Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Green Travel

Are you racked with guilt over your carbon footprint on mother Earth? Well, for tree-huggers and recovering Catholics (for whom guilt never fully recedes), United Airlines (whom I used for at least half of my recent trip west) has set up an online confessional of sorts. You can visit their Carbon Offset Program, and there you'll find a convenient Carbon Offset Calculator to quantify just how much guilt is appropriate. You can then decide whether bearing it is something you can live with, or you can select from a variety of available indulgences, allowing you to travel guilt-free, or at least as nearly so as possible.

For my recent roundtrip from ATL to COS, for instance, the suggested donation to International Reforestation to offset 0.4927 metric tons was $5.91. Instead, I rented a Prius and drove nearly 300 miles on less than five gallons of gas. I found the overall effect of the Prius rental to be so environmentally sound that I felt compelled to offset my carbon offset by spending the $5.91 on a Venti Iced Mocha Latte at Starbucks just to take the self-congratulatory edge off. Thing is though, the buzz from coffee grown using environmentally sound methods is only serving to make me even more smug. I may just have to go out and crush a dandelion before anyone can stand to be around me. I can barely even stand myself.