Thursday, February 7, 2008

Set It Off

Today I caught myself boasting about the small carbon footprint of our wedding, when I realized that dozens of people will be flying to RDU to attend. That will make for a very substantial footprint indeed!

"Offsets" are ways to neutralize the impacts of our purchases by investing in projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Offsets are controversial, because it is not always clear that the money is effectively reducing GHG pollution in the reported amount or in the specified way.

Fortunately, there is enough interest in offsets today that you can get good information and make good decisions that really will neutralize your travel to our wedding--so you can come celebrate with no guilt at all!

We recommend that you purchase offsets from e-BlueHorizons LLC, a company that captures GHGs from landfills in New England and uses them to produce (renewable) energy. We know that they have been thoroughly scrutinized, and they really do offset as much pollution as they say they will. Additionally, they use a portion of their profits to plant trees in the Mississippi Valley--which further sequesters carbon dioxide from the air. And, we like that they are specially helping New England, a part of the country that is dear to us and where many of our guests live.

Most of our guests only need to offset one metric ton of carbon to make up for their round-trip flight to North Carolina. But, e-BlueHorizons only sells offsets in multiples of 10. What to do? Here are three suggestions:

1. Pool your money with other wedding guests--a batch of 10 offset tons only costs $50.
2. Give the excess as a gift to someone who loves to travel.
2. Come visit us more!

If you want to learn more about Offsets, visit There are also other "certified" providers there, including companies in Illinois and California.

An even better thing to do for the environment is to eschew air travel altogether. Rail travel will save 90% of the CO2 emissions caused by air travel, and some people actually enjoy the opportunity to enjoy a little wine and cheese, watch the countryside go by, and avoid the security line hassle. The Carolinian will take you from Penn Station to downtown Durham in 10-1/2 hours for $158 round trip, or $236 business class.

Finding in our wedding an opportunity to fight global warming makes it a happier occasion, I hope you will agree!

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