Offsetting is the practice of paying for an environmentally beneficial process in one place in order to balance environmental harm done elsewhere. It can be a powerful tool, but it’s also controversial. How do we know, for instance, whether the good we’re funding is in fact equal to the damage we’re doing? What if that damage is severe and permanent — for example, the destruction of a natural wetland and the extinction of the species which live there — and the new good provided (say, an artificial wetland) simply cannot balance out the damage done? What if the idea that we can offset our actions leads us, in a process similar to energy rebounds, to actually do more harm than we otherwise might have? What if, in short, offsetting doesn’t work?
WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: Designing Away The Problems of Offsetting
Designing Away The Problems of Offsetting