Since the coronavirus pandemic, I hardly leave the house except to surf. I think the number of meetings has increased, to be honest, but 99% of them are online. The last time I left Bali was last February, and I haven't flown in over a year, so I calculated how many days I've been away from home in 2018, and about a quarter of them I was on business trips. I don't think it's good to fly long distances, so I try to stay for a few weeks after I've flown to Africa, Europe or Japan. I used to think it was necessary to meet people in person, but I'm not sure it's essential to meet people after almost a year of online meetings.
Yesterday I had a meeting with a student who might be hiring as a new staff member. And today, I had a face-to-face meeting with the CarbonEthics NGO. It's been a while since I've had a face-to-face meeting with someone, and I realised that there is a lot to perceive when you have a face-to-face meeting. Before Corona, I'd have about two meetings a day, and I'd be exhausted. Still, now I have about four meetings a day online, and I guess I can have four or five meetings a day because I only perceive information at a slightly lower resolution on a 13-inch screen.
Meeting people face to face is undoubtedly helpful in deciding in a short time whether you want to continue to work with someone you've never met before, as you can perceive what they're eating, how they take notes and how they behave when they're talking to you. But it's not always easy. Still, I'd like to see online meetings become more common, as it saves time, money and carbon emissions to have ten online meetings rather than fly to Europe to do it.
There are two topics that I would like to continue to work with CarbonEthics on in future meetings. They are striking a package of carbon emission reductions for about $3 per unit. These carbon emissions are not certified. As I mentioned before, we were told by a certification company that to get our biogas certified; we would need to spend about 200,000 euros for the start-up and 40,000 euros for the renewal. CarbonEthics' carbon emissions work is community-based, just like ours, and we see the results of small actions that add up to a reduction in carbon emissions. In this way, consultants sent by existing certification companies would have to go around and check many places, which would be expensive in some respects. We wanted to do that first, through the blockchain, to give credibility to the carbon we are trying to reduce. But when we saw what CarbonEthics was doing, we realised that people would buy it even without a certificate from a certification company or a blockchain if the organisation itself had credibility. That brightened up the future of what we were trying to do. We want to help with this volunteer-based carbon trading.
Another area where we can help is how policy and scientific knowledge can be applied to local-level activities. As the top Journal, Nature, published a couple of years ago, afforestation projects with fast-growing trees such as eucalyptus may only have a calculated impact of about 10% in carbon reduction. Eucalyptus and other fast-growing earmarks are used for paper. So they don't stay in the local environment for long as carbon dioxide. Forests created by planting single trees also have low biodiversity and low biological benefit other than standing carbon dioxide. The Gold Standard, the certification body for carbon dioxide reduction, has even written a report saying that tree planting has only a third of biogas' impact in contributing to the SDGs. So it's essential to do things that are based on science.
Tomorrow is Easter Friday and our office will be closed. I'll be tired from the sudden increase in face-to-face meetings (after surfing).