CARBON OFFSETTING – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
By now I bet you’re sick of environmentalists telling you how terrible flying is for the planet… It’s common knowledge at this point, right?
Well for those like me who spend quite a lot of time flying but also care about the earth, that can be hard news to swallow.
Thankfully, with offsetting, you can try and compensate for the destruction!
So here I am today to give you a bit of info that I’ve recently learnt about carbon offsetting (specifically related to air travel) – I’m not an expert at this by any means, but I hope that I can try and simplify a topic that is often very confusing.
So here goes!
What are Carbon Offsets?
Carbon offsets are a way in which you can balance out your emissions in the attempt to be carbon neutral, all whilst still doing the things you love!
So for every tonne of CO2 you emit through your travels (or in your lifestyle), you can offset that amount by removing or preventing a tonne of CO2 from entering the atmosphere in other areas.
If you’re wondering – “how do I know how much I’ve emitted?”… this is where to tune in!
By using Carbon Offset Calculators, you can measure the exact amount of CO2 you have released during a flight, car journey or cruise trip by entering specific details. You’ll then be given an estimated amount of money that you should be donating to an offset company in order to balance out your emissions.
So basically, you pay a company to finance beneficial environmental work on your behalf that will repair that damage you have inflicted. You’re essentially paying a company to weigh everything out!
|For example: After a very basic calculation with only the destinations entered, an economy class flight from Melbourne to Queenstown, NZ releases 431 kg (or 0.43 tonne) of CO2 into the atmosphere. In order to offset this amount, a donation of $16 AUD (or €10) should be donated to a reliable company.|
For this to be effective, it’s best to calculate your offsets on the specific website that you wish to donate to. This will allow you to get an exact amount that will compensate your emissions depending on the work they do.
It’s also not uncommon for some booking sights to suggest an offset fee at the time of checkout, which makes things so much easier! So before you hit pay, it’s worth looking for the option…
You could reduce your impact with the simple click of a button (but make sure it’s a good company before you do so).
It sounds complicated… And if you’re still confused, this site might explain it a little better than I can!
How do Offsets work?
There are a few different methods in which offsetting companies work – some organizations operate by planting trees, mending deforestation, methane/carbon capture, producing clean energy, providing solar light to remote areas, supplying local work or creating a natural biofuel etc.
The list is literally endless!
I highly recommend doing some research to find a method of compensation that aligns the best with your beliefs.
Is Carbon Offsetting effective?
If you’re like me, and air travel is not something you’re willing to give up at this point in time… Then yes! Offsetting is obviously a great thing to do. If done correctly, you can most definitely create a positive effect on the environment by donating to these companies.
It’s very important that you look for organizations that are clear about where your money is going and how it will be used. Making sure that you learn how to recognize the differences between an offset seller and a scam, is vital!
In the end, purchasing an offset essentially results in paying someone else to cut emissions so that you don’t have to… Yes, it’s a good option, but it should never just be the easy way out or a way to free yourself from guilt.
– Important things to remember –
Offsetting your footprint doesn’t solve the problem, nor does it instantly make you sustainable. There’s absolutely no denying that air travel is a burden on the environment… And in any way that we can, we should be trying to limit flying as much as possible.
But that isn’t realistic for a lot of people, and that’s when offsetting your footprint is a great alternative! The most important thing to remember is that offsetting isn’t the solution to greenhouse gas emissions… We need to be making sustainable lifestyle/travel changes first.
Before you choose to offset, make sure that you’re doing the work to reduce your footprint in other areas too… Only then will offsetting be effective!
What are some good Carbon Offset programs:
+ Solar Aid
588 million people in remote areas of Africa have no access to electricity or clean light. Because of this, many are forced to resort to Kerosene lamps which are not only toxic to the human body, but are also a poor source of electricity and emit a huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere.
Thanks to Solar Aid, your donation will give families access to safe, clean light and you’ll quickly help to reduce the amount of CO2 that is ultimately destroying the environment.
So basically, you’re helping the planet and millions of people too – (this is definitely one of my faves)!
To donate, visit Solar Aid.
+ The Algae Foundation
The argument that often surfaces is that carbon offsets don’t actually fix the problem of air pollution, which as I said is very true… But thankfully this one does – Hooray!
As April from “Just Leaving Footprints” explains very well, algae is one of the new up and coming resources to potentially eliminate the use of deadly fossil fuels and toxins.
It’s natural, easy to grow, can be turned into a biofuel, absorbs toxins as it grows and it emits zero greenhouse gases!
By donating to organizations like this, you are actually helping to find a cause!
How amazing right?!
Unfortunately, this is a relatively new method of offsetting so the only way to donate is by sending a cheque to the main base in the US. Otherwise, you could try and reach out via email!
To donate, visit the Algae Foundation.
+ Carbon Neutral
Carbon Neutral is an Australian based fund that offsets air pollution by planting trees in degraded land across the country.
Not only do trees absorb pounds of CO2 in their lifetime, this process also allows the natural landscape to be repaired and for biodiversity to be conserved.
To donate, visit Carbon Neutral.
MyClimate is an amazing organization that allows you to offset more than just your flight, and at the simple click of a button. With their super easy website, you can calculate your entire footprint (if you feel so inclined) and offset it in a number of incredible ways.
This company has numerous methods in which they reduce fossil fuel sources with renewable energy. They have around 80 climate protection projects in over 30 countries and their work is spread far and wide, from installing efficient cookstoves in Rwanda to community reforestation in Nicaragua!
To donate, visit MyClimate.
So there you have it!
Obviously, this is something that not everyone has the funds for, and that’s totally understandable! But if offsetting is something that you can afford, there’s no doubt that it’s a great thing to do.
The planet takes a lot of burden for us, and for those that can, the least we could do is return the favour!
No, it may not solve the problem… But in my opinion, balancing out your emissions is so much better than just doing nothing ♡
Now it’s your turn! What are your thoughts on Carbon Offsetting? Do you think it’s effective, or a waste of time? And if you know of any other amazing companies, please let me know in the comments below!
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