I must admit to sometimes getting a little overwhelmed at all the effort it takes to live an eco-friendly life. It's not that I'm not making an effort. I recycle at home and at work. I turn off unnecessary lights, replace burned out incandescent bulbs
with compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl) ones , use a re-usable cloth bag for shopping, think before I print, walk whenever I can and will begin biking more (as soon as I buy a new bike) and using my car less for errands around town. I try to shop locally
and I'm even a member of the
Sierra Club. So overall, I think I'm doing my part to reduce, re-use and recycle. But now I can add another action item to my list? Become carbon neutral.
According to the source of all knowledge,
Wikipedia, being carbon neutral refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset. What?? In other words, I need to absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide that
I produce which can be a little difficult when you consider that as an average U.S. citizen, I can be tagged with statistics that show that I probably emit over seven times or 65% more carbon dioxide annually than the average person in China and over 20 times
more than the average person in India. The simple reality of life in modern America.
The website for
An Inconvenient Truth offers a list of things that individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Some are practical for me and others not so much. (I don't think my neighbors would appreciate it if I suddenly put up a laundry line or tried to add
insulation to the walls of my condo). But above and beyond the changes that are practical, I also have options to plant more trees and in a true nod to modern life I can purchase credits to offset my carbon footprint. But exactly how many credits would
Like many people today, I travel for work. According to the
CarbonNeutral Company calculator, every flight I take to my corporate Headquarters, covers 1143km and produces 0.1 tonnes of CO2. Let's say I conservatively travel to HQ 4 times a year (oh boy is this figure conservative), can I ever catch up or slow down
or at least reach some level of neutrality? Well, it depends.
Because if banks can change, and even tradeshows, those bastions of paper and plastic waste can change and reach neutrality--then so can I. After all, just because something is difficult doesn't mean we stop trying. So let's celebrate the little steps and
keep looking for
new ways to improve because in the words of the immortal
Zapp Brannigan..."So beautiful and yet so neutral."