Be careful where you step

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
Asheville

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20 thoughts on “Be careful where you step

  1. travelah

    I’ll be brief …
    A uses X
    B uses Y
    then
    A uses X-a
    B uses Y+a
    then
    (X+Y) = (X-a)+(Y+a)

    Carbon offsets is a complete sham, a shell game. It does not reduce any total consumption at all. It merely shifts it out of your middle or lower economic class pocket and moves it into the pockets of the upper class (people like Al Gore). On a macro level, it tears down the economic fabric of the western developed world and moves it to the highly polluting and growing developing world. The net result is no net change.

  2. Exactly. Carbon offsets are simply a feel good measure that I wish I could have gotten into a long time ago. They do nothing to address what needs to be done, which is for every person to change and not simply buy their way out of the problem.

  3. Hopefully

    Travelah the traveling knowitall, blah-blah-blah. Please stop your blithering invective and desist with the gorilla math. You are so filled with bile and bias. Leave Al Gore out of it! You are dealing with something you lack the wit to discuss. Do you honestly think something as complicated as global warming can be understood by you? Are you so deluded as to think you are on equal intellectual footing with Al Gore! Dude!!!

  4. moontime

    I used to love Al Gore and I used to believe in Global Warming before I broke out of the false Left-Right Paradigm and saw it for what it truly is- and Al Gore for what he truly is.
    The whole notion of carbon tax and carbon offsets is indeed a sham. For the other side of the story I recommend the film “Global Warming… Or Global Governance?”. Unfortunately most of the GW believers have made it their religion and won’t listen to other points of view. Logic has gone out the window with this issue.
    CO2 actually helps plants grow bigger and healthier which in turn provides more nourishment and cleaner air for us.

  5. mockeyjew

    yeah and I read this book called 1984 and they said polution was good for assma too.what si globel gubernants?” al gore is a american hero and you are not he is smart and you are not he is rich and you are not

  6. Hopefully

    Which 1984 did you read? Was it in english? Is english your first language? I’m sure the traveler is an expert on this book, he probably wrote the forward on the latest edition!
    Yo moontime, what does logic have to do with this issue of global warming? Surely you’re not referring to “your” logic. Why is it that you assume you could even understand such a complicated thing? Let me ask you something, did your breaking out of the paradigm coincide with your going off your meds? Al Gore just got one of the highest awards a person can get, do you think “you” know better than the people who selected him? Please…

  7. Nam Vet

    Al Gore feels better as an enormous consumer of carbon polluting products. Why? He buys his way out of his worldclass hypocrisy with “carbon credits”. Gore flies on gas guzzling private jets, rides in gas guzzling SUVs, and lives in a mansion with a $3000 a month electric bill. But geez, he’s “educating” the rest of us about the “problem”, so let’s give him a pass! :)

  8. travelah

    Nam,
    In addition to what you have stated, Al Gore purchases his “carbon credits” essentially from himself via a company in which he is a major shareholder meaning he is doing little more than moving investment funds out of one pocket into the other. This allows him to justify his current lifestyle at least in his own mind while castigating others for their modest middle class existences. In most circumstances that is called being a hypocrite unless you happen to be a political mentor among economic leftists and the occasional green troll for whom hypocrisy used against common sense is an ideal while common sense arguments against hypocrisy are, well, “evil”.

  9. Hopefully

    Common sense is just that…common. And yes he is world class and is educating others about problems. Yes he lives in a mansion and you don’t, but why doesnt it bother you that bushie boy resides in a public housing project called the white house and uses who knows how much energy while he flies here and there to those staged public propaganda appearances? And by the way he’s castigating the rich not the middleclass. And also, he lives his life in the public eye while folks like you have the luxury of privacy. Imagine how you would feel if they turned over that rock you live under and exposed you to the public eye! Could your life stand up to the scrutiny of constant and thorough media examination?

  10. The problem is this, Gore owns Zinc mines. You can read about them in this editorial:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-08-09-gore-green_x.htm

    While Bush (who I’m no big fan of)’s other house, the ranch in Crawford, Texas is apparently a much better model for what homes should be, read about that here:

    http://edc.uoregon.edu/node/572

    (I’ll quote it because the link is all wonky)

    “Is it possible that George Bush is a secret Green? Evidently his Crawford Winter White House has 25,000 gallons of rainwater storage, gray water collection from sinks and showers for irrigation, passive solar, geothermal heating and cooling. “By marketplace standards, the house is startlingly small,” says David Heymann, the architect of the 4,000-square-foot home. “Clients of similar ilk are building 16-to-20,000-square-foot houses.” Furthermore for thermal mass the walls are clad in “discards of a local stone called Leuders limestone, which is quarried in the area. The 12-to-18-inch-thick stone has a mix of colors on the top and bottom, with a cream-colored center that most people want. “They cut the top and bottom of it off because nobody really wants it,” Heymann says. “So we bought all this throwaway stone. It’s fabulous. It’s got great color and it is relatively inexpensive.”

    We can say that Gore is a hypocrite or whatever, but Carbon offsets are a dumb idea. People talk about the cliched “fat lazy American” and this is the epitome of it: buying your way out of a problem instead of addressing change.

    I doubt people will pay attention because to most people Gore= good, Bush= evil, but think about it, who would you want as a neighbor: the guy who owns a zinc mine or the guy who has a relatively sustainable home?

