As you've probably noticed by now, getting all the way to Cortes Island isn't so easy. And I doubt any of us will be canoeing there - we'll all be burning fossil fuels of some amount to make our way from where we live to the gathering. And at the conference, we'll be using paper for our participants package and energy at Hollyhock's facilities.
I'm not a big fan of guilt - other than sometimes motivating you to seek change I find it a rather useless emotion, especially after being environmentally minded for 20 years but still managing to buy things, eat, and live in our world. It's kind of dull to be down on yourself just for living.
So what is an earth caring, people loving, yet still economy participating human being to do?
One model that is gaining some momentum is paying a little extra to go carbon neutral. We are happy to announce that in 2006, Web of Change will be a "greened" event with minimal enviromental impacts. This is thanks to the kind folks at ZeroFootprint, a Toronto based website that provides information, products, and services to consumers and businesses that wish to reduce their environmental footprint. Through their program, we will be replacing the natural resources used in production of our event, and offsetting the pollution created by our transportation.
I've heard from some colleagues that this is controversial. Ron Dembo, founder of ZeroFootprint, has written an article trying to address some of these arguments. I'd love to hear some other thoughts on this model. For now, I am grateful to ZeroFootprint for donating the costs of greening our event as a sponsor and for introducing us to this new, helpful, and potentially huge new way of mitigating our impacts while we walk the planet.