What Does it Mean to Be Carbon Neutral?

Everything we do has some sort of environmental impact. Whether it be making dinner or watching a movie, everything we do directly or indirectly creates greenhouse gas emissions. All of these activities add up to your carbon footprint, or the sum of all the emissions you create from your daily lifestyle.

People are not the only ones who have a carbon footprint – stores, companies, and activities each have their own carbon footprint, which may or may not contribute to yours. In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, many companies and individuals have declared themselves ‘carbon neutral’. However, it would be impossible to not create carbon emissions, so what do they mean?

Being carbon neutral doesn’t mean you don’t create carbon emissions

A common misconception is that people or companies that claim they are ‘carbon neutral’ don’t create emissions at all, or at least have reduced their emissions drastically. This isn’t true at all. The term carbon neutral instead refers to groups or individuals that have offset their carbon footprint by supporting projects and programs that reduce carbon emissions by way of preventing future emissions or protecting areas that naturally absorb carbon dioxide.

Many of the tasks we have to do every day generate emissions. We have to eat, go places, work – all of these tasks can indirectly create carbon emissions. Being carbon neutral means that instead of completely quitting all of these tasks, you contribute to a project that will reduce an equal amount of emissions that were created by those daily activities. . For example, if you produce  2 tons of carbon from working on your computer, you could offset that amount by donating to a forest protection project that will protect trees that absorb an equal about of carbon.

Being carbon neutral is still helpful to the planet. It’s better than no action at all! For any carbon emissions you can’t avoid, making those tasks carbon neutral is one of the best ways to be more eco-friendly and help combat climate change. Compared to buying an electric car or growing all your own food, buying carbon offsets to make parts of your life carbon neutral is much more practical and financially feasible. 

Becoming carbon neutral doesn’t require you to completely change your lifestyle either. While it’s always best to prevent carbon emissions from being made in the first place, carbon-neutral options are an accessible alternative that allow nearly anyone to be eco-friendly!

How much carbon should I offset?

It’s not very clear to most people how much of a carbon footprint they have from their daily activities. The information is not that easily accessible, and it would be a lot of work to total up all of your carbon emissions from all of your daily tasks.

Instead, carbon calculators allow you to figure out your carbon footprint! While they aren’t perfect, they will give you a pretty accurate calculation of your carbon footprint based on major everyday tasks like eating, transport, and shopping. EcoCart’s Carbon Calculator makes an estimate of your carbon footprint in less than five minutes and gives you exact amounts you can donate to offset your carbon emissions from the last year, 3 months, or month.

Donating to EcoCart’s projects will help communities around the world to gain access to renewable energy, clean water, jobs, and more, all while protecting the environment and reducing global carbon emissions. EcoCart’s projects have all been carefully vetted and verified by the world’s major carbon standards, and although the projects vary greatly they all actively work to reduce carbon emissions while benefiting the communities in which they take place. 

If you’re not sure about making all of your activities carbon neutral, that’s okay. It’s important to start somewhere! One activity that is easy (and free!) to make carbon neutral is online shopping through the EcoCart Chrome extension. Online shopping creates a lot of carbon emissions, especially through shipping packages all around the world. EcoCart’s extension allows you to offset the emissions generated from shipping your package from thousands of your favorite stores, all for free! By using EcoCart when you shop online, you can easily make a difference.