Growing seagrass

I just flew from New York to Brisbane via LA. It was an unavoidable trip due to visa legalese, but one that gave me a chance to explore carbon credits. I eventually settled on The Ocean Foundation’s SeaGrass Grow program, for which I spent about $40 to cover the one-way flight.

Googling ‘how to offset the carbon from my flight’ returns about five million results; the majority being informational rather than actionable. Many of the actionable ones that I explored expect the buyer to trust that the money will be put to good use.

I chose SeaGrass Grow because it’s the most cost-effective carbon offset program I’ve come across. Their own website does a great job of describing the benefits of growing seagrass over other offset options such as reforestation. The program was also personally recommended to me, putting the trust factor at ease.

Some carbon offset programs have calculators built-in to the process. I had to use an additional website (actually a few to get an averaged-out result) to calculate my ‘passenger miles’ before being able to return to The Ocean Foundation’s payment page. It seems like we don’t have consensus on how to do this math. It also seems like the calculators ignore changes in emissions during take-off and at different altitudes.

I would have given up if I weren’t fully onboard with the SeaGrass Grow program, so can’t see how most people will push through. It seems that a UN agreement for airlines to offset their own emissions will (weakly) kick into gear. That might explain why the baked-in carbon pricing on airlines’ websites have dropped-off lately. Still, I’d like to see non-negotiable carbon pricing on flights, today.

Organisations such as Climate Neutral look like a perfect fit for businesses. They handle the measurement, strategistation for minimising carbon emissions, and then offsetting emissions that are not yet minimised. Project Wren is another one I’ve come across, although it seems more focused on feel-good consumer experience than most-effective carbon offset methods. Options on offer today include “Community tree planting” and “Tech-enabled Amazon Rainforest protection”.