What does it mean to offset your carbon footprint? Does doing one thing right negate all the damage you’ve done previously? Are you fooling yourself by trying to offset your carbon footprint? Is offsetting your carbon footprint a complete waste of time? Are we too late to save the planet? For the answer to these questions, read on.
What does it mean to offset your carbon footprint? The idea is to do enough good things for the environment, that you make up for past or current “mistakes.” For instance, you haven’t ever recycled. To offset the carbon footprint you left, you buy energy efficient appliances and bike to work three days a week.
Does one right negate all wrongs?
You’ve likely heard the old saying about two wrongs not making it right. Does a right make up for a wrong? Well, that depends. If you actually went to a landfill and salvaged all the aluminum cans you threw away in your lifetime (or the equivalent quantity of scrap metal), it might make up for throwing them away. Is that what you do to offset your carbon footprint?
Are you fooling yourself?
Offsetting your carbon footprint will not erase the damage you’ve caused in the past. If you drove an old clunker for ten years, buying a new fuel efficient vehicle won’t take away the pollution that emanated from the rust bucket. It will, however have an impact on your future carbon usage.
Is offsetting your footprint a waste of time?
Offsetting your carbon footprint can’t change the past. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything you can to protect the planet in the future. It never pays to have an all or nothing philosophy. The point is to go forward and make all the difference you can, now. Before it’s too late.
Are we too late?
Professor James Lovelock, of Gaia theory fame says we are. He also says it’s not our fault. When the damage to the planet first began, we knew nothing of the impact we were having. Later on, scientists fudged on things a bit under government pressure and possibly to avoid panic. Dr. Lovelock said in a BBC interview that the best we can do now is enjoy life.
We may not be able to prevent inevitable climate changes caused by our own hand. Still, it’s certainly possible to slow down the rate at which we are moving toward the fate that awaits us. Part of this could involve offsetting our carbon footprint, even though it does nothing to right past wrongs or prevent the inevitable.
Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.