Learn about carbon offsets

This blurb is from a more thorough article, “How Carbon Offsets Work,” by Sarah Dowdey on the HowStuffWorks website. Read the entire piece here

“Carbon offsets are a form of trade,” Dowdey explains. “When you buy an offset, you fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The projects might restore forests, update power plants and factories or increase the energy efficiency of buildings and transportation. Carbon offsets let you pay to reduce the global GHG total instead of making radical or impossible reductions of your own. GHG emissions mix quickly with the air and, unlike other pollutants, spread around the entire planet. Because of this, it doesn’t really matter where GHG reductions take place if fewer emissions enter the atmosphere.”

She continues, “Carbon offsets fund projects like forest restoration, conversion to renewable energy sources, more efficient transportation, more efficent homes and buildings,and GHG collection and sequestration. Offsets support both large-scale and community projects. A single company might restore a forest in Uganda and support the construction of efficient stoves in Honduran villages.”

When churches work on making life better in developing countries or poorer areas of our country, they can include projects that feature sustainable energy. When you go on a trip (especially an airline trip), consider giving some extra money to such projects. Or you might wish to take on projects in your home or church to improve energy efficiency or the addition of renewable energy.

If you are interested in projects in West Virginia where you could offset carbon, visit to The Nature Conservancy, where you can read about red spruce restoration and more.

Plant native trees and shrubs to help the environment

Native trees and shrub are much better for the environment than some oft-planted non-native trees that become invasive and crowd out the native species (which are essential for native wildlife, pollinating, diverse ecosystems, and maintaining natural habitats). Here is a partial list of no-nos – Callary Pear (includes the popular Bradbury Pear), European Privet, Japanese Barberry, Japanese Knotweed, Kudzu, Jetbead, non-native honeysuckles, Tree of Heaven, Japanese Wisteria, Silk Tree, Princess Tree, Norway Maple, and Paper Mulberry.

If you want to know more about the dangers of non-native, invasive species and how to prevent or rid your environment of them, check out “Trees of West Virginia” from the WV Division of Forestry (check with your regional DOF office to request a free copy), the WVDNR Invasive Plants webpage, the WV Native Plant Society and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which has offices around the state that can provide help in finding the best habitats for particular trees.