How to offset your impact – the right way
You’re probably hearing a lot about offsetting your impact lately. But what does it really mean to offset your impact and how can you do it in a way that makes sense?
What it means to offset your impact
So many everyday activities are linked to greenhouse gas emissions – for humans and organizations alike. But if you buy carbon offsets from a reputable organization, they’ll calculate the impact of your activities to then match them with specific environmental efforts to offset the harmful impact on the planet. Reforestation projects are popular. A certain number of trees are planted in predetermined areas.
When carbon offsets go wrong
Carbon offsets can make a big difference when they’re combined with other eco-responsible actions, but they’re not a magic solution for making climate change go away. In fact, carbon offset abuse is a common form of greenwashing (using misleading marketing and PR to project an eco-responsible image to make more money).
Here are a few examples of carbon offsets gone wrong:
- When companies use them to distract from their bad environmental behavior
- When offsets support pointless causes
- When an offset firm doesn’t fulfill its promises
- When an offset project has a great debut but isn’t sustained over time
Healthy ways to make a difference
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to minimize your impact. To get the best results, balance worthy carbon offset programs with everyday changes at home.
- Swear off single-use plastics.
- Research before you buy…the fashion and textiles industry is one of the biggest polluters. Support sustainable and responsible brands.
- Recycle and compost what you can.
- Use offsets from reputable organizations to minimize the impact of your flights. Some airlines do it on their own, but you can also use trusted organizations, like Cool Effect and Gold Standard.
- Don’t rely on offsets alone–explore other ways to minimize your impact. Check out the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator for inspiration.
- Use products and services that continue to make a difference over time, like hai smart showerheads and PLUS soaps.
“There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan