Wednesday, April 4, 2007

How's Your Carbon Footprint?

Before leaving on my paddling trip to Florida this year, I posted that I wanted to do something positive to offset the increase to my 'Carbon Footprint' that this trip would produce. As well, I wanted to know more about the effect this single trip would make on my contribution to the global warming underway on the planet.

While waiting for people to arrive at the Tampa airport one evening, I bought Tim Flannery's book The Weather Makers, probably THE book to read currently on the topic. Frankly, the book scares me: ALL the paddling locations I visited during the trip will be under water in 50 years unless we begin acting immediately! Not a pleasant thought, not a very satisfactory planet to be handing over to our children in the years to come. We can do better!

On the bright side, he makes some suggestions on what we can be doing. Interestingly, small changes made today can have enormous benefits down the road. One thing that's easily done is to offset the carbon dioxide my car put into the atmosphere during the 6653 km (4754 mile) trip, about 1.2 tons of the stuff! There are a number of places that will invest your money - in my case US$ 24 - in carbon sequestering projects which can help to offset the damage I did during the trip. I've listed a few places below which you can visit to learn more and also find your own 'footprint'. It's incredible how rapidly the carbon tonnage mounts up, yet the costs of the offset are so reasonable. I intend to begin paying for the real costs of my travel from now on. We all have to start, each time we head out, and especially on non-essential travel trips.

I haven't completely made up my mind how I will offset the carbon dioxide I produced during this trip. I'd like to see the money used to promote not just carbon reduction, but also to support human powered transport at the same time. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Here are a few places to click on for additional information:
1 - Tim Flannery
2 - Climate Friendly Information
3 - Calculate your carbon footprint

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