In an ideal world, we would all be able to cut our carbon usage enough to live sustainably on this planet. Unfortunately, this is not yet our reality.  So while Glacier Climate Action encourages everyone to reduce their carbon output however possible, carbon offset programs can complement our efforts to lower our environmental impact.

Carbon offsets provide a way to reduce green house gas emissions through a variety of methods. These methods may include wind farms, forest management projects, methane recapture at farms or landfills, and clean water projects that reduce the need for individuals to boil water for sterilization.  There are numerous organizations that now offer carbon offsets such as Terra Pass, Native Energy and The Nature Conservancy so purchasing offsets couldn’t be easier.  Depending on your lifestyle, it is possible to offset your carbon footprint for as little as $25.00 a month.  But even if you can’t offset all of your carbon, offsetting some is better than none!

According to Science Daily, a class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has assessed the average American’s carbon footprint as being 20 tons of carbon a year. Even the lowest energy using Americans generally have a baseline carbon footprint of 8.5 tons per year which is double the global average of 4 tons per year.  This is in part due to the many services available to U.S. citizens such as police services, roads, court services and the military, which were distributed equally in this MIT study.

If you are interested in figuring out your own individualized footprint, there are many carbon footprint calculators on the web. The Environmental Protection Agency offers one at the following link:  http://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/

As the Natural Resource Defense Council advises, “Offsets are meant to complement, not replace, efforts to reduce your personal carbon output”. To learn more about carbon offsets, please visit the NRDC’s website: http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/offsets.asp.

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