I’ve already mentioned that I’m not sure about Carbon Offsetting. There are a few too many ifs and buts in an approach that above all seems to allow people to assuage their consciences by spending money, although as the overall philosophy of this site is that every step taken helps, I would not go as far a discouraging people from using carbon offsetting if they choose. It’s just not my personal solution.
For those who aren’t sure, or if you simply want a good laugh, I thoroughly recommend a visit to Cheatneutral. Built by people who feel that Carbon Offsetting is a total cop-out, this satirical web site proposes the same approach but for those who are in a relationship and have cheated or wish to cheat! The concept is simple: every time you cheat, you make a donation to CheatNeutral - the princely sum of £2.50 - and this money is paid to someone who has volunteered to offset your cheating by remaining faithful to their partner.
OK, it’s based on one idea, and maybe it will get tired after a while, but right now it seems to be getting a fair amount of attention and therefore doing the important job of generating a fair amount of awareness. They claim 65,768 people have offset their cheating to date. That’s revenue of £164,420 if it’s true! They have also had some good coverage in the papers on tv and on the radio.
The only problem I have with the concept is that whilst the message is good, they don’t really offer a clear alternative, and they are not strong enough in their call to action. Firstly the money paid by people is passed on to ‘Offset companies in the voluntary Carbon Market’ - I thought they didn’t believe in offsets. Secondly, whilst they provide a few links, they don’t really push visitors to do something more positive to reduce their CO2 emissions.
So do go and see CheatNeutral, and do watch the short film. It’s an excellent idea, a great piece of web marketing. The only pity is that what is potentially a well distributed message with the power to make a difference does not go far enough. Potentially thousands of visitors are coming to the site….. and then going no further.