The gift of carbon neutrality

I’d like to give everyone reading this page a special holiday gift this year: free carbon neutrality for a day. As a bonus, after claiming your One Day gift, you can pass it on to your friends, family, and colleagues.

To claim the gift, visit my One Day Carbon Neutral page, created by Brighter Planet.

So far, Brighter Planet has given away over 3,300 gifts and offset more than 440,000 pounds of CO2. That’s like everyone in America turning off their lights for a minute. The goal is to give away 5,000 One Day gifts and offset 680,000 pounds of CO2.

The average American emits 136 pounds of carbon dioxide each day. About 36 pounds come from driving, flying, and other travel. Another 22 pounds come from heating, cooling, and powering our homes. The final 78 pounds come from producing, transporting, and disposing of all the stuff we buy, and from shared services like schools and street lights. 136 pounds would fill 5,000 balloons—imagine releasing that every day.

Brighter Planet supports renewable energy projects in communities across the U.S.

[tags]climate change, offsets, gift, holiday[/tags]

31 thoughts on “The gift of carbon neutrality”

  1. Since I posted this last night, 122 One Day gifts have been given. Brighter Planet says that’s like taking 501 cars off the road for a day! That’s great, but we can do better.

  2. Thanks for the gesture but I don’t exactly understand how the “Carbon Offset” thing works. Are they planting trees or something to offset my CO2 or is it more akin to going to confession and the priest saying that everything is all better now?

  3. Thanks for the gesture but I don’t exactly understand how the “Carbon Offset” thing works.

    Hey, Todd! Fair question.

    Here’s Brighter Planet’s current write-up on their carbon offset policy. It explains far better than I could how carbon offsets work, and describes Brighter Planet’s criteria in selecting projects to fund.

    You can also use the site’s carbon profiler tool to estimate your daily impact on the planet.

  4. I had no idea we emitted that much C02. That truly is a disturbing number. Does anyone have the numbers on how much CO2 is taken in by and average tree per day? Just for comparisons sake?

    Thanks for the effort, it is always good to think about when I walk to my thermostat and desperately want to turn my apartment into a sauna.

  5. Without getting into politics or trying to prove/disprove the existence of Global Warming… It’s pretty clear that we need to invest in the type of programs that carbon offsets promote. I’ve passed on the link to others.

  6. @Brade: that’s why scientists refer to it as “climate change” and not “global warming.” The average global temperature is rising, but it doesn’t stop regional climates from cooling off in places (or, in this case, freak weather.)

    I’ve claimed my gift, and sent out 5 more!

  7. I’d like to point out the both the 36 lbs (transport) and 78 lbs (transport, in another form) per day of CO2 per American are optional. Taken from another angle: I find how most reform groups define locally grown food to be telling: they think ‘local’ means 100 or 200 km, vs 1000 or 2000 km. That shows how removed from reality the discussion is. Another hack: we need 10,000 nuclear power plants (and if they’re solar or wind, remember that you’ll need 100,000 times or 1,000,000 times the infrastructure for the same amount of energy) by 2030 to replace declines in natural gas and oil production. Of course, regarding those two categories as optional means that we have to rebuild about 80% of the infrastructure in the US. It seems we’re in a pickle.

  8. I’m offset!! and the beauty is that five of my friends will join in, and they’ll tell five friends and soon the world will be offset for a day…

    When I grow up I wanna be cool like Jeffrey. Carbon-free cool, of course.

  9. Check your local weather forecast – what’s the humidity? Here in Bloomington, IL it’s 35 F and 98% humidity, which means that no, repeat no CO2 emitted here today will have any “greenhouse” effect whatever. None, nada, zip.

    In the very high Arctic with virtually zero water vapor, maybe, but not here (or almost anywhere else on this particular planet).

    Physics, it’s the law (like gravity). An inconvenient truth?

  10. Not to spoil the holiday cheer or anything, but I think we need to be really careful when it comes to the whole “Carbon Neutrality” hype. The risk is that, for many people at least, offsets are simply a means to pay a fee to preserve the status quo, rather than having to make the necessary behavioral changes to effect real reductions of greenhouse gases.

    While I’m sure Mr. Zeldman has done his homework and that Brighter Planet is kosher, there are a host of other players in the carbon offsetting industry who should be treated with caution.

    Carbon Trade Watch has published a great, but long (very long) article exploring the myths of carbon offsets and neutrality. Some good points are made and it’ll furnish you with questions to ask any company you’re thinking about throwing money at to absolve you of your carbon sins.

  11. Despite not being located in the US, I’ve taken one of those gifts. Thank you.

    Even so, I must echo Shirley and Andrews sentiments. At best, I think this project will serve to add to the important discussion; at worst I doubt it’ll have any actual effect (though I hope it does).

    Aside from the falling price of gas, the focus on clean energy technologies seems to be the only bright side to the financial crisis. Large, bulky cars do not sell well any more and I get the impression that as people are hit financially, they try to reduce their economic overhead, hopefully by making more durable energy decisions.

    One could hope that translates to federal decisions as well; wind, solar and perhaps nuclear (come january the US president will even know how to spell that word correctly). I believe such actions can make an actual difference.

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