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Offset Your Travel Footprint with Green Investments

If you travel a lot but try to lead a green lifestyle, you may be worried about the environmental damage from all those plane trips you take. Granted, newer airports do their part to reduce their footprint, by using shorter runways to shrink fuel consumption, and installing soaring expanses of windows that are open to views of air activity, which take advantage of solar power, and reduce need for artificial lighting. But what can you do?

One solution is to indirectly offset your travel-induced environmental damage by supporting efforts that are good for the environment. For example, you can plant a tree, or build a wind turbine, all without getting your hands dirty. Carbon offsetting Web sites such as NativeEnergy help you calculate your travel impact, apply a cost, and offer an opportunity to donate that money to an effort that counters the damage — rainforest protection or alternative energy research, for example.

How can you be sure that the fund is legitimate? Some resources such as the Environmental Defense Fund research and identify projects they consider worthy. Or, instead of donating through a carbon calculating Web site, you can keep your money local and contribute to a cause you’re close to, such as a community tree-planting organization.

It may be impossible — or undesirable — to avoid travel, but carbon-offsetting can help make your next experience less of a guilt trip.

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