I just got a CO2 meter and checked the levels in my house and went down a rabbit hole trying to address the issue. Apparently it would take 249 areca palms to offset the carbon RESPIRATION of one adult.

So okay 249 trees just for me to breathe, not to mention the rest of the bad things we all do.

So how can this math ever balance? 249 trees just to break even seems like an impossible number. Then all the flights I have been on, miles driven, etc.

I feel like that’s… Way too many trees. Is it hopeless or am I missing something?

  • @Cheesus@lemmy.world
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    13310 months ago

    You’re not supposed to. It is a marketing ploy from oil and gas companies to shift the blame from corporations to individuals for their pollution.

    • @alvvayson@lemmy.world
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      3510 months ago

      The oil and gas companies and their “environmentalist” buddies.

      We could have prevented climate change with nuclear power in the 1990s.

      Even without solar and wind (they were too expensive at the time) or carbon taxes, Sweden and France managed to get emissions down to 5 tons per capita with old nuclear and hydro technology. If all rich countries had done the same thing, climate change would have been a non-issue.

      We can still solve it today with today’s technologies: solar, wind and battery technology has evolved and become affordable. Carbon taxes are politically feasible. And old nuclear technology is becoming more acceptable and gearing up.

      Sure, try to help by reducing your energy use where possible and investing in things like home insulation and energy efficient heating and transportation.

      But the actual big things that need to be done can only be done by politicians, to force economies to change.

      • @charliespider@lemmy.world
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        1010 months ago

        Even without solar and wind (they were too expensive at the time)

        This is true and I’m not disputing this fact, but had the oil companies not interfered with and killed off any attempts at alternative energy sources, things may have been quite different.

      • @FishLake@lemmygrad.ml
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        510 months ago

        I’m curious how mass nuclear energy adoption in the 90s would have offset the impact of agriculture, livestock, and the oil and gas industry. I don’t see how nuclear energy would have made climate change a non-issue.

        • @alvvayson@lemmy.world
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          10 months ago

          Then you should do the math. If the rich countries all had achieved 5 tons per capita in 1990, then atmospheric CO2 would be around 380 today instead of 420. It was 350 back in 1990 and reached 380 around 2005.

          Sure, we would still need to get to net zero, but we could have gotten there over many decades without ever hitting 1 degree of warming. That’s what I mean with “climate change would be a non-issue”

          • @FishLake@lemmygrad.ml
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            310 months ago

            Cool. I’ll just do the math then. I’m sure it’s just as easy as all those people on Facebook say doing your own research is. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound flippant about this, but fuzzy napkin math without sources or stats or some kind of methodology does not make a strong claim. Without that kind of specificity or rigor, we’re just two assholes on the internet misinterpreting each others’ words.

            Anyway, totally agree with that second paragraph. And I’m certain there’s a ton of sources to back you up on being at 1990s CO2 levels. I wouldn’t personally consider a few more decades of wiggle room to be a non-issue, that’s just me. Though, looking outside my widow at the hellscape of 100% humidity and melting assault I sure wish we had invested more in nuclear energy.

        • @dustyData@lemmy.world
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          310 months ago

          Ammonia!

          You see, a lot of the agricultural impact on CO2 concentrations on the atmosphere comes from industrial made fertilizers. Which is basically ammonia with a bunch of other things in smaller quantities. Despite being a natural product created by a ton of bacteria and organic processes, today almost all of the ammonia used by agriculture is produced by a chemical process that uses fossil fuels. Specifically extracting hydrogen from fossil fuel to then recombine it into ammonia. It also uses a lot of heat that comes from burning the fossil fuel. The thing is, we don’t technically have to burn fossil fuels to make ammonia, there are other ways. But they require a lot of energy. However, if you have a lot of excess cheap electricity during low demand periods from nuclear power, for example, you can make cheaper ammonia and hydrogen. It’s also cheaper and more efficient to keep a nuclear power plant rolling than to wind it up and down every day. So you can use the excess electricity to power or supplement other power hungry industrial processes like desalinization, hydrogen production, powering water reservoir replenishment pumping, etc.

