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How to get paid to plant and care for your trees while helping the environment

Cascadia Carbon connects the trees in people's yards to the lucrative carbon offset market while fighting climate change.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Local start up Cascadia Carbon is helping people connect the trees in their yard to the lucrative carbon offset market while fighting climate change. In short, you could get paid for the good care you take of your trees.

"Eighty percent of fortune 500 companies have committed to either go net zero or net negative," said Alex Wick, the founder of Cascadia Carbon. 

Because most of these companies cannot remove all of the carbon from their process, they buy carbon offsets. A carbon offset negates the greenhouse gas emissions by producing an emission reduction elsewhere.

Here's a simple analogy: Company "XYZ" creates 1,000 tons of CO2 each year, so they pay company "ABC" to plant a million trees. Trees are some of nature's best carbon captures.

Credit: KGW

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"The voluntary carbon offset market has been around probably since the late 70s, but historically, individuals, homeowners [and] small landowners have been unable to participate because it costs too much to verify and list your offsets for sale," said Wick. "We're the Airbnb for offsets. We allow individual homeowners to take that carbon stored in their trees and sell it to corporations."

To participate, people must document their tree, including the species, size, health and location. Then Cascadia Carbon creates a digital certificate of authenticity. The non-fungible token, or NFT, becomes an NF-Tree. Then any growth of the tree – which is mostly carbon –  goes onto the carbon offset market. As the tree grows, so does the vestment.  

Because the trees are individually validated every year for their carbon capturing ability, it's possible these offsets are of higher value than what's currently on the marketplace. But of course, it's not just about the money. 

"The idea behind tokenization is that it allows you to verify and validate that you and your family are doing something to stop climate change. There are so few things an individual can do just in their daily life that are carbon negative. There’s actually one thing you can do that’s carbon negative and that’s photosynthesize."

Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at cmcginness@kgw.com or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

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