Carbon Offsets Help Manage Your Footprint

It’s true: it is hard to live off the grid, no matter how tempting and eco-friendly it is. Enter carbon offsets – voluntary payments of a particular sum per tonne of carbon you emit. It’s like donating to a charity for Mother Nature.

Piggy bank full of Money on a pink background
If you can’t go green, do your part in other ways. Photo from Crestock Royalty Free Images

It’s true: it is hard to live off the grid, no matter how tempting and eco-friendly it is. Unless you happen to live in just the right location, it can get quite costly just trying to gather the bare essentials of power. Then there’s the process of actually building or installing your alternative energy generators. And sometimes life just isn’t worth living unless the TV, radio, fan, computer and lights are all on at the same time. Americans emit roughly 25 tonnes of CO2 per year. Commuting to work and conserving are a good start, but that’s just a fraction compared to how much damage most are doing.

Enter carbon offsets – voluntary payments of a particular sum per tonne of carbon you emit. This is usually around $20, but costs will depend on the country where you live. It may be a “guilt” payment, but it helps to create awareness and tangibility of your own personal carbon footprint. When one purchases carbon offsets, the money goes directly toward the research and development of newer, better technology that will benefit everyone and help the environment. It’s like donating to a charity for Mother Nature.

The appeal of being “carbon neutral” is growing. Governments and organizations are beginning to take part. In Canada alone, Canadians paid to offset 93 million tonnes of CO2 last year- up from 12 million tonnes only 5 years ago back in 2005.

When choosing to purchase offsets, make sure you read up on the company first. You’ll want to make sure that they fund established organizations, or better yet, find a carbon offset company that develops its own research and technology. You don’t want to purchase tonnes of offsets, only to be throwing most of that money away on a sinking venture and their administrative fees.

Sites like Offsetters and CarbonZero have high-quality offset credits readily available on their site to purchase. It may seem dizzying to have to try and guess your tonnage, but don’t worry, carbon calculators consisting of a simple quiz will help in determining your CO2 emissions. Most even have “gift cards” that you can buy for a friend or family member to introduce them to the notion of offsetting. If you can’t go green, the next best alternative is to donate and help those who are doing so.

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5 Responses to “Carbon Offsets Help Manage Your Footprint”

  1. mormon
    July 28, 2010 at 5:38 am #

    I’ve struggled a lot with this idea of paying “for profit” green energy companies (many of which are started or funded or otherwise affiliated with Al Gore) out of guilt for my own consumption behaviors. I really don’t think paying a “for profit” company can be compared to “donating to charity for mother earth.” People forget that most “green energy” companies are for profit entities funded by wealthy celebrities and naive consumers buying “carbon offsets” just to justify the damage they’re causing. Let’s face it…Sending $200 a month in carbon offset payments is NOT going to be better than spending that extra $200 a month on a hybrid escalade instead of the Hummer H2, right?! If I put that money into just reducing my own carbon foot print the result is immediate. If I pay Al Gore to produce a movie based on emotion rather than fact….well…the result is just more money in Al’s pocket for his exotic spa massage escapades! lol

  2. Suman
    August 9, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    A guilt payment is definitely something that should be given a priority so that we can invest that on clean earth projects and researches that would help us to reduce carbon dioxide emission.

  3. Cheryl Chong
    August 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    Well, you can purchase the offsets or do your part in a really self-indulgent way like buying a hybrid escalade. The point is that since your carbon offset amount is based on an accurate gauge of how much carbon you produced, you’re much more aware of of your footprint and will reduce it accordingly. No one just autonomously buys $200 in carbon offsets every month without really thinking about it, and if they do, it kind of defeats the point.

  4. vansci123
    August 19, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    People forget that most “green energy” companies are for profit entities funded by wealthy celebrities.The point is that since your carbon offset amount is based on an accurate gauge of how much carbon you produced

  5. Rosemary@ Personal Injury Claims
    September 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    My main gripe with carbon offsetting is the way it is put forward and marketed. To me it almost sends out the message of feel free to polute and use resource as long as you buy some credits or plant a tree. I am glad we a penalising big industry for not moderising equiptment to be more carbon neutral BUT i would rather see some sort of subsidy scheme by local governements for poeple who want to make their homes carbon neutral. Thanks,

    Rosemary

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