          This also offsets livestock production because a lot of livestock pollution is feed agricultural production. Almost half of agricultural production is for stock feed.

          So, it would’ve helped, a lot, to have a non-fossil fuel energy source to feed a non-fossil fuel process path to fertilizers.

      • @SCB@lemmy.world
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        110 months ago

        carbon taxes are politically feasible

        Not in the United States, they’re not. I actually work with politicians as a climate lobbyist and carbon taxes are a complete non-starter.

      • @ZodiacSF1969@sh.itjust.works
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        010 months ago

        Batteries are not quite there yet. It’s still quite a large investment to build massive batteries that can help small to medium towns for short periods of time. As an EE I’m hoping we make a breakthrough soon that will allow us to increase their energy density. Either that or move to different liquid fuels, which have an energy density advantage.

    • RandomGuy613
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      810 months ago

      Yeah holy shit I can’t believe that people are braking their head about this …

    • @Hamartiogonic@sopuli.xyz
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      710 months ago

      We’re burning these fuels and spending the energy on these sectors.

      It’s mostly due to burning coal, oil and gas while expecting to get electricity, heat and motion out of it. Which sectors need to change urgently? Industry in general, road transport and buildings.

  • beaubbe
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    Breathing does not create Carbon, it is only transformed.

    There are basically 2 pools of carbon. The carbon already in circulation in the athmosphere, plants, animals and so on, roaming at the surface. That Carbon can be CO2, or other mollecules, but there is always a fixed amount. You breathing is simply borrowing the carbon for a bit and putting it out again in the air when exhaling.

    The second pool is carbon locked away in the ground, as coal, oil and whatnot. That carbon is OLD and is not supposed to be in the first pool. When you burn oil, the carbon from the 2nd pool ends up in the 1st one. You cannot really offset it because even planting trees just transforms it as wood for a bit, but if the tree burns or rots, the carbon goes back in the air. The only option long term is to send the carbon back in a locked state in the second pool.

    But for you, just reduce the amount of carbon you move from pool 2 to pool 1 to help the earth. Cut on oil, gas, coal as much as you can. The rest is basically irrelevant.

    You can compare it to the water cycle. You are at a lake with a pump, and pump the water from the lake back into the lake. You can keep going forever and will not cause the lakes to rise since the water is pumped from there anyway. BUT, if a mega corporation starts pumping from underground sources and dumping it in that lake, it would overflow for sure. And they would blame you for all the water you are pumping.

    • @triarius@programming.dev
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      1410 months ago

      This is a really important insight. To add to it: back when the carbon from Pool 2 was in the atmosphere, dinosaurs were roaming the earth and it was a lot hotter than it is now.

      This is obviously a simplification, it but it drives home the point that once the carbon is out of Pool 2 it will cause global warming. The only way to stop that is to stop moving carbon from Pool 2 into Pool 1, ie stop fossil fuel mining.

      Of course we could try to move carbon from Pool 2 to Pool 1, but it took the Earth millions of years to do that, and many of the plant species that did it are now extinct. Perhaps once we’re exinct, they might evolve again.

      • Skua
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        610 months ago

        Yes, carbon sequestration is the term for it, but none of them are currently practical to do on a scale that would mitigate the effects of the fossil fuels we burn. Growing trees is an example of this, as they do lock up carbon in the process of growing, but they’re kind of a risky prospect since if the tree dies and rots or is caught in a wildfire then it releases the carbon again. Another option is literally just sticking it back underground in mines or oil wells, but of course that takes a lot of energy to do and then whole point of burning fossil fuels is to get energy so this one is currently a bit self-defeating. They’re things that might be helpful to do if we succeed in transitioning to clean energy and have an excess of it available

        • beaubbe
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          10 months ago

          If we can get nuclear fusion to work, that would be the kind of things that would then make sense to do. I can only hope that we figure it out as soon as possible.

