I was busy feed-reading when I noticed a brief post from Bob Hyatt which put a very odd notion in my head, right after his post on ecards for Lent. Now I haven’t really selected anything to give up for Lent, so perhaps I should ask Google. It knows all. So I Googled “what should [insert name here] give up for lent” and clicked on the first result. Maybe I should have just clicked “I’m Feeling Lucky.” (Go on, try it — just put your own name in the obvious place.) I came up with an article titled “Global Warming Evangelism: Give Up Carbon For Lent!” which says that several bishops in Britain are suggesting parishioners give up carbon for lent. Oh yes, it’s a Carbon Fast: An act with impact. It’s good that the church is thinking about going green, I figure.
But this means I’m supposed to give up carbon for Lent. Uh-oh. Something like that could have seriously horrific consequences for me. Beyond inconvenient, even.
So one of the articles I linked above includes the comic panel I’ve swiped here, and it got me thinking about offsets. I love the comic… carbon offsets as atonement for ecological sin, right? Well. You should know by now a little about how my mind works. According to the Carbon Footprint calculator, my carbon footprint is below half of the national average, which is pretty good I figure. Working from home probably has a lot to do with it, but I’m still more than double the world target. Anyway, I now know approximately how many tonnes of CO2 I produce in a year… and I have the option to purchase offsets right on the results page.
But I don’t know enough about carbon offsets, so I first need to read On Your Mark, Offset, Go!, “A guide to offsetting your carbon emissions.” Here I read, “There’s no definition of what a carbon offset is. It’s a little bit of a Wild West out there. Is this thing real? Is it good?” Oh, great. Still, after skimming further, it seems to me that something is better than nothing, right? Using the guide and taking a common rate of $10 per tonne, I can calculate my annual offset to become carbon-neutral and make a contribution.
If I’m only giving it up for Lent, I need to do some more math:
Oh, I know what you’re thinking, you legalists… Lent is 46 days, not 40. That’s true, but you don’t count the Sundays, because those are feast days. Yes, go ahead and have your chocolate or coffee or desserts or what-have-you on Sundays during Lent. It’s okay. I’ll be outside letting my car idle for no particular reason. Anyway, it turns out that the cost of purchasing carbon offsets for my footprint for the season of Lent is only $7.75. Now I ask you, how can you beat that?
So there you have it… for $7.75, I can purchase an indulgence and I’m already finished Lent! Now I’m just waiting for the calendar to catch up while you all go through caffeine withdrawal. Ha! My productivity has never been so good… I’m more than a month ahead of schedule! Maybe you should be giving up carbon instead, like me. But you have to do the Google test first to determine what you’re supposed to give up. What did you get?
What do you mean, I’m missing the point?