This evening listening to Dutch radio. The Casa Luna program had Marjan Minnesma, director of Urgenda, a think tank advising the Dutch government on climate change. The beginning of the interview made me giggle. The organization recognizes something called “iconic projects”. The radio host asked what iconic projects are. Marjan Minnesma answered: “Iconic projects are projects that are larger than normal projects.” Okay….
But that aside the interview was actually quite interesting and had me thinking about my carbon footprint. I went to carbonfootprint.com, one of several websites that where you can estimate your footprint. My annual footprint … drum roll … is 27.153 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The US average is 20.4 tonnes. That it would be high didn’t surprise me (I fly on average a little over once a month) but that I would be well above the average US citizen, brrr. The average for industrial nations is 11 tonnes according to carbonfootprint.com.
(according to carboncounter.org my footprint is 41 tonnes….)
Half of my 27 tonnes comes from all the flying. About 7 tonnes goes to heating and cooling our house. I don’t drive a lot due to the combination of working from home and the business travel so the car’s impact is small.
What to do now? These two sites and also nature.org, carbonfund.org, terrapass.com, liveneutral.org, conservation.org all offer projects to sponsor to offset your footprint. It’s amazing how many of these sites there are. It’s clearly a hot and hip topic. It seems that contributions to these projects can be tax deductible so everybody wins, I guess. Nature.org states that it takes $20 to offset 1 tonne of emissions which is a surprisingly modest figure although they also point out that it takes 70 years to realize that offset. One of their projects that may be fun to sponsor is Adopt an Acre of Rainforest.
Reducing my footprint besides offsetting it would be good too. Perhaps plunge deeper into technology to minimize the need to travel for in-person meetings? There are various ways possible. Maybe hold meetings in Second Life? Sun Microsystems has a public presence there. I should check if we have private meeting space. SunLabs, our R&D department, is working on Project Wonderland – a 3D virtual world aimed at distributed work environments. I’m also tempted to try iChat Video or Skype Video for my staff meetings. Three of my staff members are in Santa Clara, one in Germany so a three-way conference should be possible.