Carbon Neutral Living

Early Morning Glory over LondonGlobal Warming is happening and we are the cause. I didn’t need to see Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, to learn that. But it did help give me some ammo to beat down anyone who might disagree.

Strangely ecodude(Dylan) already posted about this today, but I was planning on doing it for a few days. We must have both watched the movie recently. Odd.

The conclusions in the movie were scary but there is hope. I hope enough people see it and realize how serious the threat is. I hope people start changing their habits. More importantly, I hope they push our government to do something about it. Leadership needs to come from the top, especially on this.

I was thinking of what I could do to help. I already bike to work. We barely heat our apartment. I replaced the old light bulbs with low-power compact fluorescents. I vote NDP. I don’t eat meat or much dairy. I buy local or organic groceries whenever I can. So far, so good. But I fly a lot, which eats a lot of gas and pumps out tonnes of CO2.

But I think I may have found a partial solution. Offsetters is a Canadian website that allows you to buy carbon dioxide credits. My return flight from Vancouver to Winnipeg was responsible for 0.414 tonnes of C02, so right now I’m purchasing $7.80 in carbon credits. The money serves two important purposes: easing my guilt and funding several projects like restoring a rainforest in Uganda and installing efficient lighting in households in South Africa. Westjet has even partnered with Offsetters to make it easier to figure out how much carbon you need to offset on each flight. Very cool.

Emily, your flight from Accra to Vancouver (and all 1.7 tonnes of C02) is covered now too. So, you can fly here guilt free now. 🙂


    • That’s a gross generalization actually… I guess my point is, Organic farming is often worse for the environment, but it’s probably impossible to really make an informed decision since it’s such a case by case thing. Buy local if you can.


      • I buy local more often than I buy organic. Like the article says: “Local is the new organic.” I’d love to buy local and organic if I could. The NDP ran a 100-mile breakfast here yesterday. I really wanted to go, but I slept in.
        I really like that article. I do buy organic as a means of “voting.” It bothers me that a lot of organic produce is shipped in from California or farther. It loses its environmental impact when it has to be shipped across the world. But I figure that my purchasing power is way of signalling to local farmers that I want food that uses less chemicals. Carefully choosing what I buy is the only method I have to change the food industry.
        The article also mentions that Fairtrade goods are silly because instead of paying more money for over-produced food, like coffee, we should just produce less of it and let the prices rise. Great idea, but it misses the historical context of why a lot of countries grow these cash crops in the first place. In South America and Africa, countries were given huge IMF loans back in the day. But to pay them back they needed an export market, so they switched from farming local foods to cash crops – bananas, coffee, chocolate, etc. Now that prices of the cash crops have plummeted because of over-production, they have 2 problems: No money and less local food production. So, you have food shortages in parts of the world that were self-sufficient for food before. Obviously, Fairtrade isn’t a solution to the problem, but it helps for now. Getting the Western world to drop all of its farm subsidies would solve a lot of the problems.


  1. Score
    Thanks for easing my conscious! I definitely don’t live a carbon-neutral life in Ghana. I’ll have to avoid planes, train, & automobiles for years to make up for it. There don’t seem to be many local initiatives to make people here aware of the effect their lives are having an the environment. Fortunately the rolling blackouts limit power consumption, people eat local (except rice and tomato paste), and many don’t own cars. Unfortunately everything is plastic, everyone litters, and most vehicles couldn’t pass the carbon test. Perhaps I’m fighting the wrong fight with my 5 months abroad.


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