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Carbon Week: Carbon Neutral Products and Events

Though generally regarded as something between a band-aid and validation for dirty behavior, carbon offsets have become a very popular way to essentially “have your cake and eat it, too.” While this isn’t good justification for us as individuals, when applied to a larger organization, event or product, it can be an effective way to both clean up after itself and also help spread the word to a larger mainstream audience. Over the past year or so, there isn’t much that we haven’t seen that has “gone carbon neutral”, or canceled its entire carbon footprint through the offset process discussed yesterday [www.sundance.tv].

While we like the prevention vs. treatment, proactive vs. reactive approach of increasing efficiency and decreasing emissions in the first place, we also realize that the world will continue to spin, and things will continue to happen as they have for decades, even centuries, no matter how loud we shout about increasing energy efficiency and cutting back on carbon emissions. This is especially applicable to worldwide cultural and sporting events; things like the Olympic Games, World Cup and the Super Bowl (all of whom have committed to carbon neutrality in the past year or so) will continue to happen before, during and after any major governmental legislation or huge socio-political shift having to do with global warming. With a grain of salt and a warm embrace of cultural relativity, we applaud these events for taking small step forward (on a huge scale) and going carbon neutral. Sporting events aren’t the only things that have jumped on the bandwagon, though; carbon neutrality knows no bounds these days. Here are some of TreeHugger’s notable highlights:

With so many examples, it’s easy to see why “carbon neutral” [www.treehugger.com] was the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year for 2006. Stay tuned, as we wrap up “Carbon Week” tomorrow, with a final look at your carbon footprint.