Eco-Guilt?

Tree without leaves

Did we mention we’ll be driving? In a car? Across the country? And how we think it’s totally icky?

Being the eco-conscious hippie city-dwellers we are, Anne and I are somewhat concerned about the moral implications of such a trip. Firing up an internal combustion engine and driving 3000 some-odd miles, consuming who-knows-how-much gas, and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere make us shudder a little. On the inside.

Last year I calculated our carbon footprint during the offset craze and found that for the whole year, including everything we do, we emitted about 1300 lbs of carbon, which is pretty low, as the average American uses about 8000 lbs. We elected for wind power from ConEd, we take public transportation almost exclusively, and we live overall pretty greenly. I just calculated this trip we’re taking, and (though I tried to prove it by showing you a picture, I couldn’t get it to work) the total carbon emitted by this trip alone will be 2600 lbs. That’s twice what we spent for the whole of last year. That’s insane.

So this has us understandably a bit purturbed. We’ve been thinking of ways to alleviate our guilt that doesn’t actually involve our canceling the trip and moving to a carbon-negative house in the woods (Though this is a solid Plan B). We could, of course, just buy carbon offsets, some of which cost as little as $10, but we don’t trust those companies to actually offset our carbon.

Our first idea to alleviate our guilt was to plant a tree in every state we traveled to. I believe this is still our idea, though it seems a bit bulky. In theory, one tree planted outside our apartment (though we already have a tree planted outside our apartment) in Brooklyn would offset our entire trip. Planting 15 across the country should make us carbon negative. We could also get a better car. If there’s a chance we can change our reservation and get a Prius, we’ll do it. Maybe this blog will really take off (yeah, right), and Chevy will offer us a Volt for long distance tests or something. Or BMW will give us a Hydrogen7 (currently being driven by Tony Blair), though fueling may be an issue. I hear that a few people are working on a solar plug-in hybrid Prius, so if they want to hook us up, we won’t say no.

How else can we make ourselves feel better about using 120+ gallons of gasoline in two weeks? Is there something we’ve overlooked?

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~ by neoney on July 12, 2007.

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