Monday, March 7, 2011

Ethical Responsibility and the Zeitgeist

It has become apparent in these modern times that the impact of human lifestyles globally has reached a level where it can no longer be assumed that nature will take care of it, let alone ignored altogether. Many of the things we take for granted in our modern and industrialized, nay consumerist lives, becomes available and accessible simply because it presently does not take into account what "cost" it imparts on to our mother earth.

Apple image courtesy of

To illustrate my point, take for example one apple. An apple in Canada or Australia may cost you around $1.50 (at a rate of roughly $4.00/kg). This price usually includes the cost associated with growing the apple, imparted to the farmer, transporting the apple, imparted to the transport company, storing and selling the apple, imparted to the supermarket company, plus profit (hopefully down the whole chain, but usually not especially in the case of farmers...but that's another story).

What this price currently does not include is the cost associated with removing prime vegetation for the growth of mono-culture agricultural practices. It does not include the cost of the reduction of top soil health and quality thus reducing the capacity of future growth. It does not typically include the cost associated with the loss of biodiversity both in flora and fauna, and therefore the wider impact on the surrounding environment, other farm practices and indeed the whole natural world. It also does not include the cost of reduced air quality, carbon dioxide intake and regulation, and reduced water quality due to loss of native vegetation. This is where carbon credits come in.

Biodiversity image courtesy of

It must be said, especially for the sake of carbon market skeptics, that the carbon bonds available on the global carbon market, not withstanding really poor quality credits in the form of concessions for massive corporations and all other tainted types, are our current best guess scenario. In the same wane that 600 years ago we thought the world was flat, and 100 years ago did not think it was possible to fly, and so on, we are a people of the belief that "this is what we know now to be the best and therefore is the truth". In other words it is an intermediate solution which will aid the transition to a new, green global economy.

Round The Bend Project, and indeed Colette and Vinko Grgic move around a lot...around the world that is, and we usually fly. This is available to us and is of course the most efficient way to get around, especially over such great distances. So we indulge, and we consume, and currently our actions do not contain the consequences of such comfort and ability to travel. In order to correct this fault and to join the ranks of the current best predicted practice on business that includes environmental impact, we are obliged to offset our flights.

Our LittleGreenSpot green certificate, offsetting the carbon emissions of our annual flight travel

We purchased our annual flights carbon offsets from LittleGreenSpot, a very new Canadian company dedicated to providing high quality carbon credits for business's as well as the general public. This seemed a much better method of assuring that our money went to the right place. Usually you will be able to purchase offsets from your airline once you make the booking, however it is difficult to tell where exactly these funds are going and what quality of carbon credit they are providing. There are also other companies where you may purchase your offsets directly but most assume that you are purchasing them only for a single or return flight. LittleGreenSpot is different, they take into account the fact that you may fly more than once in a year and provide an easy to use calculator to offset you annual flights. Our current offsets with them are supporting a wind farm project in India, a massive growing and quickly industrializing economy in dire need of green alternatives. Another one of their projects is the San Jose community conservation effort in Peten, located in Northern Guatemala. We got a chance to visit their BioItza Biosphere Reserve and see firsthand the inspiring enthusiasm they put toward protecting their environment for future generations. You can read all about the projects that LittleGreenSpot is supporting here.

It makes sense to jump start this change, pay your share and even out a little the damage your lifestyle causes to the global biosphere...our life support system.


  1. You guys might be interested in this website and organization:

    You might also be interested in the pioneering work by Herman Daly on ecological economics. Check out his book Beyond Growth when you get a chance!

  2. Thanks Owen, we will definitely check it out. Hope the remainder of your trip was great mate, all the best!

  3. Thanks again Owen, very interesting article on the Steady State blog...I will be checking out Herman Daly's book.