We had a quick chat with the captain of the Canterbury University Tramping Club (CUTC), Josie Dransfeld, about their exciting initiative to become as climate neutral as possible. CUTC also won the Green Club Award during the recent UCSA Supreme Club Awards!
Hey Josie, what can you tell us about your club? The CUTC was established in the 1930s, with the main purposes being: to promote safe enjoyment of tramping and the outdoors; to encourage the learning of tramping and outdoor skills; and to further the cause of conservation of areas for tramping and outdoor recreation (Club Constitution 2010). We had 550 active club members this year!
Your club decided to become as carbon neutral as possible, why is that important for you guys and what made you decide that? Lacking sophisticated public transportation in New Zealand, unfortunately cars are our main means of transport to get to the start of a track. Since we run 30-40 trips each year that results in a lot of carbon emissions, which is why we decided that we should be doing something to remedy that!
So what are you currently doing towards that? We try our best to car pool and always have those cars filled completely. For trips with more than 20 people we usually hire vans in order to minimise the amount of cars we have to take. We also have a designated ‘Environmental Officer’ committee role now.
This year we did the following to offset our carbon emissions: We did a tree planting day on Quail Island and we are also using carbonless paper.
What do you plan to do in the future? We’ll keep up the good work of our Environmental Officer this year by hopefully having more tree-planting days.
Biking to the start of a track where appropriate could be a thing. It’s workable around the Christchurch area and the Bank Peninsula but not really for Arthur’s Pass and beyond (where we normally end up going to J).
Any other comments? I think it is important to remember that for the CUTC it is not really an option to increase trip costs (say, in order to purchase carbon credits) as this would prevent people from coming along. Students can’t really spend their allowance on carbon credits.
My personal opinion is, that being carbon neutral is all nice and good and we, as the Exec, can totally enforce this “top-down”. However, it’ll only really be successful if we have our members on board. Luckily, most of them are aware and keen to make improvements where possible. Resources are limited, though, so we do the best we can.
Finally, one of CUTCs members did a project on what your members think about becoming carbon neutral, what did she find?
Yeah, one of our members is studying Outdoor Education at CPIT and she found that
90% of our members were very concerned about environmental issues
80% wanted to go on a tree planting day
70% wanted to undertake sustainable travel (e.g. biking to the track start)
63% wanted to do another community activity that would reduce our carbon footprint.
Cheers Josie, keep up the great work and happy tramping!
Interested in joining CUTC? Find out more here.