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On the Edge of Common Sense: Carbon Offsets

Baxter Black Published on 06 February 2007

Why do the names “The Conservation Fund” and “Natural Resource Defense Council” send a chill down my spine?

I guess because they routinely seem to be against drilling our own oil, cutting our own trees and raising our own beef.

I’ve always contended that if they wanted to reduce pollution, save endangered species and regenerate wetlands, they should start in their own backyards - in the middle of New York City, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

“WHAT!” you say? Why, they’d be laughed out of the Kingdom if they sued to prevent the rebuilding of the Twin Towers because it used to be duck habitat. Suburbia, I suspect, is the biggest source of their donations; they wouldn’t dare offend their donors.

The biggest new hypocrisy on the horizon is their “carbon offsets,” if you have 3 cars, two homes, your own espresso maker, weed eater, pool heater, electric blanket, child with wire braces, redwood deck, Evinrude motor or fly to Minneapolis regularly to visit your folks (i.e., consume lots of “carbon-based” electricity, gas, oil, coal, cement, diamonds, wood or plastic), you can “offset” their negative effect on the planet by - guess how?

“That’s right! Send them money!” They will plant trees.

I’m keeping my eye on this latest version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” If it works there is no reason that those of us who actually live in those places on the Sierra Club calendar, couldn’t also benefit. I could offer to ride my horse to check the cows instead of driving the pickup. My old pickup gets 4 miles to the gallon. An 8 mile trip would save 2 gallons of gas at @ $2.39/gal = say, 5 bucks rounded off. 2 trips a week, 104 x $5 = $120. Send it to me instead of the Nature Conspiracy. Or how about digging a posthole with a shovel instead of an auger. What’s that worth?

Those of you already irrigating with shovels or moving sprinkler pipe by hand could make a killing on carbon offsets! Just leave the four-wheeler at the house.

How ‘bout carpooling to the coffee shop every morning instead of driving your own pickup. In California alone they’d save enough to buy Gov. Schwarzenegger another Humvee!

Has anyone calculated the environmental cost of cell phone towers? I could offer a carbon-offset to guilty cell phone-aholics. They could pay me $1 every time I didn’t make a call.

All of this offset hoorah is silly. To think you can pay a shyster to maintain the pretense of your environmentalism is as cheesy as a senator feeling generous because he gave your money to a worthy cause.

It’s all about personal integrity, something you can’t buy.  end_mark