Goody Green: What’s Your Carbon Footprint?
For March's eco resolution I decided it was finally time to do something to about my carbon footprint. Most of us have no doubt heard this term, but what exactly is a carbon footprint and what can we actually do about it (besides hand-sew clothes from bamboo fabric woven from the crop growing in our backyards, then walk into town to sell it)? Well, a lot. For starters, a carbon footprint is the measurement of the impact our actions have on the environment or, more specifically, it's the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced by burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation. That said, I learned that we can easily reduce the carbon we produce by doing a number of simple things at home, on the road, in school, and at work at this EPA webpage.
But what can we do when there really isn't another option? Air travel, for example, can be hard to avoid. I'm traveling nearly 3,000 miles by plane at the end of the month to
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visit family in California and according to this Carbon Footprint Calculator on TerraPass.com, my round trip flight burns 2,352 lbs of CO2. Yikes! My alternatives? 1. A "staycation" (minus the relatives) 2. Travel by train or car (extremely timely and not much more eco-friendly) or 3. board the plane and buy a carbon offset. That's right – the light at the end of the tunnel! There are a number companies out there, like TerraPass, that are actively funding greenhouse gas reduction projects in a number of industries and need our money to help invest these initiatives. So it's a win win. I pay $17 to offset the carbon emissions resulting from my flights and the money goes toward finding eco alternatives in the future. Another way to breathe easier… literally.