Tuesday, January 27, 2009
How to Purchase Carbon Offsets for a Thoroughly Green Wedding
The ultimate green wedding would have a carbon footprint of zero. While that’s not really possible, it is possible, and pretty easy to purchase enough carbon offsets to equal whatever carbon footprint you create. If you think about it, almost everything we do daily generates a carbon footprint of some size, whether it’s driving a car, eating a hamburger sandwich made with a beef patty, even using a computer because of the carbon generated by the computer’s manufacturing process and because it uses electricity that is most likely generated in either an oil-burning or coal-burning power plant, although that is changing little by little. But you can celebrate your new union and your future by getting carbon offsets for every aspect of your wedding, including for your guests who have to travel from out of state or perhaps even from across the ocean from another country. Air travel is one of the biggest carbon generators there is in modern civilization, but you don’t have to settle for leaving a big carbon footprint for that travel if you negate its impact by buying carbon offsets. You can start the process by typing phrases like “zero carbon weddings” or “purchase carbon offsets” into your favorite web browser and then checking out the websites that come up in your results window.
Once you’re at the carbon offsets website of your choice, you can usually find a carbon footprint calculator of some kind with windows where you can input the total number of guests you’re expecting at your green wedding. Next, you can break down that total into the number of guests who are flying in and their average flight distances. There will also be a window where you can enter the number of guests who are driving in, and their average driving distances. You’ll also need to put in the number of hotel night stays and whether or not guests are staying in an upscale hotel. (Believe it or not, there is a big difference in the carbon footprint generated by guests who are staying in big, expensive hotels as opposed to those who are simply coming in and staying at a more modest motel like a Day’s Inn or something comparable.) You should also be able to input whether or not you’re having a rehearsal dinner, and the calculator will do the rest, coming up with a total for the number of pounds (in thousand pound increments) of CO2 that your guests’ wedding travel and hotel stays will generate. For example, if your green wedding is generating eight tons or less of CO2 then the carbon offsets will cost you a mere $80. So, keep this in mind when you’re planning your wedding. The more guests who attend and the further they travel, the bigger the carbon footprint they’ll create.