BUENOS AIRES—What do 20,000 trees look like? For one, spaced evenly, 20,000 trees would cover more than 32 football fields. Planting 20,000 native trees by August 2023 has become a passion for the team at Say Hueque Argentina Journeys, Argentina’s leading sustainable adventure tour operator. Owner Rafa Mayer has led the company towards an epically ambitious carbon negative, climate positive response to the climate emergency, through the pandemic up to now. Among other efforts, they have already planted more than 5,000 trees in damaged zones of Patagonia to help restore native forests and are rapidly heading towards their goal. Say Hueque is matching their intensity and passion for travel in Argentina’s far reaches, with their desire to do their part to combat the climate emergency.
“Doing all we can to respond to the climate emergency is the most important thing,” says Mayer, who has personally participated in two native tree plantations since September 2021, having just returned from his second plantation last month. “We need to go beyond sustainable, by compensating for our travelers’ emissions and then taking bold steps to generate a positive impact. We believe in the power of regenerative tourism and are doing everything we can to achieve this. It is going in the right direction, and we want to keep learning how else we can contribute to being climate positive.” Mayer is an Ambassador for the Adventure Travel Trade Association and the Argentinian ambassador for the Transformational Travel Council.
Since August of 2020, Pachamama Day, Say Hueque became the first travel company in Argentina to compensate for all the CO2 emissions their travelers produce when traveling by land. However, to become carbon negative, they needed to remove more carbon dioxide than they produced. To do this, Say Hueque collaborates with ReforestArg, an Argentinian NGO that plants native trees in damaged forests in the Rio Tigre basin, in the mountain- and lake-filled Cholila, Patagonia region, which has suffered fires that devastated several hectares of native forest. ReforestArg is careful to help local economies through reforestation. They do this through developing tree production strategies by eco-region, reconnecting people with the forests they live in or near and giving community members tools they can use to propel their economies. For example, promoting activities such as seed harvesting and seedling nurseries in local communities. ReforestArg also hires local people who have a strong knowledge of the area as professional tree planters, and to guide volunteers.
“Massive reforestation is urgent,” says Say Hueque, which has won the World Travel Awards “Argentina’s Leading Tour Operator” designation for the last three years. “It’s time to take action.”
Say Hueque’s “A tree per traveler” program plants one native tree per passenger who travels with them. On top of this passenger-based program, Say Hueque is planting thousands more trees, to hit the goal. Since 2020, Say Hueque also has partnered with South Pole, one of the most reputable organizations dedicated to Climate Change actions that ensures resources go directly to projects that are reducing the carbon footprint on the planet.
For more information about Say Hueque’s Beyond Sustainable commitment, visit: https://sayhueque.com/about-us/sustainability/.