There are many ways for individuals to lower their carbon footprints, from eating less meat to carpooling more. However, in certain lifestyles some habits we have are fairly unavoidable. For example, air travel is extremely harmful to the environment since planes emit large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. For many people, though, travelling by plane is a part of life, and it is often necessary for visiting family, going on work trips, vacations, and more. People who have large carbon footprints but can’t or find it difficult to change the way they live can try carbon offsetting. People can invest in carbon offsets to compensate for the amount of carbon they personally emit. Many companies offer this service, and there is a huge range of projects to choose from. To get you started in your search, here are a few of the more popular carbon offset projects out there:
- Plant a tree.
This is a simple and inexpensive way to offset your carbon consumption. Trees intake CO2 and convert it into oxygen. If you don’t have the time or space in your garden to plant a tree you can pay a company to plant a tree in your name. One Tree Planted plants one tree for every dollar donated, and plants all over the world, including in areas recently affected by forest fires.
- Donate to prevent deforestation.
Some companies invest in replenishing deforested areas, and preventing over-exploitation of vulnerable habitats. Sustainable Travel International is one company that aims to offset flying emissions by alleviating the huge problem of deforestation. Carbon Footprint also partners with several organizations that plant trees worldwide, so check out their website for a list of choices.
- Promote renewable energy.
Another great way to offset your negative environmental contributions is by powering your home with renewable energy sources like wind or solar power. If this isn’t possible, consider investing in companies that support renewable energy projects, like TerraPass or Sterling Planet.
Although some offset projects are quite expensive, some are as inexpensive as one dollar. Since many of our lifestyles are so unsustainable, any contribution helps.
Written by Isabel Lieberman, Class of 2021