Carbon offsetting has been compared to the selling of ‘indulgences’ by the medieval church, a way of assuaging the guilt evoked by the carbon emissions associated with modern life, i.e. heating, cooling, driving and especially flying. In like manner, offsetting is critiqued for sending funds to developing world projects rather than those ‘worthy projects’ closer to home with which we are familiar and may be more predisposed to support.
So, here are a few words to explain where we’re coming from:
In December 2015, under the auspices of the United Nations 195 countries agreed in Paris to slow global warming. Carbon emissions are its primary cause and reducing them is the primary goal of the Paris Agreement.
This applies to governments, businesses and individuals, all of whom are asked to reduce their respective carbon footprints. But where further reductions are not possible, carbon offsetting is allowed and encouraged by the Paris Agreement, especially when offset projects are duly selected, monitored and verified for maximum impact. Sadly, most of our ‘local projects’ are not.
The Findhorn Community is committed to be part of this world-wide effort and has, among other initiatives, established a carbon offset service through its community charity, Park Ecovillage Trust (PET), and is supported in this effort by the Findhorn Foundation and the New Findhorn Association (NFA).
PET’s offset projects have been chosen for their social and environmental benefits, primarily in developing countries where the effects of climate change are most severe. And in addition to reducing global emissions, offsetting there also provides much needed employment, health improvement, biodiversity and social benefits to impoverished communities (project details here).
Carbon offsetting helps to combat global climate change, often functioning in business as an internal ‘carbon tax’ that spurs creativity towards reducing &/or avoiding emissions. In this respect and others, offset projects also serve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals whose realisation, together with the Paris Agreement, will create a more sustainable world.
We hope you will join us in this effort and play your part by offsetting your own emissions.
And if you now need some more convincing, listen to this from COP24, Poland December 2019.
PET’s Carbon Strategy Group