March for Science: Why Carbon Offsets are Good Science

By Jan Lee January 26, 2018

Science has been around since the beginning of human civilization. It was the engine behind Aristotle’s ambitious effort to fly and even earlier than that, it helped the Babylonians fashion an understanding of time and their universe.

Today, science is helping us conquer challenges that were likely never envisaged by Aristotle or the Babylonians. It’s given us the means to build airplanes, but it’s also given us the insight to understand how transportation has impacted the environment we rely upon.

And according to March for Science, a non-profit movement backed by scientists, doctors, educators, businesses and individuals across the planet, science has given us another remarkable tool: the ability to strategize ways to reduce those impacts.

We often hear about the technology and methods that are open to businesses to reduce their everyday carbon emissions through better technology, improved land and materials use, the adoption of carbon trading programs and other innovative approaches.

But as the March for Science rallies highlighted last year, addressing climate change is a personal commitment as well. In April, more than a million people gathered across the globe in 620 cities to show their support for science and to call on governments to work toward stopping climate change. But the rallies’ message also helped drive home the role that individuals, armed with their own goals, can make a difference as well.

The problem is, researchers tell us, there’s still a fair amount of confusion over just how individuals can offset the impacts of their own travel and why exactly they should. What is the definition of a good carbon offset program, and what should individuals keep in mind when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases?