Friday, 26 February 2010

Buying your way out of guilt

Having read a chapter in my studying about carbon emissions, the Kyoto Protocol and the inequality of the effects of climate change around the world, I did a bit of surfing on the internet.

I would like to talk about carbon offsetting..  Not just in relation to the big companies who wish to build a new power station, so in exchange they kick a few unimportant families out of a suitably sized area in Uganda and plant some trees.

I'm thinking about the Home Carbon Offsetter...
  
http://www.carbonfootprint.com/carbonoffset.html

First calculate your carbon footprint - I didn't, because the information required was on a par with filling in an application for a mortgage or student loan (which is worse than a mortage application, but that's another story)... then you can just click on a button to pay to plant a tree in Kenya, the UK or South America; you can even 'prevent being given 7 toasters for your wedding' (seriously, who gets given even one toaster as a wedding present these days?) and ask people to buy tree planting instead.

I know this is all good and environmental... but, especially for the well-heeled who fly global for a 15 minute meeting without a second thought, or heat their 7 bedroom houses to 25C, to me it just smacks of buying a way out of guilt, because we in the West can afford it. 

Instead of changing our ways and flying less, or driving less, or buying fewer cheap clothes from places like China, or buying local produce... we can just carry on as before and feel OK about it as we add another Kenyan tree to our Shopping Basket.

1 comment:

  1. It is absurd isn't it. Maybe this is where all the .com people have moved on to?? The new way to make money from large companies, after making them think they were all going to die in Y2K? Now you can make them think they're buying trees. Think being the operative word??

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