As estimated by MIT in 2008, the average American’s carbon footprint is 20 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The lowest than any American’s carbon footprint can get is 8.5 metric tons of CO2, no matter how minimally they live.
This is more than double the global average of 4 metric tons. This is because all Americans were credited with the emissions involved with public services such as libraries, roads, military, and police.
For those of you Americans who don’t live in a cave, your carbon footprint is likely much higher than 8.5 metric tons per year. Like most, we love online shopping, traveling, and buying new clothes. Plus, your showers can only be so short, and we all release carbon dioxide literally every time we breathe.
Because nobody’s perfect and we can only reduce our carbon footprint so much, the additional carbon emissions can be negated in theory through the purchase of carbon offset credits. Here’s the idea: your money is directly supporting a project that saves a legitimate amount of carbon from being released into the atmosphere such that it cancels out your emissions.
After nearly ten hours of research, we decided Cool Effect, a carbon offset non-profit based out of the Bay Area is the best option. Other carbon offset programs we highly considered include TerraPass and Carbon Fund.
From the Cool Effect website:
“More than 90% of each dollar you donate goes directly to helping our projects, with a small fee of only 9.87% to help us cover credit charges, research, and possible registration fees.
Here’s a breakdown:
- 1.5% Research Fee
- 2–4% Credit Card Fee
- Registry Fee (where applicable)
- Reminder for Cool Effect Administration Fee”
You can pick which environmental project to support or you can let Cool Effect decide where your donation would be most effective. All of the projects have been rigorously tested, researched, and documented. The projects have all been verified to stop a measurable amount of additional carbon from being released into the atmosphere.
Depending on the project, you can offset the average American’s carbon emissions for just $12 per month. If you want to know a more exact estimation of your carbon footprint, here are a few carbon footprint calculators.
Another option is to purchase carbon offset credits for a specific big ticket item like an airline flight, cross-country road trip, or a large event like a wedding. If you do a lot of online shopping, you can offset your shipping carbon emissions!
Disclaimer: We receive no financial compensation for any of the products recommended or shared anywhere in this blog.