Carbon Offsetting with a Mediterranean Twist..

Our trip was a long one, not only in time but in physical length. In the 4 weeks that we spent on the road we drove just over 6000 km or close to 4000 miles! That is a lot of driving and a lot of emissions. We used a CO2 footprint calculator to find out how much we had released whilst driving our little Citroen car around the Peninsula. It came out as about 0.75 tonnes of CO2 as much as the average person in the Philippines produces in a whole year.. We wanted to do something about this but we wanted to do in person, so we waited for a good chance. This only came up recently when a friend of mine, as a continuation from his architecture thesis project, told me he was planning to do a small afforestation project for an archaeological site outside of Rome, next to the Guidonia landfill!

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The idea was to complement the site with an area of green with oaks and holms to create shade and a small ecosystem in this degraded landscape dominated by the huge landfill and soaring packs of seagulls eager for their share of scraps. Interspersed between the larger trees and the winding ancient Roman road he wanted to have Mediterranean maquis vegetation, from laurel to myrtle, junipers and strawberry trees (corbezzolo, not a strawberry!). This was our chance to make up for those nasty emissions we had produced and which we did not want to be forgotten as it would not have been fair for our funders.

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The day was long but rewarding, we planted 13 larger trees with the help of a mechanic digger and 60 smaller bushes were hand planted on this lovely Roman winter day. And not even 1hr after planting the first clumps did we see a little bird make its way under one of them to nibble away at the overturned earth. The final sensation was reaffirming as this degraded piece of land came to life before our eyes. I am already very excited to go visit the site in the Spring when the flowers will start blooming and maybe just faintly overcoming the smell of the landfill coming from behind this little winding Roman road.. These are just the ironies of our country! But in ten years time, when the life cycle of the landfill is supposed to come to an end (but remember we are in Italy), I like to imagine this green Mediterranean patch will have become luxuriant and rife in wildlife, kids climbing up the hill that once people called a dump, in disbelief because it smells so nice…

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2 responses to “Carbon Offsetting with a Mediterranean Twist..

  1. Cari Benji e Adrien, un angolo di macchia mediterranea lungo un’antica via romana: non potevate concludere meglio la vostra ricerca, confermando con questo bel gesto che siete coerenti con ciò che andate predicando in giro per il mondo. Bravi! Valentina

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