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COREworks: A Local Way to Care for the Earth, Fight Climate Change, and Improve Our Community

written by Annette Green, volunteer COREworks ambassador 2023

We all want to be good stewards of the Earth and are aware of the growing dangers

posed by climate change. Our recent nearby wildfires certainly brought it home in a

dramatic way. It isn’t just coastal areas being harmed - everywhere, even Rockbridge

County, is feeling the effects. Overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that the

problem is caused by human activities that release greenhouse gasses in excess of

what our planet can safely handle.

What is a carbon footprint? When our activities emit more greenhouse gasses than

the Earth can take in, we create a “carbon footprint” that heats up our atmosphere,

leading to climate change and the ensuing environmental damage.

The structures of first world living make it nearly impossible for us to live carbon neutral lives. Almost all of us emit more than we take in. To calculate your own carbon

footprint, you could use this tool from Cool Climate.

How can I lower my carbon footprint? Many of us make efforts to lighten our

personal carbon footprints, through supporting or creating renewable energy, insulating our homes, eating less meat, consuming less, wasting less, buying energy efficient appliances, plug in cars, sustainably raised food, etc. These are important steps that truly make a difference. Another important step we can take to lower our carbon footprints, is to offset some of the greenhouse gasses our activities create.

What is a carbon offset? An offset literally balances out the emissions that our

personal activities creeate. For every metric ton of C02 we emit, an equivalent amount

is sequestered (removed) or prevented from being emitted. Individuals can pay the cost

of the offset to equalize the effects of their own carbon producing activities. There are

many carbon offset programs in existence - most of them for profit.

What is COREworks? We are so very fortunate to have our own local, not-for-profit

offset program - COREworks (Carbon Offsets for a Regenerative Economy), an

initiative of Boxerwood Nature Center. COREworks creates local projects - all of them

in Rockbridge County - that take greenhouse gasses out of our atmosphere.

What makes COREworks different from other offset programs? In addition to being

local and non-profit, what makes it especially unique, is that each project also engages

local citizens in Earth care and benefits our community in additional ways. COREworks projects include:

  • Tree Planting - Trees sequester CO2 while protecting our soil and waterways, and providing wildlife habitats. Planting projects bring community members together and educate local citizens about Earth care.

  • Solar Panels for Non-profits - Solar energy is clean and renewable and replaces electricity powered by carbon emitting fossil fuels. Our local agencies can then put their limited resources toward bettering our community instead of paying high power bills.

  • School Composting Programs - By composting their food scraps, our children are keeping them out of the landfill where the organic matter would emit methane (a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon). They are also learning, being empowered as Earth caretakers, and using the rich soil they create in their own school gardens.

How can I lower my carbon footprints and fight climate change while improving

Rockbridge County? By securing offsets from the COREworks Marketplace. Each

offset has eliminated one metric ton of greenhouse gas from our atmosphere, and costs

$120, which reflects the actual cost of creating the offset. 100% of these tax deductible

donations are then used to fund future COREworks projects and create more offsets.

For example, if you travel by plane round trip coast to coast, or US to Europe, you - not

the whole plane, just you- will emit approximately 1 metric ton of C02. With an average

gas powered car, it would take about 2,500 miles of driving. So, with a $120 donation,

you can secure an offset and equalize your impact on climate change. Travel can

enrich our lives, and we don't need to give it up in order to help save the planet - as long as we recognize its impact and remember to offset our emissions when possible. And if you offset through COREworks, you are also benefiting our local community!

How do I know COREworks is honest and reliable? You may have heard about

some unreliable and dishonest carbon offset scams (including those offered by airlines). Please don't let this discourage you from participating in COREworks, which is totally transparent and rigorously double verified. Using best industry practices, the

Boxerwood COREworks team reviews each proposed project to be sure it will indeed

prevent greenhouse gas emissions. After the project is completed, an external team of

volunteer community members reviews it again and determines an exact amount of

offsets it is expected to create - yet another way COREworks engages local citizens.

Once approved, the offsets are added to the Marketplace and projects are periodically

reviewed to be sure they are continuing to work. We can trust Boxerwood to do it right!

How can I learn more and support COREworks? We all want to lessen our carbon

footprints, care for the Earth, fight climate change and improve Rockbridge County.

But, a local, grassroots project like COREworks can only succeed with the support of

the community. So, Here are some suggested next steps you may want to consider:

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