          • Skua
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            110 months ago

            Absolutely. Or even just excess capacity of wind and solar, to be honest. Whatever works, so long as we don’t need it to replace fossil fuels and it isn’t itself making more CO2 to lock away the CO2

    • @themusicman@lemmy.world
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      14 months ago

      Re trees: It follows that growing some trees doesn’t help much, but growing a forest on otherwise bare land will act as a carbon sink as long as it’s not cut down - dead trees will be replaced without human intervention

    • @mister_monster
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      -210 months ago

      Breathing does not create Carbon, it is only transformed.

      Yet somehow when cows do it this is not the case.

      Your premise is that the only carbon that’s new is from fossil fuels, which I can agree with (to a point; it came from biomass originally so is not truly new, just reintegrated after a billion years) but the problem is your view, the view we had for a few decades until very recently, is not the most common view. People talk about carbon in biomass going through the carbon cycle as if it’s a bad thing now, and you get called a fucking denier of all things if you point out that that is ridiculous.

      • Hillock
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        2210 months ago

        No one is complaining about the carbon a cow is breathing in and out. It’s the methane they produce, which is a very potent greenhouse gas, about 80 times the warming power.

        • @mister_monster
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          Methane has a half life of 8 years, and is produced from carbon dioxide and water, specifically it is produced into carbohydrates by plants which are then broken down into methane by certain bacteria in animal digestive systems. It degrades back into carbon dioxide and water through oxidization very quickly in the atmosphere. It’s effect on global warming is miniscule compared to carbon dioxide, by measure of the volume of each produced and their persistence in the atmosphere. Methane is a non issue, and is easily made up for by the fact that cows, and the humans that eat them, are carbon sinks also. Imagine if you stopped cattle production and destroyed all those cattle to stop them from creating methane, how much carbon dioxide do you think they’d create as they biodegrade? This would have a significant impact on warming, way way more than the methane does. The existence of cattle (and any and all biomass in general since they’re all carbon sinks) is a net positive for warming, by far.

            • @mister_monster
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              -110 months ago

              Just no huh.

              The article you link shows carbon dioxide having a stronger impact on warming than methane in aggregate, which is what I’m talking about and what matters.

              • @meco03211@lemmy.world
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                510 months ago

                Methane in the Earth’s atmosphere is a powerful greenhouse gas with a global warming potential (GWP) 84 times greater than CO2 in a 20-year time frame.

                You were crying about people bemoaning the impact of cows breathing. You were wrong.

                • @mister_monster
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                  -610 months ago

                  potential. Do you even understand what you’re citing? There are graphs in the article if words are hard. Do you know what radiative forcing is? You should read about it.

      • @meco03211@lemmy.world
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        710 months ago

        Cows fart which creates methane. Methane is a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2. Like 25x worse. Add on to that we artificially increase the bovine population by orders of magnitude than they’d naturally attain so we can consume them. They contribute a lot to climate change.

      • beaubbe
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        10 months ago

        Cows do not create carbon. They turn it into methane which is a worse form of carbon.

        The same way you can turn carbon in biomass to “lock” it from the atmosphere, you can turn it in worse forms of gas that cause even more heating like methane. The methane will turn back in CO2 form once it burns or degrade naturally (a dozen years or so) but while it is under methane form, it will make it worse, accelerating the heating effects. But even stopping all methane emissions is only a temporary solution as carbon from pool 2 keeps moving in pool 1. It may give us more time before reaching the same level of greenhouse effect but we will reach it anyway.

  • @ImplyingImplications@lemmy.ca
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    4010 months ago

    As others have pointed out, individuals are not the problem nor are they the solution. How we produce energy and manufacture goods are the issue. The corporations producing energy and manufacturing goods don’t want to change to sustainable alternatives because it will cost them money. So they’ve invented the idea of a carbon footprint to make it seem like it’s your desire for electricity that is the problem and not how they generate it.

    • quadropiss
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      1710 months ago

      Don’t say we because you’re not part of it. You’re the victim of it.

