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Blue Hill Escape

Accommodation and mountain fynbos reserve

Western Cape, South Africa

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Offset your Carbon-footprint for FREE at Blue Hill Escape

We offer you the chance to off-set your own carbon footprint when you visit us in a variety of ways:

1. Replant Sour-figs (vygies or Carpobrotus edulis)

Sour-figs are fast-growing, succulent plants that thrive in sandy soils and in our harsh environment. They grow easily from cuttings, but here we have the advantage that baboons love the fruit and spread the seeds through their dung. This means we also get the plants growing where they are not useful or have little chance of survival - and these entire plants can be transplanted to areas where they will be more useful - i.e. areas where there has been overgrazing in the past, or where poor agricultural practises have left large erosion gulleys that take a lot of time and effort to rehabilitate. We'll give you the tools, show you the plants, and where they need to be planted. As a ball-park figure we estimate that an hour replanting vygies will off-set the average car-trip from Johannesburg. If you have flown to South Africa, you may want to consider planting a young tree - a flight from London to Johannesburg produces just under a ton of carbon dioxide according to travelmath.com.

2. Tree planting

On your next visit, bring along a young tree to plant here. Slowing growing trees such as Natal Mahogany have hard wood and so capture a lot of carbon (+300kg) during their substantial lifetimes. We will look after your tree in perpetuity (or at least long enough so that the real boffins in the world figure out how to manage the global atmosphere).

We recommend the following indigenous tree species:

Sweet thorn (Acacia karroo)
White stinkwood (Celtis africana)
Yellowwood (Podocarpus spp)
Wild Olive (Olea africana)
Karee (Rhus lancea)
Taaibos (Rhus undulata)

If you would rather we plant a tree on your behalf, please make a donation of R50 per tree - contact us for details.

What is Carbon off-setting?

Whenever you drive or fly, petrol or an equivalent oil based product is burned and carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Carbon that was stored beneath the surface of the earth has thus been released into the atmosphere, increasing the amount of 'green-house' gas - i.e. the stuff that is resulting in climate change. Off-setting is the process by which we try and compensate for the release of carbon into the atmosphere. The only way this can really be done is by taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the ground i.e. Carbon sequestering. One of the ways we do this is by planting more trees and creating more soil organic matter.

Why is Carbon off-setting important?

Every bit of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere exacerbates climate change. There are many good global reasons why climate change should be mitigated - including the rising of sea levels, droughts and fire risks. At Blue Hill Escape we are particularly concerned about these impacts on our very special area. According to the Botany Department at the University of Cape Town, 90% of climate change models predict a 20% reduction in the winter rainfall region of South Africa by the end of the 21st century - "Together with the predicted increase in temperature, the reduction in winter rainfall is likely to result in more severe drought periods than are currently experienced". Effectively, this is the Fynbos Biome - an area with 7000 endemic plant species. The extremely diverse fynbos appears to be relatively poorly adapted to drought. Reductions in rainfall may well push some plant species beyond their drought thresholds, resulting in widespread mortality of more vulnerable species. The South African Bird Atlasing Project has already recorded reductions and changes in ranges of many South African endemic bird species, including Ground Woodpecker and Cape Rockjumper. In order to ensure these species can be seen, appreciated or even used by future generations, everything possible must be done in order to curb carbon coming out of the ground and pouring into the atmosphere.


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