Mitigating Your Life

I drive way too much. I know this to be true. I tried to rely on public transportation to get around instead of driving, but the bus doesn't go to my work. So I'm stuck sitting in my car with everyone else thinking of all the garbage being spewed out of our tailpipes. What is a person to do?

The whole idea is to reduce your "carbon footprint" as much as possible. There are many websites dedicated to helping you calculate your carbon footprint, such as http://carbonfund.org/site/pages/calculator/. I don't necessarily think it is much use to calculate this number which is essentially meaningless to the average person, but I guess it can be fun.

What's more important than calculating your carbon footprint is dropping it down a few sizes. You can accomplish this by planting trees. Planting 1 tree will offset 2,000 miles driven by car, 1300 miles flown by plane, 100 gallons of gasoline, and 1000 kilowatt hours of electricity. You can, of course, plant trees yourself. It would be fun to organize your neighbors or friends to plant them together. Some communities even provide free tree sapplings if you plant them. If you don't have a green thumb, or time, you can pay someone else to plant trees to save the world. Go to http://www.treesftf.org/main.htm to learn how. You can even gift someone a tree to reduce carbon emissions! Fun huh?

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to buy carbon credits. Non-profit organizations take donations which they use to buy carbon credits on the carbon credit trading market. Let me explain. There is a market required in some states and voluntarily federally, which caps the amount of emissions allowed by a factory. If a factory needs to emit more pollution, they can buy credits to do so from another factory who then reduces their emissions to balance out the act. So there is this constant trading going on of emissions credits so that factories who spend more to have cleaner outputs can profit by selling their unused credits to other factories. Non-profits use donations to buy these credits off the market and retire them so that less credits are available and factories have an incentive to reduce their emissions instead of buying freedom to emit more. The non-profits also use donations to fund renewable energy projects and plant trees. One such group can be found here... http://carbonfund.org/site/pages/how_help/

I doubt many people can afford to completely offset their carbon footprint. I also doubt you can plant tons of trees all over your city. But if you could find 3 ways to mitigate your emissions, it would be really helpful. Try car-pooling just one day per week. Plan your trips ahead of time so you make less of them. Plant some trees. Donate some money. And Feel good about yourself for trying!

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