Carbon Offset Green - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carbon Offset Green

One of the more controversial topics in environmental movements today is the topic of carbon offsetting. The first controversy is if indeed climate change is a real issue. I want to remove that topic from the table, because it's impossible to really know, as our human experience is just an eyeblink in the age of the planet. I think it's a topic that people rally around and use as justification to continue to be apathetic. More awareness for our planet and its resources is necessary, it doesn't have to be for any other reason than respecting nature.

carbon neutral local offers with kaufDA.deThe other controversy is if continuing to create pollution and offsetting it by planting more trees or supporting wind farms and gas reduction projects is truly addressing the need. Rather than get bogged down in the debate, I think it's a safe assumption that alternative energy and clean fuel is a desirable thing. I also believe it's almost impossible to live in an industrial nation without any sort of carbon footprint. Ideal, absolutely. Possible, not likely. But when I see photos of the animals in the Gulf and even going back to the Exxon Valdez disaster, when I consider our inability to aggressively reduce our use of non-renewable fuel and reconsider the impact, I know that an offset is a step in the right direction towards caring.

(data from
Airplanes alone emit 2-3% of the world's CO2 emissions, and are one of the most carbon intensive forms of passenger travel.

Offices, retail stores, and other businesses make up the commercial building category, which is responsible for about 3.5% of US CO2 emissions.

Making electricity from fossil fuels is one of the most carbon intensive industries in the United States, responsible for about 39% of the country's CO2 emissions annually.

Industries, like chemicals and manufacturing, operate factories that emit CO2 during their operation - about 14% of our total national carbon footprint.

Burning gasoline in our cars and trucks is a major source of CO2 emissions each year, approximately 18% of the total US carbon footprint.

Our homes create about 5% of US carbon dioxide emissions from using natural gas, heating oil, and other direct sources of energy.
Clearly, we will continue to use airplanes, heat and light our homes, drive cars, and purchase items made in a factory. But with more mindful choices and support of companies that actively work to reduce their footprint and offset the footprint they do create, we can be thoughtful consumers.

We can make a difference.
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