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New ‘Keys for Trees’ program aims to offset climate change

Posted at 3:51 AM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 10:44:35-05

San Luis Obispo is creating an easy way for both tourists and residents to reduce their carbon footprint.

The new ‘Keys for Trees’ program allows people to book at so-called “green hotels” - and a portion of the fee will go toward planting thousands of trees over the next decade.

The program is part of the City’sClimate Action Plan, the San Luis Obispo Tourism Business Improvement District will dedicate 1% of annual revenue to planting 10,000 trees throughout the community by 2035.

The program is part of a partnership with the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (EcoSLO), a nonprofit dedicated to protecting SLO’s natural assets.

Molly Cano, City of San Luis Obispo Tourism Manager, says that Keys for Trees is an effort to keep the city beautiful and protect the environment. “All of the dedication and care that our community has that make San Luis Obispo such a special place to be, is something our visitors can help us support even further,” said Cano.

Mary Ciesinski, Executive Director of EcoSlo, explains the significance of this effort.

“10,000 trees will improve our environment by providing space for wildlife. And directly to climate action, it will help cool our buildings, cool our streets and that makes the City of SLO and our community much more resilient to the changes that are coming and that are already happening with climate change.”

San Luis Obispo is the first US destination to launch this type of initiative funded by local hotels, which is not surprising as SLO has a history of leading the way in climate action.

“About 25 years ago, the community came together and asked the city to be a leader in preserving open space for our area and they did. we have an amazing green belt because of that action,” Ciesinski said.

Cano said ecotourism is in demand as more and more visitors flock to the Central Coast.

“They are making buying decisions looking for places where they can take green trips, or sustainable trips. or make smart choices where they are able to offset the choices during their visitation,” said Cano.

“All of the dedication and care that our community has to the values that make San Luis Obispo such a special place to be is something that now our visitors can help us support even further by giving back to our local community and helping to preserve this place that we know and love,” added Cano.

Every hotel and some homestays in San Luis Obispo that are in the Tourism Business Improvement District are participating.

Visitors can head to to see the full list of participating hotels.