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Leading the way: world traveller offsets a lifetime of travel with donation to The National Forest

Monday, 4th April 2016

Planting Trees in the Forest

Stewart Wills is a man who has spent his life travelling the world. Conscious that many hundreds of flights had stacked up a significant amount of 'carbon debt', he was inspired by articles in the press at the time of the Climate Change Conference in Paris last year, to contact the National Forest Company (NFC) and discuss making a personal donation.

Mr Wills, who is based in Cheshire, wanted to ‘pay back’ the amount he has calculated to be more or less equivalent to the carbon debt from his travels thus far.

He has made a substantial donation to the NFC to help create The National Forest, and an equivalent one to the Woodland Trust to help look after ancient woodlands as well.

“Stewart Wills' generous gift is already making a difference, creating a new woodland grove,” explained Lynne Richards, Head of Fundraising for the NFC. “It is a creative and thoughtful way of offsetting his lifetime of travel in a very dynamic way. We are very grateful.”

Stewart Wills said: “As soon as one donates, something is planted in the ground and it starts working to pay back what is owed.  It feels extremely good to settle the debt in this way. I had been thinking about this for quite a while, but the time to do it is definitely now – there is no time like the present to pay back what we owe the planet.”

He continued: “I am not wanting to make an ideological statement; it simply feels like a very practical solution to the problem that modern travel presents. By planting trees and looking after ancient woodlands I’m helping lock up carbon in the environment, as well as enabling all the other benefits trees provide: wildlife habitats, shelter, shade, taking up water and alleviating flooding, timber for manufacturing and fuel.

“I’d be very happy if this encouraged other people to make a donation to offset the travel in their lives.”