When you fly across the country, drive to work, or eat a burger, you’re (or rather the process is) emitting carbon. Some airlines, companies, and NGOs offer ways to help offset those carbon emissions.
Carbon offsets are a tool that can be used when you’ve done all the reducing you can do (carpooling and biking, turning off the lights, ditching plastic water bottles, etc.) and still want to do more to reduce your carbon footprint. They’re basically a trade. You emit carbon in one area and purchase an offset that will reduce carbon somewhere else.
Most carbon offset programs are terrestrial; you can offset your own carbon by paying for a few trees to be planted elsewhere. This works, in theory, because trees take in carbon and are therefore making up for whatever you just emitted. But “green carbon” isn’t the only option.
It turns out that “blue carbon” is even more effective. That’s where The Ocean Foundation’s SeaGrass Grow project comes in. Seagrasses are flowering plants (not seaweed!) that grow in shallow coastal waters and are up to 35 times more effective in carbon uptake than Amazonian rainforests.
Plus, they have a number of other benefits. Seagrasses are important habitats for fish and many commercially important seafood species! They also protect coastlines by absorbing and dissipating much of the energy from extreme storms. Additionally, seagrass meadows provide vital nutrition to nearly 30 million people around the world.
But we’re losing these habitats at an alarming rate. By opting for blue carbon and seagrass offsets, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help restore these critical marine habitats. Start by calculating your carbon footprint!
And check out this short video to get inspired:
To learn more:
- Read about the Seagrass Grow campaign
- Read about seagrasses
- Learn how to reduce your footprint
- Listen to TOF’s Mark Spalding talk about blue carbon in a recent talk: Poop, Roots, and Deadfall: The Story of Blue Carbon
Copyright © 2016 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.