Thursday, October 15, 2009

Greenhouse Gas-X

Hey, it’s Blog Action Day! This year’s theme is climate change, and it’s very timely. Back in the day, we used to refer to people who were passionate about the environment as “crunchy granola”* types. It seems that here in my little corner of Los Angeles, we have more than our share of granola crunchers, juxtaposed with those who drive their Hummers from their house to the grocery store three blocks away. I see plenty of Priuses in my neck of the woods, and even old diesel cars that have been converted to run on vegetable oil.

Something new to me that I’ve been seeing as I drive about Los Angeles in the day-to-day are more and more cars with a “TerraPass” bumper sticker. After I’d seen it more than a few times, I set aside my lazy and forgetful ways for just a moment and – what else? – Googled it.

Huzza! At the TerraPass website, you can purchase carbon offsets (among other things) in varying amounts. TerraPass is evidently the #1 online carbon offset retailer. I can hear you all muttering out there, “Okay, fine, but what exactly is a carbon offset and why should I care?”

Dude! You should totally care because of the environment (love your mother!). Eat some granola and go to TerraPass or one of the many sites online where you can calculate your carbon footprint. This, my friends, is your personal contribution to global warming (see, climate change) via many daily activities you don’t even think about: driving, flying, or even heating your home. Through these activities, people produce carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas (read: no good for the environment). When you purchase carbon offsets, you’re funding projects which offset the environmental destruction your heinous, heinous ways have caused. Brighter Planet does a lovely job (certainly better than I can do) of explaining what carbon offsets are and the kinds of projects they consist of.

Back to the TerraPass bumper stickers: cars and trucks are responsible for 25% of all U.S. carbon emissions. Yeah, that’s pretty bad. By purchasing carbon offsets, you can balance out your daily damage to the ozone and alleviate some of your guilt. (Note I said some of your guilt. Carbon offsets will not remedy any of the following: your unwillingness to call your mother lately, the three consecutive bags of potato chips you ate yesterday, or you tearing up and throwing out your last jury duty summons. The offset thing is not a magical cure-all. Sorry.)

And that is one way you can do your part to counteract climate change. And if you want to eat granola while doing so, I promise not to tell.

P.S. You know what else they sell at TerraPass? Climate Change Chocolate. What’s not to love?

* Hey, I LOVE granola. Not casting aspersions. It’s all good.


E. said...

I love granola too. And my mother (both the hippie woman who birthed me and that big blue marble).

Thanks for blogging for more awareness of the looming threat of climate change. I've got a long agenda of things I want to work on to make this world better, but right now (maybe partly b/c of my dear little children) this one is big #1.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

E: Oh, the Big Blue Marble. Thanks for the nostalgia trip! I remember that show!