Which carbon offset should I buy?

airbus aircraft airliner airplane
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Do you travel a lot?

I do and I want to reduce my carbon footprint. The biggest environmental impact I have on our planet are the emissions that are released because of my driving habits. As you may have read in my previous post, The Traveling Teacher, I drive a lot for work. My yearly commute to and from my place of employment is roughly the length of driving around the entire planet at the equator. I work at two locations and they are over an hour apart. Because of this, I have been researching buying a carbon offset while I work on a plan to live and work in a more environmentally friendly way.

What is a carbon offset? According to dictionary.com, a carbon offset is: “an action intended to compensate for the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a result of industrial or other human activity, especially when quantified and traded as part of a commercial program.” A carbon offset can be, for example, investing money in renewable energy or industries, planting trees, etc.

What is a carbon footprint? According to dictionary.com, a carbon footprint is: “the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.” Basically, the stuff blowing out of my tailpipe while I am driving. The impact of flying in an airplane is even worse. Other factors also affect our carbon footprint, for example, what we buy and consume. After I solve the car emissions issue, I plan on lessening how much I consume.

architecture blur bus cars
Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com

I understand that my daily commute is directly contributing to the rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere and this makes me sad. The chart below shows a comparison of carbon dioxide from the 1950s to our current level. I know, I know, it isn’t sexy to talk about environmental problems: It is sexy to talk about shopping. So, let’s shop for a carbon offset together!



Ah! What can I do? Of course, driving less would be my first choice, and I am working on a way to make this happen. Since that is not currently feasible, let’s shop for carbon offsets!

A list of carbon offset websites (in no special order):

  1. terrapass.com: Here is a list of their standards and current projects: farm power, landfill gas capture, wind power, and methane capture. https://www.terrapass.com/standards/
  2. nativeengergy.com: Here is a list of their standards and a a selection of current projects: renewable energy, land use, and methane destruction. https://nativeenergy.com/your-projects/certifications/
  3. carbonfund.org: A list of their standards and current projects can be found here: energy efficiency, forestry, and renewable energy. https://carbonfund.org/standards/

After looking into these three companies, I believe that all are more than sufficient for my need of a carbon offset. However, the prices of the offsets vary significantly. I am a teacher living on a teacher’s salary, so cost is also an important factor for my decision. Here is a selection of the costs which seem to suit me.

  1. Terrapass: an offset of 4,000 lbs. per month= $19.96 per month
  2. Nativeenergy: per month or a one time contribution= $15.50
  3. Carbonfund: an offset of 52,920 lbs. per year= $240.00 per year, or an offset for my car (12,000 lbs. CO2)= $54.42

Which one would you choose?

After consideration, Carbonfund.org was the company that I chose because it had the option to do a one-time payment at a price that I could afford. It was quite easy to do as most online shopping is! I bought a carbon offset for my vehicle for $54.42 and this will offset 12,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide. My offset comes shy of the 24,902 lbs. of carbon dioxide that I am currently adding to our environment. I bought this knowing that a major lifestyle change is coming shortly, and this change will further the reduction of my emissions. Stay tuned and thank you for shopping for carbon offsets with me.

For now, I will continue my commute while planning for a more sustainable lifestyle.

grayscale photo of road
Photo by Jan Kroon on Pexels.com




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