      • @SCB@lemmy.world
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        210 months ago

        You’re part of it if you use electricity or consume anything you didn’t grow in your own garden.

        Everyone likes to say “it’s the oil and gas companies” but like, no shit, we burn oil and gas, and billions of people die if we just suddenly stop.

        Corporations aren’t giggling madmen burning gas for fun. They’re shipping things across oceans and powering cars and buildings, they’re making shit you buy.

        Every single person contributes to climate change and it is by changing spending and investment habits (which is ongoing and has been for a while) that we overcome climate change.

    • @rab@lemmy.ca
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      10 months ago

      If we were actually net zero, humans would still reproduce until we aren’t anymore.

      Overpopulation is an unsolvable problem.

  • @mister_monster
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    2810 months ago

    You’re missing something: it’s all a bunch of bullshit. So in a sense it’s hopeless, but you’ve got to ask yourself why even existing makes it hopeless? Because the feeling of hopelessness you get is a lie. Someone wants you to feel like nothing is ever enough.

    I’m not saying fossil fuels are not releasing CO2 and all that, I’m not a denier. My point is only that these new ideas about your carbon footprint, that come from eating food and breathing, are absolutely ridiculous bullshit. Carbon in the carbon cycle already does not contribute to your footprint. It’s a lie to make you guilty when you didn’t do anything. Youre being gaslit.

    The only carbon that counts towards your carbon footprint are 1) fossil fuels that you consume, 2) plastics from fossil fuels that you dispose of (they may not be atmospheric carbon now, but they’ll inevitably end up in the carbon cycle) and 3) your economic choices that lead to the destruction of natural carbon sinks, such as buying palm oil or products that contain it, Brazilian beef raised on torched amazon land, etc. You should not be concerned whatsoever about breathing and eating meat if your concern is carbon output.

    • @OceanSoap@lemmy.ml
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      1110 months ago

      Yeah, most people don’t know that the carbon footprint concept was invented my BP… an oil company. Trying to push blame off them and onto the individual instead.

      • @mister_monster
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        Yeah, most people just assume you don’t believe in climate change if you disagree with any part of the narrative, it’s cult like. I believe in climate change, fossil fuels cause it and all that stuff, but I have to reassure people of that every time I talk about this because I don’t just not my head when the topic comes up, I try to think about it critically.

  • Bizarroland
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    2810 months ago

    One thing that the carbon neutral concept overlooks is that the world is perfectly capable of absorbing the carbon output of a single person.

    For average individuals we are not able to overwhelm the world with our carbon output. There is a carbon cycle and as CO2 increases in the atmosphere, plants grow faster and bring it back to a stable median.

    It is massive industrialization that has overwhelmed the capacity of the earth to absorb the excess carbon dioxide created by humankind.

    What you should do is spend your money on companies that have embraced carbon neutrality or being carbon negative, purchase items from low carbon companies, and be reasonable and responsible with your use of energy, including fuel and electricity.

    When you have opportunities to vote for environmental initiatives, you should vote for them.

    While you should be conspicuous of your carbon footprint in the environment that we have, you should also know that your ability to actually fix the issue is practically non-existent. The only thing that is going to fix the issue is government ruling that forces industries to stop polluting the environment at the rate that they are doing even if it causes our economy to decrease.

    The only way for such initiatives to ever happen is if the population becomes carbon conscious and pushes for such initiatives. If enough of us do enough then the people in power will move to come towards us and make changes that will help keep them in power.

  • @eric5949@lemmy.cloudaf.site
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    10 months ago

    Congrats, you fell for the scam. Don’t worry, we all did at one point. To be clear, I’m not saying climate change is a scam, I’m saying “it’s all your fault” is a scam.

    • @charliespider@lemmy.world
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      010 months ago

      Right, human induced climate change is real.

      To clarify further though, the blame should rest almost exclusively on the shoulders of the oil companies, and they are desperate to deflect that blame, onto anyone but them.

