For the birds I saw in Meadows Park in Temecula, California, to count for my Anti-Global Warming Big Year I need to offset the carbon dioxide emitted by my traveling there. Fortunately, there exists on the web a wide array of carbon calculators to figure out exactly how much carbon was produced getting me to and from California. I used the one at Carbon Footprint but I’m sure others work in pretty much the same way.

For the flight from New York to San Diego with a stop in Chicago and my return flight from Ontario, California to New York the total amount of carbon emitted was .903 tons! Well, actually, Ontario wasn’t listed as an option in the calculator so I used San Diego as the departure city for the return trip figuring it was further anyway. Then, the distance driven to and from the airports I wildly overestimated at 200 miles and also wildly underestimated the mileage at 15 miles per gallon and came up with another .117 tons of carbon to offset. That’s a total of 1.02 tons of carbon!

At this point I started to get nervous as I figured offsetting over a ton of carbon was going to be very expensive and I’m not exactly rich. But Carbon Footprint said it would only cost me £ 7.65 to offset my just-over-a-tonne of carbon. Apparently, Carbon Footprint is a British website. In American dollars, offsetting my just-over-a-ton of carbon would cost me a cool $15.08 (or $.37 for each of the 41 bird species I saw in my walking expeditions). That seems altogether too cheap but who am I to complain?

The options offered to cover my carbon emissions included a straight cash donation which I assume would be used for one of a variety of ways to reduce carbon, or to pay somewhat greater amounts for the planting of two trees in Kenya or England, which would actually offset 1.46 tons.

I like the idea of planting trees, especially trees that will more than make up for my travel to and from California, but if I’m paying to plant trees I want them to be planted closer to (my) home so I might be able to occasionally visit them. So my plan is now to plant a couple of trees somewhere local, I just haven’t figured out exactly where yet. Once I do, however, you can be sure I will blog about it!


Plant two trees so I can count Bushtit? You bet!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.