Carbon Offsets and Where to Buy Them

Carbon offsets? What on earth is that?

Do you remember learning about carbon footprints in school?

I don’t know about you, but I always found the idea pretty abstract. Ok, I shouldn’t take the car if I can take the bus, I shouldn’t take 45 minute showers and turn my bathroom into a sauna, got it.

Still, I always wanted to be able to visualize what a carbon footprint is.

Now, IMAGINE IF I TOLD YOU that there are online tools that tell you exactly what your carbon footprint is.

You can quantify it. Like, see it in numbers and graphs. There you have it, right before your eyes.

Now, I think this has one good part and a bad one:

  • Good: you will see your carbon footprint and your child self will finally be satisfied.
  • Bad: spoiler alert – you will feel guilty when you see it.

I always considered myself a pretty green person. So imagine the shock when I saw this on the screen when I calculated my footprint with the Global Footprint Network’s calculator.

how many earths do we need climate change

What? You’re telling me that I’m not doing enough?

That sucks.

I always thought I was doing a lot, but now I know I wasn’t going out of my way to reduce my carbon emissions.

But since I learned how much I am producing, I set a goal for myself to decrease them to the bare minimum.

And then I decided to do a little extra. Do you know what carbon offsets are? Well, I decided to invest in carbon offsets every once in a while, to compensate what couldn’t be reduced with my lifestyle.

Being sustainable doesn’t get any easier than this.

I don’t always get offsets from the same projects or organizations, I like going around, seeing what the market has to offer. And I have found some VERY cool ones.

This is a little list of my favorite carbon offset programs, along with what makes them special, and why you should invest in them.

And now, without farther ado, here you have these rockstars.

Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty (COTAP) 

What makes their offsets different?

Imagine if you could save the environment AND help local farming communities, both at once. Awesome, right? Then this might be the program for you. They help local communities in developing countries grow sustainably.

At the moment they have active projects in three countries: India, Uganda, and Nicaragua.

You can calculate your footprint from their website as an individual or as a company (this tool is mostly useful for US residents, tho) and after learning it you can pay for the offset that best suits you.

Also, you can choose an amount of money you want to use to offset and from there they’ll calculate the amount of CO2 you can save – this can be donated monthly.

Cool feature

You can even get a gift certificate, or offset your wedding!

And bonus point: they are extremely transparent (you can find the reports of their campaigns on their website).

Coral Gardeners

What makes it special?

While many offsets are focused on planting trees, Coral Gardeners give you the opportunity to adopt a coral or buy a nursery table (tables where they ‘cultivate’ corals until they’re mature enough to go in the sea). I’m SO IN FOR IT.

I love their goal, and how involved they are in the reconstruction of coral reefs. Remember: if we do nothing, coral reefs will be gone by 2050!

As you may know, our oceans are reaaaaally suffering the strains of climate change, and ocean warming is one of the most threatening and worrying effects of global warming.

Of course, trees are extremely important to take the CO2 from our atmosphere. But actually another large part of CO2 is absorbed by our oceans, where it is transformed into oxygen by algae. It is precisely by hosting certain kinds of algae that giving life to the coral reef can help us fight climate change.

Cool feature

In this case, you pay for as many corals you’re adopting, not according you your carbon footprint. AND YOU CAN NAME YOUR OWN CORAL.

Oh, and if you ever go to French Polynesia, make sure you pay them a visit. They offer eco-tours where they will teach you everything about corals. You’ll snorkel in their coral farms, and even plant your own coral.

Carbon Fund

What makes it special?

They give you lots of different options to offset your lifestyle – by how many people there are in your family, how big is your house, which kind of car you own,…. It’s like online shopping.

Also, they have very high-quality standards in order to assure that your investment is going to end up where you want.

They have many active projects ranging from investments in energy efficiency to forestry and renewable energy in countries that really need it.

Cool feature

Other option you have is that they can plant a tree for each dollar you donate – ONE DOLLAR!?

Reformation 

What makes it special?

Let me just set the scene: Reformation is an amazing carbon-neutral sustainable clothing brand. As eco-conscious as it gets.

Their website gives you the option to purchase offsets from their site thanks to their partnership with NativeEnergy, an NGO that hosts carbon offset projects in the American continent.

Isn’t it awesome that you can compensate you CO2 on the checkout while getting your new sustainable dress?

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Reformation also offers you a $100 e-gift card for their site if you switch to clean energy. Maybe it is time to rethink your energy supplier?

United Nations

What makes it special?

Well, these ones are offered by the UN, which makes the whole deal a tad more official.

They have sooooooooooo many projects and you can choose the continent and country, the project type, the focus of the project, and a lot more.

Cool feature

Like in other cases, you can take a test to learn your carbon footprint. In this case, the test is SO EASY AND FAST and I love that it’s aimed internationally – other companies are UK or US-based mostly, so they have statistical data based on those countries, whereas here the UN compares your footprint with the average of your country.

Oh! And I love that you can pay using Paypal! It makes saving the world a lot more convenient.

What do you think?

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