In this era of significant, human-induced climate change, we have a choice: continue to be part of the problem, or be the solution.
Everything we do uses energy and resources.
To understand our levels of use, researchers developed measurements known as ecological or carbon footprints. These footprints estimate how many resources we’re using, how much carbon we’re emitting, and whether or not we’re living sustainable lifestyles.
Why is this a big deal? Of the five main greenhouse gasses (CO2, CH4, NOx, H2O and SF6) driving climate change, carbon dioxide is the largest contributor. Reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and we slow climate change.
The goal is to stop emissions: and to that end, we all need to become carbon neutral.
Being carbon neutral means our energy and resource use doesn’t exceed what we give back to the planet. When we use a carbon footprint calculator to estimate how much carbon dioxide emissions are generated by our lifestyles (including energy use, food choices and other consumables, travel, etc.), we can estimate the number of tons of carbon dioxide we contribute to the planet each year.
Two of the easiest-to-use carbon footprint calculators are produced by The Nature Conservancy (click here) and by Carbon Footprint Ltd (click here), with the latter crunching numbers for both individuals and small businesses.
Once we know our carbon footprint, we can go about reducing that footprint down to zero.
We reduce our footprint by switching entirely to renewable energy, choosing foot-power, public transport, or 100% electric vehicles, insulating our dwellings, eating 100% organic and local, purchasing 100% upcycled/recycled clothing and other goods, and recycling and composting all of our waste.
If we can’t achieve all of the above (and doing so is usually a process), then we offset our emissions by planting trees or grasses, growing seaweed or other aquatic plants.
If you can’t plant several hundred trees by yourself each year, you can contribute to the Tado Community Carbon Offset Tree Planting Program.
The Tado Community recognizes almost a thousand culturally significant plants used for traditional foods, medicines, rituals, tools, building materials, livestock feed, etc. By sponsoring the planting of culturally significant species, we are benefiting local culture, local economy, local ecology, and global climate.
We make it easy: for every $1 contributed, Tado community members plant one culturally significant tree, grass, or herb.
Tado Community Carbon Offset Tree Planting Program
Each dollar contributed = one culturally significant species planted, offsetting your carbon by approximately 0.10 ton/year.
We chose to be carbon neutral, because it is not only the best choice but the only ethical choice.
Want to know more? Check out this Guide to Becoming Carbon Neutral by Steve Swick in The Huffington Post.