Once you’ve been on the green train for a while, you’ve got the basics; recycling, sustainable energy, canvas bags, fuel efficient vehicles, and all the little energy and water saving ideas that you can apply daily. Unfortunately, even with all of these eco-friendly practices, you still leave a carbon “footprint.” Admittedly, it is significantly smaller than if you didn’t make green choices, but you’re still creating carbon dioxide, which is intensifying the climate problem. How can you “erase” the remainder of your carbon footprint? Purchasing carbon offsets is one possible solution.
When you purchase carbon offsets, you’re essentially donating money to a group that will fund projects that actively decrease the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere. These projects mainly focus on sustainable energy programs, energy efficiency programs and reforestation programs.
Most of the carbon offset companies have a feature on their Web sites where you can input information about your energy and water use at home and your fuel consumption on the road. You can even include air travel if you fly consistently. It then calculates how many tons of greenhouse gasses you add to the atmosphere annually. It also suggests an amount that you can donate on line that will fund enough carbon reductions to negate your footprint and leave you carbon neutral.
Theoretically, carbon offsets are a great idea, but the actual results achieved by carbon offset companies varies, so it is important if you really want to make a difference, to donate to carbon offset companies that are effectively achieving their goals.
Look for companies that are non-profits like carbonfund.org.
In countries that have already signed the Kyoto Treaty, many carbon reduction and sequestration programs are already in the works and have government funding. Look for carbon offset companies that are donating to programs in countries that haven’t signed the Kyoto Treaty since they have less support for these greener measures.
A Greener Gift
Philanthropist Ruth Ann Harnisch helps spread the green message by purchasing carbon offsets from Carbon Fund (a not-for profit organization) and offering to offset the carbon footprints of events and conferences she attends.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 11 of the past 12 years are among the dozen warmest since 1850.
The Arctic is more effected than other areas of the planet. According to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004, average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average.
The USA contributes 24.8 percent of the world’s emissions from fossil fuels. China is second at 10.9 percent and Russia is third at 6.5 percent.
It is estimated that 1,150 billion tons of carbon is stored in the Earth’s forests.
For more information or to subscribe at the introductory price of $10 a year, go to positivelygreen.com. Positively Green magazine launches in 2008. This quarterly women’s magazine will cover every aspect of green from eco-friendly vacations to green fashion to green health. With articles that don’t just explain the problems, they outline solutions for busy people who want to make the change but don’t have the time to research solutions.
By Kelly Magill, publisher, Positively Green