Become Carbon Neutral:
Mitigate as much carbon and greenhouse gas as you produce.
Confronted as we are by the scope of environmental and social problems in the world, the question is, “What can I do?” or “Where do we start?” Many people will say to start in our own backyard, but for many that just doesn’t sound like enough. Global issues threaten us all and call upon us to rethink how we live and what we can do. The Kyoto Twist offers a solution that addresses two major challenges at once. The challenges are global warming and abject poverty. The solution is solar cooking.
A concept that is growing in acceptance and public awareness is the idea of becoming carbon neutral. It can apply to an individual, a family, a business, a festival, a corporation or any other greenhouse gas producing entity. Carbon neutral means simply that you are not a net producer of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases or that you mitigate as much as you produce.
The formulas and calculations to verify this are complex, but the principles are simple. We produce emissions when we drive, when we heat our homes, when we fly in airplanes or take the bus. We save these greenhouse gases when we reduce our energy use or switch to a cleaner energy source like wind or solar. Planting trees is another way to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. The Kyoto Accord introduced the concept of carbon offsets, built on the principle that emissions reduced or sequestered anywhere is as beneficial as doing this anywhere else, because they all go into the same global atmospheric envelope. So if you contribute to a solar cooker for a family in a developing country, you are not just giving them a better life, you are offsetting a portion of your own emissions.
The average Canadian produces 5.5 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. That is about the same as one person produces who cooks their food with wood or charcoal. A solar cooker can cook up to half of a family’s meals, saving them time and money and the atmosphere several tonnes of emissions. We offer the three options below.
Option #1: donate to offset the emissions you produce
A well-designed solar cooker project, like the ones our organization sponsor, will reduce carbon emissions for $10.00 per tonne per year. Based on the 5.5 tonnes per year per capita for Canada, you could donate $55.00 to offset your emissions for one year.
Option #2: reduce and donate to offset your emissions
Reduce your own emissions as much as possible first, and then multiply the remaining emissions by ten dollars per tonne to achieve carbon neutrality. To do this you can use a carbon calculator to estimate your emissions. We recommend the calculator at www.safeclimate.net/calculator. It only takes a few minutes to get an estimate of your annual carbon footprint.
You can also search the internet to find a carbon calculator to best suit your geographic area. It takes about twenty minutes to answer the questions and get your readout. The calculator then recommends ways to reduce your emissions and lower your score. You can go back to the site and check your progress as you make changes in your energy use or perform other reducing activities like planting trees or purchasing offset credits. For instance, your current emission estimate might be 4.2 tonnes per year. You could donate $42.00 to offset your emissions for the year. Next year when you have reduced your energy use, check your total emissions again and donate accordingly.
Option #3: make a charitable gift
Contribute what you can afford to help the Kyoto Twist deliver the resources to bring about the benefits we have mentioned above. Then follow our progress as we report about our projects and other developments in the coming years. You can contribute monthly or annually to help a family in the developing world, and it will.
Save a tonne, Save a life.