What is Carbon Neutrality?

The average North American produces over 22 metric tons (24.25 US short tons) of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) each year just living a normal life; driving their car, running their home air conditioning or heater, using their frequent flyer miles or just sitting and watching television. Most forms of energy we use produce CO2 gas, the culprit that is contributing the global warming.

In order to be carbon neutral, you as an individual must calculate the amount of CO2 you produce each year and offset that in some way.

Some persons elect to adopt stringent lifestyles installing solar panels, reducing the fuel they consume by purchasing fuel efficient cars and appliances, shutting down the lights after a certain time each night, lowering or raising the thermostat in the house, limiting the number of miles driven and other energy saving measures - all of which are very admirable and a good way to reduce your overall CO2 emissions.

However, this alone will not make you Carbon Neutral. You will still use some fuel or electricity or in some way be responsible for the production of CO2. Even if you burn wood for a fire to cook food, you are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and need to offset this to be Carbon Neutral.

What we advocate at the Tropical Sierra Foundation is for each individual and Corporation to take responsibility for the CO2 they produce. Yes, please do what you can to reduce your consumption if you so choose. At least this will make the fuel supplies last longer and the pollution levels lower while alternatives for cleaner ways to power things are found.

However, a much more practical way to handle the CO2 problem is planting trees to offset what a normal lifestyle produces. In this way you are guaranteed to eat up the CO2 you are producing. If everyone did this, the planet would eventually be rid of all the CO2 produced by human activity and the global warming issue would likely be a thing of the past.

How YOU can be Carbon Neutral

The first question would be: so how many trees do I need to plant to offset my CO2? Good question! Some prefer to just adopt the standard and say: well the average CO2 produced by a North American is 22 metric tons and an average tree planted in the tropics offsets 0.82 tons of CO2 over 20 years so let’s do the math:

22 tons divided by 0.82 tons per tree = 26.82 trees (round it up to 27 trees)*

*Note: This is an average based on species planted in a dry tropical forest area of Costa Rica.

Over 20 years, these 27 trees in the tropics would convert 22 metric tons of CO2. The average North American would be Carbon Neutral.

If you would like to plant any number of trees to help offset your CO2 production, visit our tree planting page.

If, on the other hand you would like to calculate more precisely the exact number of trees you need to offset your personal CO2 production, you can always use our CARBON CALCULATOR

We hope this explanation about Carbon Neutrality has been helpful to you. For more information about CO2 emissions, we invite you to visit these helpful, educational links. But please don’t forget to plant some trees. And tell your friends too! Practicing Carbon Neutrality can help make this planet a much better place to live.


How many tons of CO2 does your car produce?





CO2 Emissions by Country


World Energy Consumption & CO2 Emission Chart


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