I haven’t posted much about Japan because I have 650 photos and I’m waiting for Ranger’s before I make a big photo post.

I will say, though, that I went ahead and bought an offset for my flight. I got the terrapass intercontinental, which will cover my trip to TN in the fall and my trip to Japan, as well as a future trip within America (probably to GA to visit gramma and aunts and uncles in late spring/early summer, if they’ll have me). it is awfully cheap – only $37 for all those flights – and I got a free luggage tag, something that I wish I had on the trip (there was one airline counter worker who looked at me with absolute scorn when I said I needed to use one of the paper tags that the airlines provide).

you can calculate your required flight offset here.

I had a back and forth with a coworker when he mentioned that Al Gore has been running into some hassle regarding his Freakin’ Big House and how he buys carbon offsets for it. I am not proponent of offsets as a end-all environmental strategy – I think that conservation is most important. Way more important than most people (Dick Cheney, I’m looking at you. It may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is also sufficient basis for MY sound, comprehensive energy policy*). So Yeah, I think that Al should maybe live in a smaller house. and Yeah, I think he ought to get on that zoning thing so he can put up solar panels. But I think it’s important to offset things as well. You create a market for energy conservation and offsetting acts as a private sector subsidy for development of conservation programs and energy efficiencies. That’s really important, because there sure isn’t much public sector subsidizing of that kind of thing. I think offsets are an important bridge between no conservation and conservation. they show elected officials that people care about this sort of thing, and hopefully, they foster development.

All my transportation for the last year has been carbon neutral. and I LOVE that. being carbon neutral plus the value-added by bringing the recycling home from work in my car (I implemented a recycling policy: more on that later) makes me feel a lot better about my selfish choice to live where I do. This is why I say selfish: I could have chosen to live very close to work so I could bike and not drive ~60 miles per day, but I wanted to live where it would be easy to get into NYC to see my friends, and where I could walk to restaurants and the gym, and where I live across the street from the library. I had to find a balance between my personal life and the environment. so buying a 2-seater hybrid and offsetting all of my travel miles makes my decision to live where I do the right one both for me, and for the environment. the new environmentalism is everyone doing what we can within our means and abilities, right? Right.

* “To speak exclusively of conservation is to duck the tough issues… Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it si not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy. People work very hard to get where they are. And the hardest working are the least likely to go around squandering energy, or anything else that costs them money. Our strategy will recongnize that the present crisis does not represent a failing of the American People.” — Dick Cheney, re: 2001 Bush Administration energy policy, 4/30/2001