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Reducing Your Carbon Footprint - Planting Trees

Trees3.jpgIf you’re thinking about planting trees to offset the carbon dioxide emitted by your car or plane trip, think again. Don’t get me wrong - I LOVE trees and green spaces. But planting trees is not the most effective way to counterbalance CO2 pollution.

US Today had an interesting article about this, which goes hand in hand with research that I have read about in the past. Essentially, the article points out that planting trees is a short-term solution, and we can’t possibly plant enough trees to cover the amount of CO2 emitted. Not to mention that different types of trees take in different amounts of carbon dioxide, and trees emit carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere when they die.


What should you do instead?

  • Calculate your carbon footprint: There are many carbon footprint calculators out there, such as those found at Conservation International, BeGreenNow and World Wildlife Fund in the UK, to name a few. Though they are not an exact science, it’s always interesting to use a couple and see what your average footprint might be.
  • Now that you’ve got a sense of your footprint, MINIMIZE IT!


    First and foremost, minimize your overall carbon footprint. This includes transportation, energy use, and items that you own—the majority of actions you take directly or indirectly impact the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. The websites listed above all have tips on how to reduce your footprint, as does the Inconvenient Truth website.

  • Offset the rest of your emissions: Once you’ve calculated your footprint and implemented some changes, your footprint will be smaller and you can now offset the rest of your emissions. To get an idea of companies, pricing, and method by which they offset emissions, take a look at this comparison chart. Pick a company that is third-party certified and that also funds renewable energy resources as a means of reducing CO2, such as Carbonfund and Terrapass.

Now you can get on that plane, if you must. And don’t forget to wave “HELLO!” to the trees from the air!