In a previous post (catch up here), I wrote about being a frequent flyer in the face of climate change. I’m not boastfully proud of it, but I don’t believe that any alternative is a realistic conversation at this point. Now, before you condemn me forever, let me say this – I deeply believe that climate change is real, the science is irrefutable, it’s affecting our livelihood and at the moment, it’s not getting better.

Things must, and should be done to offset what humans are doing to the planet.

In other areas of my life, I try to be as conscious of this as humanly possible by not owning a car, using a recycled, reusable coffee cup and eating locally grown food and flying more fuel efficient planes amongst other things. If you don’t agree that climate change is real, it’s probably best to jog on now, because you’re not going to agree with any of the other things I write here very much, either.

That’s fine, it’s your choice, no super hard feelings.

When I wrote that post a few weeks ago, it naturally received the same horribly divisive commentary our politics enjoys these days, but there was a major silver lining.

My friend Jonathan tweeted back to me, simply saying that it could be worth supporting a cause called Offset.Earth. I listened, I learned, and within 5 minutes, I was signed up. If you, like me, plan to travel, need to travel or whatever – but wish to do something unanimously positive as well – this is a fantastic initiative, doing good that you can actually see and understand.

As someone who’s never been accused of being the sharpest tool in the shed, there are a few things I really enjoy about this simple, easy to digest setup. For one: you simply join a monthly plan, rather than contributing every time you fly. Of course, you can top up or give more, but Offset.Earth works like Netflix, or any of your other monthly subscriptions.

Someone once said to me “by the time the tree grows enough to have an impact, you’ll probably be dead”, and that’s fine by me. I hope someone I love won’t yet be. This stuff isn’t all about personal reward, it’s about what I believe to be a greater good.

From day one, Offset.Earth lets you know what your monthly plan brings to the world. I signed up for the “Mega” plan geared towards frequent flyers, which bills £18 per month but plants 48 trees in the process and fully offsets 56 tonnes of Carbon Emissions each year. It’s visual, it’s simple, and even has tags to let you know where your trees are planted each month.

This doesn’t absolve me of my travels, nor the impacts they create, but if any future impact is offset, I’m more glad that I did, than any reason not to. If this sort of thing isn’t for you, that’s totally fine too. We’re each entitled to our own personal opinion – except on science – which is based on quantifiable facts, numbers, tests and outcomes of course ; )

Anyone around the world can use Offset.Earth, but I believe in also supporting similar offset initiatives around the globe, including: TerraPass.com, ClimateCare.Org and ArborDay.org. If you care about this stuff, I think there’s very little harm in helping…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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9 Comments

  1. As much as I disagree with your logic on all of the climate theory involved in your choice at least this is still your choice. I will hate the day, coming soon, where people will be taxed or required to buy credits like this. I’m also kicking myself as I had started to set up a carbon offset company about 15 years ago but didn’t. I would have been a rich forest owner by now. I am wondering if it would be a good idea to set up an affiliate marketing company that skims carbon offset contributions. “Let me help you, help the planet”.

  2. Dumb question – how do you know they are actually planting trees (or planting the right number for all participants) instead of pocketing the money? Is it audited by a reputable company? Ice for you to feel good you are (you think) doing something positive but what if it is a scam? Of trying to be negative as this is a great plan for people that want to participate it asking seriously how you know it is legit.

  3. To each their own. As long as it’s voluntary, I don’t have the slightest problem with carbon offset programs. Knock yourself out.

    The question is, how long will such programs/taxes remain voluntary?

  4. Congrats in taking the first step in realising that what you do as a job is borderline criminal for the planet. The next step is truly realising it, and stopping. Carbon offsetting is what rich people do to feel better about themselves, but if airlines/passengers truly offset all their carbon emissions, we’d be out of space for planting trees pretty fast. I eagerly wait the day your flights are taxed in a way that represents their true cost to the planet. Then you won’t be flying so much.

    1. People like you make me want to pay 10x and fly Concorde. So congrats on taking someone with a conscious and making them want to become wasteful.

  5. Kevin even though blunt, does speak the truth. Offsetting is a good step, but it isn’t enough to clear your conscience. What you do massively pollutes the planet, that’s just the long and short of it, and you might as well own it, offsetting goes some way to make this not a bad, so well done on a positive step. Your response does sound like a someone who’s jumped straight in and hammered the keyboard in guilty defensive mode though, I wonder after a few days pondering what your response would be? I do want to say thanks for your article too because it lead me onto https://edenprojects.org/ who we are now trying to partner up with and help fund through my work.

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