My grandparents live in India, and I fly there from the US once a year to visit them. The flight costs about $1500, but there's an even bigger hidden cost. The average American emits 20 tons of CO2 per year—17 times more than the average Indian (1.2 tons per year). But I spew 10 tons of CO2 just flying to India once a year, let alone all the additional CO2 I'm generating.
Here's what I do to help minimize my carbon footprint:
- I actively support politicians and NGOs working to fight global warming.
- I don't own a car, so I walk or use public transit. When public transit isn't available, I rent a car by the hour from my local carsharing cooperative.
- I try to minimize flying, besides my annual trip to see my grandparents.
- I eat vegetarian, because meat is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.
I've spent a lot of time reading about carbon offsets, offset ethics, and reviews of different carbon offset providers and calculators. I understand that bad offsets are terrible, worse than not offsetting at all. I hope Offset Consumer can help folks get a head start on their own research.
— Anirvan Chatterjee, February 2009