We all have a carbon “footprint.” Every time we use electricity, a car, or [a plane], we put carbon dioxide into the air. It’s a part of living—can’t be helped. But we can try to reduce our footprint by thoughtful actions: turning lights off, buying local produce, thinking twice about that trip.
And most of us do some of that, or are becoming more aware that we should do that. But because the problem of global warming is so critical and so scary, when we think beyond basic conservation, we get either frustrated or bewildered. This is a global problem that requires a global solution. It’s too big. This won’t do any good. I’m just one person.
Here’s where purchasing carbon offsets to balance the emissions we can’t reduce comes in. This money goes towards clean-energy projects such as solar, wind, trees or to help businesses that cannot reduce their emissions any further. There are any number of organizations that offer offsets—just punch “carbon footprint” into your computer and pick the one that suits you. I use www.terrapass.com; it makes me feel good to carbon-balance my home and give offsets as gifts to my friends and family. And they have a terrific newsletter.
— Parrish Rhodes