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Meet A Farmer: Staluzi & Gerald Muhindo

October 31st, 2022


Offset your CO2 emissions through this project here:

 

 

Yosamu Muhindo joined our partner Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) community reforestation project in 2012. Tragically, Yosamu passed away in 2017 and now Staluzi and Gerald, his widow and one of their four children, now look after the trees that he planted.

In the carbon offsets world, “permanence” of CO2 removals is a vital aspect of project design. With tree planting projects, it’s important to ensure that participants prove ownership of the land that the trees are planted on, and that the trees planted for carbon income enhance livelihoods and don’t compete with food security. In multiple previous farmer interviews, we’ve heard participants allude to how they plan to pass on their trees to their children. In this interview, we see an instance of where that’s actually happened.

In this interview, you’ll learn about their secret to achieving a 100% seedling survival rate and how they’ve used their direct carbon offset income. You’ll also hear their suggestion that the project should consider providing solar panels upfront and deduct the cost from their carbon income. Lastly, you’ll learn what Staluzi’s favorite food is!

Learn more about the Trees for Global Benefits project at https://COTAP.org/Uganda.

Meet A Farmer: Oliva Nyirazuba

May 27th, 2022


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In 2012, Oliva became a participant of Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project. She lives in the Maliba community of Western Uganda’s Kasese district, and she’s planted 400 trees which are sequestering an estimated 203.4 tonnes of CO2.

Oliva is projected to earn $610.40 from TGB. In this interview, you’ll learn how she uses those earnings, as well as about her children and grandchildren, one of her favorite ways to relax, what “MIFA” stands for, how she lost some of her trees, and how her community views firewood thieves!

Learn more about the Trees for Global Benefits project at https://COTAP.org/Uganda.

Meet A Farmer: Flora Barakagira and Peter Nsababera

October 6th, 2021


Offset your CO2 emissions through this project here:

 

 

Flora and Peter became participants of Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project in 2011. Three of their siblings are also TGB participants.

Flora and Peter both live in Bugoye, in the Kasese district of Western Uganda.

They’ve each planted and care for 400 trees which are sequestering an estimated 406.8 tonnes of CO2 and they are projected to earn $1,217.80 between the two of them.

Check out their interviews to learn about their tree-planting “sibling rivalry” and hear how Peter’s earnings helped him send his son to driving school!

Learn more about the Trees for Global Benefits project at https://COTAP.org/Uganda.

COTAP Turns 10, Launches Referral Program to Celebrate!

September 30th, 2021

COTAP turns 10 today! To celebrate, we’re launching our first Refer-a-Thon! A very generous donor has provided funding for up to 50 Cotappers to win 20 tonnes each – a $300 value and typically more than enough to offset your annual unavoidable CO2 emissions.

Be one of the first 50 Cotappers to refer 5 friends (who offset 5+ tonnes each), and you’ll receive 20 tonnes retired on your behalf, an offsetting e-certificate, and a COTAP “global climate justice” t-shirt.

To learn more and to see the current standings, please go to https://cotap.org/10-years.

COTAP’s Rationale for Accepting Cryptocurrency

June 7th, 2021

Cryptocurrency’s Carbon Footprint


Estimates vary, but it’s well-established that many cryptocurrencies in general, and Bitcoin in particular, are energy intensive to create. Most crypto activity and value is currently centered around Bitcoin, which is predominantly mined in China, and primarily using electricity generated by coal. Even when mining is powered by renewables, it still causes problems by pushing communities’ electricity rates through the roof, spurring changes in state regulations and building codes.

Only Donate Crypto To Us if You Already Own It!


COTAP only seeks cryptocurrency donations from those who already own it and are already looking to donate it.

We are not contributing to crypto’s carbon emissions, as discussed below. By contrast, we’re creating a new, unique, and compelling mechanism for crypto owners to directly donate it to offset carbon emissions. Before, you’d either have to first sell it and incur capital gains taxes, or you’d have to set up a donor advised fund (DAF).

It’s also important to note that this decision goes far beyond climate and carbon. It was also based on the fact that donors will likely find us to be a compelling option because crypto essentially sits at the intersection of wealth and carbon emissions, and COTAP sits at the intersection of not only carbon emissions abatement, but also poverty alleviation.

We Didn’t Go Looking for Crypto, Crypto Found Us


In April 2021, we received a generous donation via a DAF. When we reached out to the donors (a couple) to thank them and learn why they chose us, they told us they’d donated Bitcoin to their DAF and then made donations from there. So, we’d begun “doing crypto” unintentionally! Because we’d received many anonymous DAF donations before this one, it’s possible we’d indirectly accepted crypto even earlier.

Then the question becomes… do we send the money back? If we did, would that reverse the environmental damage caused by the mining of this Bitcoin? Of course not. Not only that, but the funds would just wind up being donated to another nonprofit, and probably one whose mission has nothing to do with climate change. The most important question is, “Did these donors go out and obtain/mine Bitcoin for the purposes of donating it to COTAP?” Extremely unlikely. Accordingly, COTAP’s acceptance of cryptocurrency doesn’t result in new or “additional” crypto-related CO2 emissions, as discussed below.

“Additionality” & COTAP’s Role in Crypto’s Carbon Emissions


A core concept when evaluating carbon credit quality is what’s known as their “additionality.”  Additionality means that a carbon removal (e.g. tree planting) or avoidance project (REDD+, avoided deforestation) would not be financially viable absent the financing mechanism of carbon credits.  So, reforestation on public land as part of a compulsory national tree planting scheme is not additional.  A forest protection project inside a legally protected area or national park, where logging is prohibited, is not additional.  As with anything, there are complexities, exceptions, and edge cases but you get the point.

Applying the logic of additionality to COTAP and cryptocurrency, the question becomes something like “does COTAP’s acceptance of crypto drive demand for crypto and/or result in additional crypto mining?”  The answer is no.  That’s why we’re only interested in crypto specifically from those who already have it and are already looking to donate it.

An Imperfect but Correct Decision


So in theory, should a climate mitigation nonprofit accepting crypto be considered hypocrisy, duplicity, heresy, etc.?  That’s a very fair point, but it’s also important to note that the carbon/climate piece is half of why COTAP exists.  The other half is poverty alleviation and vulnerability reduction, not unlike Save the Children and World Vision. Both take in over $500M in annual donations… and they accept cryptocurrency.

Again, COTAP is only interested in crypto donations from those who already have it and are already looking to donate it, and that doesn’t result in new environmentally-damaging cryptocurrency mining.

That said, we’re also not completely innocent and blameless here. Our decision doesn’t reduce the legitimization and acceptance of crypto; our decision could be rightly characterized as a missed opportunity to be a purist/activist and lead by example – swearing off crypto because of its contribution to climate change.

When navigating complicated decisions like this, it’s important to remind ourselves of our missions and why we exist.  That’s to serve our partner projects and their participating communities, some of the poorest people in the world. While the climate/carbon part of what we do is a bit fraught when it comes to crypto, the poverty alleviation part is not.

Our decision to accept crypto was binary – not a maybe or just do it a little bit, but Yes or No. By putting crypto in context and not spurring new mining activity, by realizing that not accepting crypto won’t undo its carbon emissions, and by realizing that the money would be donated anyway to other nonprofits, we believe we’ve made an imperfect but correct decision.