and to continue to invest our dollars in protecting the environment and supporting this important partnership of First Nations leadership and the BC government in our own backyard in BC.
This is not simply a conservation project; it is a model for sustainable development in an economically valuable but ecologically and culturally vulnerable area.
A silver lining to the lingering COVID cloud is that we have had time to consider the distinctive benefits of in-person gatherings, versus the accessibility, cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits of virtual meetings. Our strategy is to reduce our emissions first, and then offset what remains, to achieve a net-zero goal.
We also view our work in sustainability as part of our important commitment to support a culture of learning and capacity-building with our membership. In 2021, we hosted webinars as part of a two-part series for Earth Day: An Earth Day Special Webinar on Health, Equity and Climate Change with Dr. Maya Gislason and Let’s Get Together with a Small Carbon Footprint with Drs. Laura Marks and Stephen Makonin. The second session showed us that moving everything online is complex and has far-reaching impacts that need to be carefully considered, and not necessarily the solution to all our problems. We are in the early stages of planning for more Earth Day webinars – stay tuned!
We recognize that we are not content experts as we strive towards responsibility and sustainability. Please see below for links to some of the articles and podcasts we have benefitted from this year. It is humbling to learn that we “don’t know what we don’t know” and to have these opportunities available to uncover this.
In closing, we offer our thanks and gratitude to our membership for your willingness to walk alongside us as we deepen our practice, learn more and work to embed our learnings in a meaningful way. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, thoughts, suggestions, and concerns.
Links to PAN Presents… Webinars and related material:
An Earth Day Special Webinar on Health, Equity and Climate Change [Dr. Maya Gislason]
Let’s Get Together with a Small Carbon Footprint [Drs. Laura Marks and Stephen Makonin]
Streaming Carbon Footprint Lab [Drs. Laura Marks and Stephen Makonin]
Report on the carbon footprint of streaming media [Drs. Laura Marks and Stephen Makonin]
Links to Articles, Reports and Podcasts:
What is COP26 and Why Does It Matter? The Complete Guide [The Guardian]