As you may know, at County Fair Productions we implement a number of environmentally-conscious practices both on-set and off of all of our projects. We recycle, compost, assist with donations and electronics recycling, and lots of other stuff too. But I think the most important component of our approach is the purchasing of 100% carbon offsets for every project we do. Most people have at least a couple of questions about carbon offsets, and how/why we use them- so I wanted to post a more detailed explanation of sorts. This is by no means a full explanation of every aspect of carbon credits- it's just my own personal reasons for committing County Fair to remaining 100% Carbon Balanced for the foreseeable future.
Working with Carbon Offsets requires us to calculate and quantify every single thing we do that releases carbon into the atmosphere. Of course we all know that driving cars releases lots of carbon into the atmosphere- but almost everything we do has a relatively quantifiable carbon footprint: paper usage, general purchases, utilities, the food we buy, and so on. So by applying the carbon offset method to our daily lives (and to County Fair) we're truly able to take responsibility for our individual share of carbon output. I'm not saying that we can buy our way out of our environmental responsibility- that would be inaccurate and far too easy. But the process of calculating our own carbon footprint does put a price tag on behaviors, which I think is a solid step in the right direction. There are times in life, and on set, where it's impossible to recycle something, or we need to keep a generator running even when inefficient- in these times, I'm really grateful we are at least taking those inefficiencies into account, and paying a bit extra to do so. To me, it's a realistic approach, and the very least we can do.
It's a Donation (Sort of)
The idea that a carbon offset is an exact mathematical measure is a little misleading. A carbon offset is a certificate representing the reduction of one metric ton (2,205 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions, the principal cause of climate change. At the end of the day, the carbon offsets we purchase are kind of like donations to some very environmentally-helpful, or "Emission Reduction" projects. The amount we buy depends on the amount of carbon we use. These emissions reduction projects reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in one of three ways:
- By capturing and destroying a greenhouse gas that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. An example of this is a methane gas capture project at a landfill;
- By producing energy using a clean, renewable resource that eliminates the need to produce that same energy from fossil fuels, the burning of which releases greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. An example of this is wind power; or
- By capturing and storing (or “sequestering”) greenhouse gases to prevent their release into the atmosphere. An example of this is a project that promotes the healthy growth and maintenance of forests.
Some projects entail more than one of these activities at the same time. For example, gas capture projects at landfills not only prevent the release of methane gas into the atmosphere, but they also use the captured methane to generate electricity that would otherwise be generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. It might sound complicated, but it's not. For every metric ton of carbon we use, we donate a set amount to a project that is designed to reduce our need for, or our use of, one metric ton of future carbon.
Let's face it, keeping things green in our daily lives takes diligence, sacrifice, consistency- it's difficult! Keeping things green during production adds another level of difficulty- obviously the most important thing on any shoot is simply maintaining the quality of the work produced. Most of our energy is expended simply "getting the shot". It's tough to devote a significant part of our time and energy to being environmentally conscious on set- so it has to be easy, and it has to integrate into everything else we're doing. That's why we've fine-tuned system our system to work- and it works well- but the easiest and most bulletproof commitment we have made, is the one to be 100% Carbon Offset. It allows us to put our environmental consciousness on auto-pilot when necessary, to keep things running at 100%.
To learn more about how you can offset your own carbon, visit our partners at Terra Pass, or call Nancy Bsales directly at 973-743-5374 ... and tell her hello!