Kootenay Bay ashram finds success in reducing carbon footprint

Yasodhara Ashram is now officially carbon neutral as a result of the successful culmination of its five-year program to address the global warming crisis.

The ashram has demonstrated that reducing green house gas emissions is possible in a small BC community and it can be done in a way that has inspiring economic and quality of life benefits.

Dr. William Rees, professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia, an internationally acclaimed ecological economist and winner of a 2012 Blue Planet Prize, said of the Ashram achievement, “By striving for carbon neutrality, Yasodhara Ashram shows that communities can take significant steps to address global warming that are neither arduous nor a threat to their economies and lifestyles. Other communities should follow this example as if their lives depended on it ­— because ultimately they do.”

Starting in 2007, the ashram began to develop a strategy to be carbon neutral by 2013, its 50th anniversary.

The ashram’s carbon neutral program — which included a shift in local food sourcing and menu planning, converting to an integrated geothermal/solar heating and domestic hot water system and shifting to more fuel-efficient vehicles — has led to an 83 per cent reduction in direct emissions. The outstanding emissions are being handled through the purchase of carbon offsets from Pacific Carbon Trust’s portfolio of BC-based greenhouse gas reduction projects.

“The ashram’s achievement of carbon neutrality sets a great example of how steady commitment to a comprehensive plan can significantly reduce our impact on the environment,” said Pacific Carbon Trust CEO Scott MacDonald.  “By purchasing BC-based offsets from Pacific Carbon Trust, the Ashram is helping support the low-carbon economy — proving that environmental progress and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand.”

The ashram has also been recognized by FortisBC’s 2008 PowerSense Conservation Award.


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