What is carbon dioxide?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common gaseous form of the element carbon. It is continuously circulated into life forms and recaptured in the oceans and the atmosphere. It is also emitted through the process of combustion of fossil fuels to produce electricity and of gasoline to propel vehicles.
The carbon dioxide emitted stays in the atmosphere for a century or longer, only slowly being reabsorbed into the oceans and vegetation over long time periods. Meanwhile, it floats through the air and traps heat energy radiating from the earth, thereby raising the overall temperature of the earth (aka global warming).
Because our society still heavily relies on fossil fuels and petroleum (how stupid is that?), everything we do and everything we consume has a carbon footprint. Even when we are innocently sitting at home reading a book we are polluting the environment (unless your home runs on solar power of course).
So what do we do?
Assuming that we will be voting with both our ballots and dollars for clean energy and that we are doing our best to reduce energy consumption and consumption in general, another solution is carbon offsetting.
What is a carbon offset?
You can think of carbon offsetting as the neutralizing of something. In science, what electrons are to protons. In accounting, balancing the books. In revenge, evening the score. What carbon offsets really are is compensation. It is the reduction of emissions somewhere to make up for the emissions elsewhere.
How does it work?
Carbon offsets are sold by companies or organizations funding projects that prevent additional carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from being emitted; and bought by consumers or businesses. These projects are vast and may include anything from replacing coal stoves with solar cookers in rural households to capturing and flaring landfill gas emitted by waste.
However, not all carbon offset projects are created equal. Some are considered to be better than others. How do we determine that? To begin with, we should only be dealing with carbon offsets that are certified. And then there are levels to it. Carbon offsets that meet the Gold Standard, for example, are the most expensive ones, but as with all things, you get what you pay for. These offsets are held to the highest standards, provide a shift away from the use of fossil fuels, and carry low environmental risks.
PLEASE NOTE: Carbon offsets are a last resort. It is not a cop out to make you feel better about driving your car around whenever you are bored. Reducing and conserving is still the best way you can lower your carbon footprint.
We understand that even eco products have a carbon footprint. To offset that footprint (at least some of it), 1% of our profits will go towards carbon offset projects. The offsets will be purchased every 3 months (we launched in December 2018), so stay tuned and check back in March to hold us accountable.