While directly reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a far more effective approach to fighting climate change than “offsetting” them by buying carbon credits, I readily acknowledge that I’m presently not personally able to reduce my greenhouse gas emissions to zero. The same goes for Mongabay.com, which generates emissions via travel, server usage (web hosting and traffic), and equipment purchase and usage. Therefore, I use freely available carbon calculators (I use 3: from TNC, the EPA, and the GHG Protocol website) to estimate both my personal emissions and the operation’s total emissions on an annual basis. I then double this number and retire the equivalent amount of carbon offsets.
Rainforest in the Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor REDD+ Project area.
There are lots of questionable operators in the carbon offset business (REDD-Monitor often identifies shady outfits) so careful thought should go into choosing a provider. Since I’m passionate about tropical forests, I’ve been buying and retiring credits generated via a forest conservation project that I visited personally and is certified under leading standards (VCS and CCB). The project, called the Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor REDD+ Project, is run by Anthrotect, a firm launched by an anthropologist who has been working with communities in the region since well before the advent of REDD+. Anthrotect is working with Afro-indigenous and Embera communities to protect forests in Colombia’s Darien region, which includes the habitat of mongabay’s mascot: the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.
Illegal forest clearing by colonists in an Afro-indigenous reserve.
While I’m making a best effort attempt to offset emissions, I’m still working to reduce emissions whenever possible. That means cutting back on travel (riding a bike instead of driving, using public transport, avoiding frivolous travel to unnecessary conferences by using Skype, Google Hangouts, etc), reducing consumption (reduce, reuse, recycle), making more thoughtful food choices (less meat), and looking for chances to make the web site run more efficiently (e.g. a recent server change to improve caching cut bandwidth transfer by 34 percent overnight).
More pictures from the Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor REDD+ Project area