Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm Changing the Climate...

...I'd like to think for the better.
I make my living helping others find sustainable solutions. I work towards the same when I'm at home. I've reduced my commute to walking downstairs to the office in my house, and carpool when I can. I've replaced old lightbulbs with low energy ones, ride my bike in town, shop from local farmers, and I even water my plants outside with my bathwater when I'm feeling particularly guilty.
But I know I still am having a negative impact on the climate. I share what all humans have- a carbon footprint. Your carbon footprint is simply a measure of the amount of natural resources you consume and a measure of their environemntal impact. I found a website that compares my energy use to others in the country by asking questions about how often I drive, if I ride a bike, etc. I measured up well, at 50% of what my neighbors are consuming. But if everyone on the planet lived like me, we'd still need 2.5 planets to provide all those resources.
Every time I get into my car, I can't help but be reminded that I'm contributing to global warming. I'd buy a hybrid, but my truck still runs great, and so far I haven't seen an electric one, which is what I'm really holding out for. What's a girl like me to do?
I finally did it- I bought myself a terra pass to offset my carbon emmissions. What's a terra pass, you ask? Basically, I let the website calculate my carbon footprint, then I pay a yearly fee. Mine was $25, and I took into account my flying miles as well as driving. That money funds projects that wouldn't ordinarily be funded, building renewable energy projects like solar and wind power plants.
Terrapass is just one of the many companies out there who do this sort of personal carbon cap and trade. They were the first I heard of, and have strict criteria for the projects they fund. There are other companies out there, but make sure the one you choose is legit, and that they fund projects that ordinarily wouldn't get funding, so you don't end up lining the pockets of bureaucrats.
Reduce your own carbon footprint, by doing the simple things at home. And then offset your carbon. It's good for you.
Find out your carbon footprint at myfootprint.org
For a list of things you can do to reduce yor footprint go to Carbonfootprint

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