REI Announces Green Energy Project Grant
Co-op’s active adventures travel division funds biogas project in Nepal
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REI Adventures, a leader in worldwide guided active adventure programs, announced that a grant of $87,000 has been awarded to Nepal SEEDS, a nonprofit organization focused on improving social, educational and environmental development. The grant, made possible through REI’s partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), will help fund biogas projects to improve the lives of residents of small villages and communities near where REI Adventures’ Royal Trek trip operates in Nepal.
â€œIt is rewarding to team with a nonprofit as committed as we are to improving and protecting the places we love to visit so future generations can also enjoy them.â€ says Cynthia Dunbar, REI Adventures manager. â€œWe were fortunate to be introduced to the great work Nepal SEEDS started, and credit one of REI Adventures’ local top guides who directs and founded the organization.â€
Beginning in 2011 REI Adventures will work with Nepal SEEDS to fund the installation of nearly 100 biogas systems over the next three years. The systems provide immediate environmental and health benefits for people in Nepal. Families can cook with gas instead of wood fires in their homes, which significantly reduces the need to harvest trees for firewood and improves health conditions through eliminating smoke inhalation in the home.
The biogas project also provides waste management for the village, which improves overall sanitation and produces pathogen-free fertilizer that can be used for crops to enhance food supply for consumption or selling at market.
The biogas systems include a composting toilet, an animal waste intake, a large underground tank to connect the two sources of waste, a piping system and a gas burning stove where the fuel generated in the tank is sent.
â€œWe’re thrilled to be working with a group who cares so deeply about improving Nepal’s small village communities,â€ says Keith Goldstein, Nepal SEEDS president. â€œThis grant is a major step
forward to our organization’s goals to improve the quality of life and at the same time to protect and preserve the environment.â€
Funding for this project was made possible through REI’s partnership with BEF, a nonprofit environmental foundation that markets green power products and funds new renewable energy projects. Since 2007 REI has purchased carbon offsets (formerly called green tags) in order to offset the climate impact of REI Adventure travel. From those purchases, BEF set aside 10 percent of the proceeds to be invested in renewable energy projects in places that benefit the people and environment where REI Adventures operates trips.
â€œWe are proud of REI Adventures’ commitment to carbon reduction,â€ says Margie Gardner, BEF CEO. â€œWe support biogas facilities in the United States and are excited to see REI Adventures work with Nepal SEEDS to introduce biogas to new communities.â€
REI continues to count the climate impact of its adventure trips and will make investments to support future solar, wind and other renewable energy projects. To read about how the co-op counts and reports its climate impact, please visit its annual stewardship report.
About REI Adventures
Award-winning REI Adventures has been a global leader in worldwide guided active adventure programs since 1987. The company offers unique itineraries focused on sustainable, human-powered outdoor adventure including: hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing and more. Guests will experience iconic destinations as guides take them off the â€œbeaten path,â€ and provide opportunities to explore a destination, get to know the local people, their culture, the flora and fauna and discover things they would not be able to duplicate on their own or with another travel company. REI members receive a special discount price on most trips. For more information, full itineraries and trip reviews provided by guests, visit www.rei.com/travel.
About Bonneville Environmental Foundation
The Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 1998 to restore watershed ecosystems and further the development and use of new renewable energy resources. Through revenues generated from the sales of green power and water restoration products such as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), carbon offsets and Water Restoration Certificatesâ„¢ (WRCs), BEF funds projects that restore damaged watersheds and support new renewable energy products from solar, wind and biomass. BEF pioneered the sale of voluntary RECs in 2000 and WRCs in 2009. www.b-e-f.org or www.GreenTagsUSA.org.
About Nepal SEEDS
Through its work with Nepal villages and community partnerships, Nepal SEEDS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, helps the people of underserved communities in Nepal improve health and welfare by supporting grassroots projects that involve community partnerships to develop solutions that are economically feasible, sustainable and sensitive to cultural concerns in the areas of education, water, health services, and the environment. For more information on the organization’s projects, please visit: http://www.nepalseeds.org/.