  • AggressivelyPassive
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    2510 months ago

    You’re not supposed to plant trees like there’s no tomorrow, but simply stop using fossil fuels. Simple as that.

    Your respiration is already net zero. Plants capture CO2 to grow, you eat the plant, breathe out CO2, plants absorb that CO2 again. You should have heard about the carbon cycle in school. If not, look it up.

    All the other emissions, the not net zero ones, are some form of fossil resource. Oil, gas, coal. You can’t reasonably offset these, you just stop using them. There’s no way around that.

    • @Kage520@lemmy.worldOP
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      810 months ago

      Yeah it just kind of clicked for me that if I eat plants, that was net zero, but if I eat meat, there was another animal that had to emit CO2 (and other gases) at the same time as me before becoming food. So the opposite of plants taking my CO2 to become food, the animal emitted CO2 while becoming food.

        • @xkforce@lemmy.world
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          10 months ago

          Directly they dont but it does take oil and gas to make the fertillizer that feeds the crops and pesticides that prevent pests from destroying entire harvests, diesel to run the farm equipment and transport the crops to market. Modern farming, even organic, is very much Carbon positive.

          • AggressivelyPassive
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            -310 months ago

            Yes, but that’s almost all by proxy. You’re not supposed to offset the CO2 you’re breathing out.

            Unless you actually eat coal.

              • AggressivelyPassive
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                010 months ago

                That’s not my point. OP was clearly talking about the CO2 of the calories themselves.

                I specifically addressed, that fossil fuels can’t be used, if you want to be carbon neutral.

                Don’t bend your mind over backwards and put words in ny mouth to prove your self-righteousness to yourself.

      • @xkforce@lemmy.world
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        610 months ago

        Those animals ate plants op. Thats not where the emissions are coming from. At least not directly. Theyre coming from all the fossil fuels that were burned to run the farms and make the fertillizer used to grow crops that you and those animals ate. And realistically most of the CO2 you emit is indirect. i.e Production and transport of products that you buy. Even just drinking water from your tap required resources to be expended to purify, chlorinate and pump to your house.

        In order to acheive a Carbon neutral or even Carbon negative economy, CO2 needs to be captured and the reality is that the steps that are needed to do this are not being taken. Industry is moving at a snail’s pace and government has made no real attempt to either facilitate or force the level of change needed.

        • @charliespider@lemmy.world
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          210 months ago

          Those animals ate plants op. Thats not where the emissions are coming from.

          Not directly, but if tons of biomass was chopped down and burned so those burgers could graze…

      • @Fondots@lemmy.world
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        110 months ago

        All life on earth is based around carbon

        Most of what we eat (which is mostly carbon) ends up being exhaled as CO2, and what we don’t and ends up as poop gets eaten by bacteria and such and turned into CO2 then (or other stuff like methane, which still ultimately ends up breaking down into co2.) We’re not taking any significant amount of carbon into our bodies from any source but our food.

        And that’s true the whole way down the food chain, all the carbon you get from eating a cow, the cow got from eating grass. If you eat, for example, a fox, the fox got it’s carbon from eating a rabbit or squirrel or whatever which in turn got it from eating acorns and carrots and such. If you eat a tuna, it got it’s carbon from a smaller fish, that got it from still smaller fish, down until you find something that’s eating plankton.

        And pretty much all of the carbon that made up that grass, oak tree, carrot, plankton, etc. came from the air, so from animals and such breathing it out.

        And it just keeps going around and around the carbon cycle.

        That’s all pretty much a self regulating cycle, you don’t really need to worry about reducing or offsetting what you’re breathing, nature takes care of that pretty well.

        The issue is that for millions of years, we’ve had a lot of carbon sequestered deep in the earth in the form of fossil fuels- coal, oil, natural gas, etc.

        That carbon has been out of the cycle for a very long time, and within the last couple of hundred years we started burning a whole lot of it, releasing it back into the atmosphere, and for a lot of reasons, our environment isn’t really able to do anything with all that extra carbon now.

        So that’s the carbon you need to worry about reducing and offsetting.

