October 2, 2014 – One tree planted for every car sold – This is the promise of the Drive Green campaign, a partnership between ATL Automotive Limited, the Sandals Foundation and the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) to advance reforestation and mitigate Jamaica’s carbon footprint by restoring degraded forest ecosystems.
Starting October 3, on National Tree Planting Day, ATL Automotive and the JCDT have committed to planting a tree for each car sold which will help to reduce the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by motor vehicles.
While ATL Automotive has offered low-emission vehicles, continuously educating consumers on fuel efficiency, providing excellent motor vehicle care and servicing, increasing performance and in turn lowering emissions for some time, the campaign takes the company’s commitment one step further. With ‘Drive Green’, ATL Automotive is the first automotive company in Jamaica to launch such an eco-initiative.
ATL Automotive has partnered with the Sandals Foundation on this campaign to purchase and plant 200 seedlings to kick start the initiative. The preservation of the environment through positive and sustainable initiatives is one of the three core pillars of the Foundation which also includes education and the community. These seedlings – which are endemic to Jamaica and will improve biodiversity – will be planted on a 2.5 acre space at Holywell along the Oatley Mountain Trail in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP).
Motor vehicles typically emit varying amounts of greenhouse gases including nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and most commonly, carbon dioxide (CO2) which is believed to contribute to global warming. Planting trees remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through this partnership, ATL Automotive and the JCDT are offering individuals the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by offsetting carbon dioxide produced from their day to day activities.
Bruce Duquesnay, Operations Manager from ATL Automotive said the company was excited about the initiative and its benefit to the environment. “At ATL Automotive, we have always encouraged responsible motor vehicle use and maintenance as well as fuel saving tips. This initiative gives the company, as well as our customers, the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and actively contribute to the protection and preservation of our beautiful country. We’re happy to partner with the JCDT and we look forward to making a difference.”
Trees have played a critical role in maintaining safe levels of oxygen and CO2 in the atmosphere for millions of years as they remove and store CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow and through the process of photosynthesis.
Susan Otuokan, Executive Director of the JCDT and Manager of the BJCMNP, notes “Forests are essential for life especially with the impact of climate change. Here, the forests need help to be reestablished through tree planting and maintenance programmes, particularly those using native Jamaican trees. As Manager of the National Park and on behalf of the JCDT, we are very happy that the Sandals Foundation and ATL Automotive have come on board to support this important conservation work.”
At present, 4-5 million hectares of forest are cleared every year in Latin America and the Caribbean, resulting in as much as 47% of global carbon emissions from deforestation. Significant reduction in forest cover results in reduced humidity and a generally hotter climate, lower rainfall, less productive or dry wells, reduced flow and the drying up of rivers, as well as the erosion of top soil.