Carbon Credit Buffoonery

This past weekend, the summer equinox finally arrived and with it, a celebratory day you all might be interested in, International Surf Day. Originally created by the corporate folks at Source Interlink Companies Inc. aka Surfing Magazine as “an unofficial, environmentally-conscious sports-centered holiday that celebrates the sport of surfing, the surfing lifestyle and the sustainability of ocean resources” and “to promote the popularity of surfing and attracting new participants.

On the home front, our most prolific international surfboard importing kayaker decided to organize his own shindig, albeit, weather permitting, as we all know how balmy June showers can wreak havoc on an event. The press release sounded very familiale, but a couple key phrases spoke directly to me: “Surfboards are not good for the environment and there are a lot of them out there. All it takes is a 5$ donation and you will be able to feel good about riding your board again”. After all these years believing it was a nagging bocce injury, it hadn’t even dawned on me that my quiver might be causing all this heartache and pain.

Further reading revealed the $5 goes towards “reversing the negative impact of the production process and polluting materials used in [my] surfboard.” For a little background, top researchers at Wikipedia have concluded “a carbon offset is a financial instrument aimed at reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.” Idealistic in nature, true, yet everyday common sense might make you question how investing money in a relatively new, ill-regulated market will reduce or reverse the amount of greenhouse gases you contribute to world on an everyday basis. Many opponents of carbon offsetting criticize a lack of regulation that results in millions of dollars being spent on carbon offsets that do not effectively reduce or reverse greenhouse gas emissions.

Anticipating a busy day at the spot, I arrived at dawn and logged in the company of my favorite Peruvian uncles, Tito and Felipe until about 10:30. The waves were…not worth mentioning. I was able to raid the garbage cans and littered shore to collect a large bag of deposit savy déchets to pay for my guilt, but no one showed up to take my money. Where was my favorite sustainability-preaching kayaker, with his 100 deep quiver?. I waited, and I waited, but it soon became evident the swine merchant wasn’t going to show. Armed with a sack of empties, I headed to Depanneur Tina de L’est to exchange my booty for a cerveza clara and Pep ‘N’ Ched combo. Wow, I spoil myself too often.

I certainly enjoyed June 20th, 2009, but am still interested in seeing an audited financial statement of carbon offset purchases, made on behalf of the corporate/eco-minded kayaker entrepreneur. Unfortunately, I won’t be around for ISD2, the re-up, scheduled for this upcoming Saturday, but can someone please hold onto their carbon offset receipt and confirm which part of the Asian Brown Cloud they are reducing.

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