Sunday, September 09, 2007

Carbon Neutral Certified Book "Tour"

Vacations are wonderful things. First off, you get to REST. Then when you are all caught up on sleep can explore new places (for this vacation my partner and I wanted to discover a place neither of us had ever visited in the States). In South Dakota I got all nostalgic for Little House on the Prairie stories, which I loved as a youngster. Although Laura wrote about her family's time in Kansas, we stayed in Keystone, South Dakota, the adult hometown of Carrie Ingalls...which doesn't sound as a cool as it felt!

I also got to see and learn about the memorial-in-progress to another childhood hero of mine, Crazy Horse. When I was growing up at Livsey Elementary I read every single biography in the library about Crazy Horse. I can't tell you why, but he captured my imagination. It was nice to be able to make a pilgrimage of a sort to the site where a carving of the warrior and his horse is being diligently created.

Being in the Black Hills, the Badlands, and the plains of South Dakota got me thinking of wind energy and Native Americans, and well a whole host of topics. I realize that I had procrastinated in my desire to off-set the carbon emissions created by my book "tour." I put "tour" in quotes because I know full well that I'm not on a circuit like the wonderful Barbara Kingsolver, but I figure I am generating some pollution by going here and there discussing Fair Trade with the curious and the committed.

In fact, thanks to Native Energy, I was able to calculate that before my last scheduled book signing (Ten Thousand Villages in Salt Lake City in February 2008), I will have logged 11,543 miles--mostly by air--generating 4.573 tons of CO2. All this in order to promote a book about a movement which hopes to be environmentally friendly.

Wanting to "let my life speak" as we Quakers say, I decided to purchase shares of Renewable Energy Credits to help finance a wind farm. According to a brochure provided to me by Co-op America at a 2006 Green Festival (I told you I had been procrastinating!), if all goes according to plan, the wind farm will begin to deliver clean, renewable power in 2008, thereby displacing electricity that would have been generated by burning fossil fuels and creating CO2.

I made the purchase knowing that carbon offsets where a bit controversial, but not knowing that while I was on vacation the LA Times ran an article about "buying green consciences." I'm already way behind on my work reading, so will not have time to check out the article. But I'm very much supportive of investigative journalism, and I welcome any feedback on my decision or the merits of carbon offsets!

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