Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carbon offsets, Guilt, and Karma

Apparently, you can purchase a carbon offsets from airport kiosks to counteract the carbon impact of your flight. NPR correctly asks how someone would know if what you buy is really offsetting your flight. But are they right to suggest that a person who does this is trying to "offset guilt"? Isn't that begging the question?

It seems the media can only discuss environmental motivation in terms of guilt absolution-

What about simply trying to minimize our carbon footprint because it will help reduce global warming? Or because we feel it is a duty to future generations? Or out of a sense of virtuous self-reliance? (we clean up our own messes?)

Perhaps, unconsciously, a part of us is hoping the earth will recognize that we are good people who "feel bad", so the earth will forgive us. But in the long run, it is the earth's facts, and not the earth's emotions, that will "knock us right on the head", as John Lennon said of Instant Karma. It would be good if the media focused more on that, and less on concepts like guilt.