Global warming is no longer just a conservationist's nightmare - it has become a reality that affect all of us. Anybody with a bit of common sense must by now be aware of the problems and issues that are facing the entire planet. We are all burning up too much oil - our foods,clothes and gadgets come from the other side of the planet, we jet across the sky as if it was a highway, we burn up oil to fuel industry and we still heat our houses inefficiently.
While most of us are becoming aware and quite concerned about the fact that the ice caps and glaciers are melting, that we are facing ever more extreme weather conditions and storms, that certain species are loosing their habitat due to climate change, politicians keep sticking their heads in the sand. Yes, there are talks about Kyoto and this that and the other - but they are mostly marked by lethargy rather than dynamic leadership, vision and pioneer thinking. Human beings seem to have been designed with one grave flaw - we only seriously consider changing our ways once we have at least one foot over the abyss - history cites many examples.
Politicians, being more concerned with their short term popularity than what is needed to make this planet a better place or save it from disaster, are dragging their feet. Thus it can now be said that responsible businesses and consumer awareness are the greatest forces for change.
One initiative that is certainly worth checking out is the Carbon Neutral organization. Their aim is to make businesses and consumers more aware of their carbon emission and to find ways to offset them. Using Carbon Calculators the carbon emission of any activity or business, such as those produced by international flights or by a tour company (or any other business or individual, for that matter) is calculated and offset by making a voluntary contribution to clean energy projects or tree planting projects etc.
Alternatively, (or better still, additionally) you can think about how to reduce your carbon emissions directly - how about walking or cycling instead of taking the car whenever possible? Or, choosing locally grown produce instead of food that has to be flown in from far flung places of the planet? Or how about trying to avoid energy wasting packaging, such unnecessary plastics and non-refillable aluminum cans as much as possible, e.g. bring your own shopping bags when you go shopping instead of accepting to take new ones that inevitably just pile up under the sink, and only buying returnable glass or plastic bottles? Or how about converting your car to a green fuel alternative, or next time you buy a car, try to pay particular attention to its fuel efficiency. Or, how about taking steps to better insulate your house and installing energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances?
If you don't want to 'trade carbon' via a network like Carbon Neutral, why not choose an alternative project that you deem worthy of support which works towards a cleaner, greener future. Every little step counts - and together, we the people may make a difference after all.