  11. Hopefully

    When I visited the first link you supplied I found this at the top of the page:
    Correction: In this column that appeared Aug. 10 on the Forum Page, writer Peter Schweizer inaccurately stated that former vice president Al Gore receives royalties from a zinc mine on his property in Tennessee despite his environmental advocacy. He no longer does, as the mine was closed in 2003. At the bottom of the page I found this:
    Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy. When I googled Hoover Institute I found this:
    The Hoover Institution, within Stanford University, is a Republican public policy research center (think tank) devoted to advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy–both domestic and foreign–as well as international affairs. It has also been called the West’s citadel of anticommunism, or Bush ‘brain trust’.
    So, bush likes ecology at home, but not for the rest of the planet. In other words, a republican hack did a hack job on Gore. Look, it’s what Gore says that is important. I understand your jealousy of him, I’d like to have three houses too…maybe someday after I finish school!

  12. I wasn’t aware that it had been retracted. I apologize for posting an erroneous link then. Also, I’m not “jealous” of anyone, especially politicians (current or former). I can only live in one place at once, so why would I need three homes?

    The discussion here is about carbon offsets, which no one can accept that they are a waste of time and energy and don’t help anyone.

  13. Hopefully

    But wait, if bush has only a four bedroom house, where do all his security people sleep? And visiting henchmen? And servants? And groundskeepers? And where do they park the helicopter? And all the vehicles driven by the security contingent?

  14. Hopefully

    And furthermore, the fossil fuel industry doesn’t care who wins or loses the debate about the reality of global warming, as long as the public continues to feel that it is debatable.To put it differently, doubt means delay. On television, where every issue is presumed to have two sides, shills from the fossil fuel industry glibly dispute the overwhelming scientific evidence for global warming. Casual viewers can thus reassure themselves that they don’t have to worry about climate change. Given the warnings that the world has a narrow window of opportunity to reduce carbon emissions drastically, who doesn’t wish that those oil and coal flacks and their well-funded political supporters were right?
    Love your new avatar Jason, that old one made you look like a nutcase!

  15. travelah

    Certain media folks tend to play fast and loose with the facts regarding Gore’s zinc mines. While it is true that the mines were closed in 2003, this was a temporary idling and not a closure. The mines are expected to reopen with a new operator. The closure had nothing to do with any environmental awareness on the part of Gore but with operator inefficiencies instead. However, wew should not be surprised if Gore announces that the mines will not be re-opened given the negative publicity he has received regarding them. It is not good PR at this point for him to do otherwise.

    from the WSJ …

    … Last Tuesday, the Times reported that several eminent scientists “argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points [on global warming] are exaggerated and erroneous.” The Tenessean reported yesterday that Mr. Gore received $570,000 in royalties from the owners of zinc mines who held mineral leases on his farm. The mines, which closed in 2003 but are scheduled to reopen under a new operator later this year, “emitted thousands of pounds of toxic substances and several times, the water discharged from the mines into nearby rivers had levels of toxins above what was legal.”…

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110009804

    This is an excellent background piece on the true Mr. Gore.

  16. Nam Vet

    Thanks for this Travelah. Al Gore is a rich man. He was born into his wealth. The source? Another negative substance. TOBACCO. His father was a socialist, yet lived a rich man’s lifestyle. So you can see Al’s current behavior was modeled by his father, Al Gore Sr, an early pioneer of the Volvo liberal lifestyle. Buy carbon “credits” then live like a carbon-use whore. Whine and agitate for energy conservation, but live like a carbon-use whore. Also, Al Jr grew up in a Washington DC 5 star hotel suite and was chauffered to private school like a modern day Little Lord Flaunteroy. No farm boy was he, like some of his campaign literature would have you believe. Good old Al. All fluff and no substance.

  17. Hopefully

    Aside from a lot of slander, your point is? Lets see, nammy is skeered of dem socialist although he would probably be better off. Travailer is a wingnut…has anything changed? By the way, its “Little Lord Fauntleroy” not “Little Lord Flaunteroy” If you were familiar with the story, you would know you were inadvertantly right about Gore.
    The story concerns an American boy named Cedric, who at an early age finds that he is the sole heir to a British earldom and leaves New York to take up residence in his ancestral castle, where, after some initial resistance, he is joined by his middle-class mother, “Dearest”, the widow of the late heir. His grandfather, the Earl of Dorincourt, intends to teach the boy to become an aristocrat, but Cedric inadvertently teaches his grandfather compassion and social justice and the artless simplicity and motherly love of Dearest warms his heart.
    Shall I go on? Once again you display your ignorance and lack of credibility.

  18. Nam Vet

    Once more, thanks Travelah. You are smart enough to catch my obvious mispelling of Faunteroy, to Flaunteroy. Point made with the misspelling. And Travelah, you are also smart enough to know that socialism is an evil perpetrated on the working class. We work hard to earn the money, the new governmemt elite class takes it away and feathers their nest with it…all the while bambozzeling the stupid and lazy into thinking they will make out if the working people are taxed to the hilt. Thanks again Travelah. :)

  19. Hopefully

    Nam vette, you and travaler should get a room. Do you guys belong to one of those women haters clubs? As to your reference about being smart, please leave that to the liberals and socialists-you guys do what you do best…greed and war. Just tune in to Rush and Sean, they’ll tell you what to think!

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