Author Topic: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint  (Read 4867 times)

Supernumerary

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How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« on: March 22, 2016, 12:21:09 AM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/03/20/climate-change-footprint/

I am ashamed to say that despite being very environmentally conscious, I was unaware of how inexpensive Co2-compensation was. It got me thinking about including a full compensation plan in my yearly spending, including it in the 4%. I think it will battle some of the guilt I am feeling towards travelling more after FIRE.

Thoughts on the topic/article?

gliderpilot567

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2016, 07:23:10 AM »
I thought it was facepunchy. Seems lazy and consumerist to pay these offsets... when a real mustachian would go plant the trees him/herself. Same effect, no money lost to overhead, and you get all the benefits of the fitness and being outside. If you're FI, you ostensibly have the time to do so right? And if you're not FI, then you probably should be saving the money instead of paying the offsets.

Ready for spears...

enigmaT120

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2016, 01:59:27 PM »
I just skimmed that article...  I just planted 450 baby trees, is that enough?


Supernumerary

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2016, 02:26:14 PM »
I thought it was facepunchy. Seems lazy and consumerist to pay these offsets... when a real mustachian would go plant the trees him/herself. Same effect, no money lost to overhead, and you get all the benefits of the fitness and being outside. If you're FI, you ostensibly have the time to do so right? And if you're not FI, then you probably should be saving the money instead of paying the offsets.

Ready for spears...

Quite valid. I suppose the sense of accomplishment will well be worth it without even factoring in the future environmental benefits.

I often give planted trees as gifts for Christmas, but I never really reflected on the impact each tree has. The foundation I do it through provides regular updates on how their projects are going, which helps in mitigating the fear of not knowing where the money goes. Although you are right, doing it yourself eliminates overhead completely.

Syonyk

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2016, 08:26:37 PM »
Seems lazy and consumerist to pay these offsets... when a real mustachian would go plant the trees him/herself. Same effect, no money lost to overhead, and you get all the benefits of the fitness and being outside.

No spears here.

Plant trees, or sequester carbon in your garden (Hugelkulture or biochar), work with a local biodiesel coop to recover waste oils into biodiesel for your fuel, etc.

Buying "carbon indulgences" seems a pretty lazy way to excuse consumer culture.  "Oh, I just flew across the planet, but it's OK, I bought carbon offsets!"  In many cases, carbon offsets are not even bothering with carbon - you can get them from burning methane into CO2, because it has less warming effect over the short term.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_offset#Controversies covers some of the problems with it.

But, then, I don't think one can solve the problems created by consumer culture by tacking on more crap to buy.
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SisterX

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2016, 09:56:31 PM »
I thought it was facepunchy. Seems lazy and consumerist to pay these offsets... when a real mustachian would go plant the trees him/herself. Same effect, no money lost to overhead, and you get all the benefits of the fitness and being outside. If you're FI, you ostensibly have the time to do so right? And if you're not FI, then you probably should be saving the money instead of paying the offsets.

Woo, I'm off the hook!  My child and I will be traveling across the country this summer for a family reunion, BUT part of it will also involve planting a bunch of trees on a family lot. :)

In general, I'm sort of on the fence. Doing stuff myself is fantastic, and of course reduction in my own environmental impact is the best thing I can offer the planet/future generations. But at the same time, I will still be having a mostly negative impact on the environment so paying to fund other projects doesn't seem to be a poor choice either. I will only have so much land which I can plant trees on. And of course, I can volunteer to be one of those people planting trees, as well as offering money. It doesn't have to be an "either/or", it can be an "and". (I tend to look for the "and" choices.)

rosaz

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2016, 12:44:59 PM »
I approve the general idea of buying CO2 offsets... my only hesitation is that when I give to charity generally I like to give to charities that have had their effectiveness objectively verified (through GiveWell). But I haven't been able to find any kind of effective-ness rating for carbon offset organizations, or even environmental groups more broadly... of course the ones he lists might be great, but they might also be paying for projects that might have happened anyway.

Anyone seen any kind of independent evaluation about which of these organizations give the most bang-for-your-buck? This is something I'd love to start doing, if I felt solid about the impact it had.

misterhorsey

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2016, 04:00:24 AM »
There's one issue that I haven't really been able to understand regarding carbon offsets.

By buying a carbon offset for your flight, to what extent are you as an individual passenger subsidising the cost that should really be borne by the airline (and all of the other passengers) and should be embedded in the cost of the flight?

I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't act on a individual basis to limit increased carbon. But I'm wondering to what extend those people who do wish to do something, by buying offsets, are effectively minimising the cost of those who don't wish to do something?

My view is that governments should simply tax the externality (carbon, pollution, environmental damage etc) and the entire community should foot the bill.

stoaX

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 01:52:16 PM »
Good point misterhorsey.  I think the operative word in your post is "should".  Unfortunately the airline, oil and other industries that would be effected by taxing the externality have more money and political clout than those advocating for your view. 

stoaX

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2016, 01:56:09 PM »
I approve the general idea of buying CO2 offsets... my only hesitation is that when I give to charity generally I like to give to charities that have had their effectiveness objectively verified (through GiveWell). But I haven't been able to find any kind of effective-ness rating for carbon offset organizations, or even environmental groups more broadly... of course the ones he lists might be great, but they might also be paying for projects that might have happened anyway.

Anyone seen any kind of independent evaluation about which of these organizations give the most bang-for-your-buck? This is something I'd love to start doing, if I felt solid about the impact it had.

I share your concern.  Having worked for or with non-profits for over 25 years has left me rather jaded about their effectiveness.

misterhorsey

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 12:00:40 AM »
Good point misterhorsey.  I think the operative word in your post is "should".  Unfortunately the airline, oil and other industries that would be effected by taxing the externality have more money and political clout than those advocating for your view.

Yes, its a point i do genuinely struggle with.

Here in Melbourne there was a drought a few years back. Residents were encouraged to conserve water with a target of 115 litres of day.  However, this seemed to ignore the fact that the greatest consumers of water are industry and businesses.  So diligent citizens who were showering with a bucket would be minimising their personal water usage, only to leave a greater reserve for the biggest users of this resource!

The comparison with carbon offsets isn't equivalent, but I see some parallels in the way individual behaviour can mitigate 'bad' behaviour by other participants.

I do think there are various ways one can effect policy change regarding global warming in a democracy: voting (vote green candidates), consumption (buy carbon offsets), behaviour (cycle don't drive).

But I'm still not quite convinced that buying carbon offsets is particularly effective change if it mitigates the pollution of others.


CanuckExpat

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2016, 12:59:19 PM »
I'm skeptical and on the fence, for reason such as those listed here: Paying More for Flights Eases Guilt, Not Emissions
but admittedly need to do more research and am hoping to hear what others think.

The short answer may be that Carbon Offsets aren't a good solution, but that they are better than doing nothing.
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alsoknownasDean

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Re: How to Carry a Big Wallet and Leave a Small Footprint
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2016, 06:28:31 AM »
I've found for my local power company offers a green option for a few cents more per kilowatt hour (presumably they buy renewable electricity with it). I figure it's worth the small expense considering that most of the regular power in my state is carbon-intensive brown coal. I don't use much electricity anyway.