Yesterday, I came back from a quick trip to Paris. I’m expecting to make one more round trip flight this year. And to be honest, with all the news coming from IPCC that climate change is moving faster than anticipated, I am not only leery of flying but feel guilty about doing so. So I started looking into offsetting the carbon footprint of my flying around Europe.
Before moving further, let us acknowledge that these actions should really be taken by governments and corporations. Especially the airline. I tend to fly Finnair, which at least talks a good game about reducing emissions but it’s not enough. So here are some other options.
Adopt a swamp
According to Hiilipörssi, a Finnish non-profit working to return bogs to their natural state, a hectare of bogland ties up about 880-1110 kilos of carbon dioxide in a year. That’s just over the emissions of my round trip to Paris. A trenched bog converted to, for example, farmland, in turn, produces about 5 550 kilos of carbon dioxide in a year, so it’s especially important for offsetting emissions. And in general as a carbon sink, which is important to offset just general life.
Finland has a lot of bogs. Some estimates say that about a third of the country used to be bogged. Since then a lot of that land has been converted to be either woods or farmland. This, in itself, is a slight problem, which various people are working on correcting. And at least Finnish citizens can help them.
There are various services around the world who work with all kinds of carbon sinks and CO2 emission reduction programs. Mostly, these seem to be green energy projects all over. Writer friends in the US recommended Terrapass, which has projects in wind turbines and dairy farms. There are other companies that provide similar services, at least in Europe as well as the US. Interestingly, most of the European alternatives seem to be offering clean energy projects in developing nations. And that’s probably a whole other topic all by itself.
Choose your airline well
Sometimes, you have no choice but to fly with a certain company. But when the choice is available, it’s a good idea to choose an airline that uses biofuel where available or offers other carbon reduction measures where not available. The airline may also offer other ways for reducing fuel usage such as lowering the blinds after landing in hot areas to reduce fuel use for cooling down the airplane. Especially when flying, if you can pack a little less, that saves on fuel both the cost and the emissions. Where possible, choosing an alternate mode of transport is also a good thing. Ultimately, the airlines work on a profit margin and reducing fuel costs. It just so happens that reducing fuel costs is also sometimes good for the planet.
At this point, I’m looking at making room in my budget to permanently adopt some swampland. It seems like the most efficient way to offset my own carbon footprint permanently and long into the future.
What do you, dear reader, do to either reduce your CO2 emissions or offset the carbon your actions release into the atmosphere?