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Think You Can Offset Your Carbon Footprint? Think Again


Carbon dioxide emissions have been a concern of environmentalists for decades, but recently the upsurge in fear about global warming has brought this hot topic into an even more glaring light.

While it is true that proponents of the global warming theory have largely blamed both carbon dioxide and methane gas emissions for the increase in global temperatures and melting of the polar icecaps, they have also offered possible solutions, or at least helpful measures that they claim might help to slow the progression of global warming by decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Planting Trees Is Not Enough. Here’s Why:

One of the proposed methods is that of planting trees that have a particular affinity for binding carbon, such as fir and pine. Both of these types of trees consume huge quantities of carbon dioxide form the environment in which they grow, and proponents of so-called “carbon offsetting” say that by planting these trees we will reduce atmospheric carbon.

But there are a few problems with this whole theory:

First, it has never been proven that planting more trees reduce atmospheric carbon in any measurable amount.

The second problem is that while these large trees do use a high level of carbon through their own growth, they also consume huge quantities of water and other soil nutrients leaving these resources unavailable to the neighboring organisms, including humans.

In some areas where this plan of large-scale tree planting has been implemented, there were measurable reductions in available water in local streams, creating problems for the inhabitants of those areas who rely completely on the local water supply. Trees also limit the growth of grasses and short underbrush, contributing to hillside erosion and runoff. Ultimately, planting all of these trees might cause more harm than good.

Real Way To Help Offset Your Carbon Footprint

On the other hand, there are a few simple measures that most people can take if they want to do their part in reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Be responsible with vehicles and machinery that produce carbon dioxide. Combining trips in your car and reducing unnecessary airplane trips are ways that most of us can do our part without going to extremes.

Limit the use of aerosol sprays and other noxious chemicals is another way to act responsibly.

Turn things off when you’re not using them. Any attempt to use as little electricity as possible will help reduce man-kinds carbon footprint.

The point is, thinking that we can counteract the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide by simply planting certain foliage or taking other extreme measures is probably folly. Using less energy and finding cleaner alternative energy sources is a more logical path to carbon neutrality.

The war to reduce carbon emissions is fought on the individual level. Planting more trees doesn’t necessarily get rid of the problem. But rather it can be likened to sweeping the dirt under the proverbial rug.

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