Opportunities to Make a Difference
Climate change is an issue that affects everyone. We can take care of our forests and make better decisions as consumers to help mitigate increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Many land management activities can increase terrestrial carbon sequestration. However, you do not need to own land to encourage sustainable forest management, carbon markets, and the conservation of natural resources. Below in Greener Living, we provide links to various sources of information to help consumers make more environmentally friendly choices.
Forest Land Owners and Managers
Forests hold substantial amounts of carbon in vegetation and soil, which can be altered by both natural and human-caused disturbances. Forest carbon management gives us the ability to store greater amounts of carbon in forests and forest products as one way to reduce the build-up of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere.
Bioenergy is the creation of energy—electricity, heat, and fuel—from plant or animal materials. Bioenergy is an alternative to fossil fuels because biomass comes from renewable sources that are produced and replaced more quickly than fossil fuels, such as agricultural and forest residues, pulp and paper mill wastes, urban wood waste, energy crops, landfill methane, and animal waste. More about bioenergy >>>
Carbon Accounting and Trading
The ability of trees to absorb and remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it long-term in wood and wood products is an exciting new venture for many forest landowners and managers. Forest carbon sequestration helps to maintain the ecosystem services forests provide and can also serve as a source of revenue for landowners through participation in various carbon trading programs. More about carbon trading >>>
The following information is provided to assist individuals in making more knowledgeable choices as a consumer of resources.
There are several easy ways to reduce the energy you consume. Try out some of these ideas to get started:
- US Environmental Protection Agency
- World Resources Institute: Ask Earthtrends
- Stop Global Warming Action Items
Carbon Footprint and Offsets
Many websites allow you to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that you produce through your daily activities—including driving, powering appliances, heating your home, and using water. Since carbon dioxide is a major pollutant, some sites even allow you to go a step further. After you have calculated your carbon footprint, you can go carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offsets work as a type of voluntary carbon trading (discussed above) where you pay a company to perform projects that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, such as tree planting, or prevent CO2 emissions through reduced energy use.
The following sites provide calculators for you to use. Those with an asterisk (*) give you the option of purchasing offsets..
- US EPA Personal Emissions Calculator
- Carbon Capital Fund*
- American Forests Climate Change Calculator*
Your Home and Car
Decisions we make for our homes and lifestyles have a substantial impact on our energy consumption. There are several easy ways to reduce the energy you consume, such as increasing the energy efficiency of your home and choosing products that are better for the environment. Try out some of these ideas:
- US Department of Energy:
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)
- US Green Building Council
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Sustainable Building Products and Materials
- US EPA Green Power Partnership
Last Modified: 10/15/2010