Monday, June 7, 2010
For the past few weeks I’ve been burning up the highway back and forth to my home state of Georgia from North Carolina, needless to say I am happy to be staying home this weekend. The many trips had me thinking about the various types of vehicles on the road and the effects they have on the environment.
I currently drive a mid-sized, non hybrid SUV. (This is where the “practice what I preach” doesn’t always happen in real life)To make myself feel better I looked into purchasing a Terra Pass. I am a huge fan of the show Living with Ed . Ed often refers to buying a Terra Pass anytime he must travel without his electric car or by plane. When you purchase a Terra Pass, you are purchasing a carbon offset certificate. A carbon offset is basically (this is my way to describe it) a donation you can make to fund a carbon reducing project. So if you think your car, plane or household produces X amount of carbon emissions (you can calculate this) resulting in your “carbon footprint”, then you can purchase an offset that funds projects that produces an equal amount of clean energy. Your “carbon footprint” is the total amount of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases you personally produce from your daily living through your home, business or travel.
“There are hundreds of different types of carbon reduction projects. For example, a wind farm generates clean energy, which reduces carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. In order to finance its operations, a wind farm can sell these reductions in the form of carbon offsets.” (http://www.terrapass.com/) Other clean energy projects include farm power and landfill gas capture. Both of these projects capture and destroy methane produced from animal manure on a farm or the decomposition of trash in a landfill. This methane would otherwise be released into the atmosphere causing global warming. “Methane is estimated to be 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.” (http://www.terrapass.com/)
As I mentioned above, you can calculate your carbon footprint on the Terra Pass website. You can choose to do one item such as your car or you can calculate your entire household. After you calculate your footprint, you then decide how much of an offset you wish to purchase. Once you purchase your offset, you will receive a certificate and either a sticker for your car, a magnet for your home or luggage tags if you’re were offsetting a flight. Terra Pass also offers offsets for business including events such as conferences.
Purchasing a Terra Pass however does not give you the freedom to use your wallet over your brain in your efforts for improving the environment. In reality, or at least in mine, you can’t bike or walk everywhere, you do have to fly places and you may not be able afford or willing to purchase an electric or hybrid car, a Terra Pass is just another option to help chip in towards the overall impact. Happy Travels! Buzz!!