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Published: 2008-06-05 00:00:00

To help Waikato people kick the carbon habit and mark World Environment Day on June 5, Environment Waikato is launching a new project, the e-mission – planting our future.

Thanks to generous sponsorship from Ricoh, the council is gifting 1000 native seedlings to Waikato Enviroschools. The trees and shrubs will help to increase native biodiversity and offset up to 226 tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifespan.

Every Enviroschool that registers for the offer will receive a package containing lancewood, puriri, koromiko, coprosma and cabbage tree seedlings.

They will also receive a small pear tree to help students learn about growing their own food locally to reduce food miles.

Environment Waikato’s Enviroschools programme aims to integrate environmental education into the whole of school life through hands-on learning. Components include growing edible gardens and planting native trees to offset carbon emissions and improve habitat for New Zealand wildlife.

“Planting trees to help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions is important because the average Waikato person has a large ecological footprint of 5.8 hectares, compared with the world average of 2.2 hectares,” Environment Waikato Environment Committee chair Jane Hennebry said.

“If everyone in the world lived the way we do in the Waikato, we would need about three planet Earths to produce our resources and absorb our wastes.

“Carbon offsetting through tree planting, energy efficiency projects or renewable energy projects, if done properly through a reputable scheme, is an excellent way for individuals and businesses to take responsibility for climate change.

“As a region we need to reduce our ecological footprint and take serious steps towards kicking the carbon habit. We can do this by walking, cycling and using public transport, making our homes and businesses more energy efficient, and buying locally produced food and goods.”

To register for Environment Waikato’s native seedling offer, or to find out more about the council’s Enviroschools programme, which helps students learn about reducing their ecological footprint, please call 0800 800 401.