        A lot of carbon offsets take the form of planting trees. Trees do ok at carbon sequestration because trees are made of carbon, and they tend to stick around for a while. You suck a bunch of carbon out of the air, turn it into a tree, and then that carbon isn’t really going anywhere for usually years, decades, maybe even centuries depending on the species, the climate, etc. But of course we also cut down a lot of trees, so that’s kind of a Sisyphean task to plant trees faster than they’re being cut down elsewhere.

        This is also all of course a big simplification, that leaves a whole lot out for the sake of keeping things simple.

  • @lasagna@programming.dev
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    10 months ago

    The world has its own CO2 cycle so it’s not that we need to reach 0, we just need to reach a balanced emission threshold. Though at this point we will also need to aid this process with further removal.

    The issue is mostly that we are outputting too much. Shipping industries, energy production, other transport such as cars and planes. These industries are a big part of the problem and the ones fueling (e.g. oil) them are the ones most interested in your feeling of hopelessness, as then they have free reign over their actions.

    The world has and will get hotter. There will be more disasters. But it’s unlikely to be the end of civilisation. The more we act now, the fewer people will suffer.

    It’s not a hopeless cause at all. Look at our tech now vs 100 years ago. Humanity has the means to do it.

  • JackbyDev
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    1910 months ago
    1. Folks generally don’t consider offsetting their own breath, that’s extreme.
    2. The vast majority of oxygen comes from phytoplankton in the ocean.
    • @sushibowl@feddit.nl
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      1410 months ago

      Offsetting your own breath seems unnecessary. A human being does not produce CO2 out of nowhere. It comes from oxygen, which we breathe in, and carbon which we eat. The food absorbs the carbon from the atmosphere when it grows, so taken in total the whole cycle is completely carbon neutral.

      The reason CO2 concentration is increasing is because we’re digging it up from the ground and releasing it into the air. Taking CO2 from the air and then putting it back a short time later is not really an issue.

      Also, I’m really questioning OP’s numbers here. The CO2 a person produces should be absorbed by about 15 trees, from what I can find. Or is he trying to solve the global climate problem with only potted plants?

  • Mossy Feathers (They/Them)
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    1210 months ago

    You can’t. You can’t make your carbon footprint zero without a lot of money. That’s thing though. There are a lot of people who have shittons of money who could not only make your footprint zero, but help make everyone else’s footprint zero. These people, however, are often the ones who benefit from having non-zero carbon footprints. The rest are too obsessed with enriching themselves to spend the money to ensure their riches are still worth anything 20-30yrs from now.

    • @MajorMajormajormajor@lemmy.ca
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      810 months ago

      That’s why you buy a second CO2 meter and go measure at the factory the first one was built in. That way you’ll know how many trees to plant for the two CO2 meters.

  • @WhoRoger@lemmy.world
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    1110 months ago

    There’s a lot of greenery on Earth - seaweeds recycle a huge amount of CO2, as are all the plants we use and eat. It would be completely enough, especially as we keep killing off all the other animals that produce CO2.

    It’s just unfortunate that we’re destroying the oceans too, and agriculture is a heavy industry with more polution. And while we kill off the harmless or useful wild animals, we replace them with livestock, and you know where that is going.

    As individuals, we really can’t do much in this regard. I guess you can do more biking instead of driving, reusing older products, buying local, stuff like that, but this really won’t make a dent when industries keep using the dirtiest possible processes to save a cent, or if nuclear power keeps being lobbied out.

  • @cooopsspace@infosec.pub
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    1110 months ago

    Last estimate was something in the range of three trillion trees, palms are probably not the most carbon dense tree for removing CO2. But all kinds of organisms help break down CO2 including Algae.

    But don’t think that your breathing is to blame for CO2, it’s deforestagion, shipping, fossil fuels, war and bushfires are.

    Make things, buy local and travel local.

  • Nora
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    710 months ago

    Become a vegan activist and if you convince a few people to go vegan you can actually become carbon negative.

    Also plant some trees.