Our planet’s warming climate presents an imminent and catastrophic challenge that will have far-reaching economic, social, and political ramifications. As residents of a wealthy, developed nation, we contribute far more to climate change than the average global citizen; as globally connected citizens with many opportunities for air travel, we contribute far more to climate change than the average American.
For many individuals at the Media Lab, lab-related air travel represents a huge proportion of their annual greenhouse-gas emissions. For example, a single Economy Class seat on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles produces the same CO2 emissions as 4 barrels of petroleum, 59 days of powering the average home, or 110 days of driving a car. As an academic community, we believe we have a responsibility to improve the Lab's sustainability. While the most impactful solution would be to reduce air travel overall, we realize this may not be possible for research purposes.
In lieu of or in addition to reducing overall air travel, we can buy high-quality carbon offsets to neutralize the climate impact of our collective air travel. Thanks to the generous support of the Media Lab administration, we are running a six-month pilot program where we will gather lab-related travel data from the community and purchase verified carbon offsets to counteract the carbon emissions from our travel. The pilot program also intends to raise awareness about the carbon emissions impact of air travel, help the Media Lab better understand our carbon footprint, and spark a discussion about our community's climate behavior.
This is a pilot program, so please let us know how we're doing! If you have any feedback or suggestions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In particular, we welcome any thoughts and opinions on the best place to purchase carbon offsets, and are happy to have a conversation with you about the benefits and challenges of offsets as a emissions mitigation scheme!
All you need to do is log in with your MIT Media Lab Credentials, and enter your flight information for any lab-related flights you've recently taken or plan to take in the near future. Please only log flights that are lab-related (this includes travel to conferences, panels, workshops, member collaborations, and Media Lab events). If you have any questions about what travel can be offset, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
From the flight data you enter, we use APIs provided by Brighter Planet to calculate your flight's environmental impact. Then, based on that impact, we purchase offsets from Gold Standard. Offset donations are used by Gold Standard to support projects like distributing clean cooking stoves, investing in wind power plants, and regenerating forests. All Gold Standard projects both reduce carbon emissions and meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goal standards. We appreciate you taking the time to participate in this pilot program!
Carbon equivalencies are provided by the EPA.
This project was created by Caroline Jaffe, Juliana Cherston, Natasha Jaques. The website was designed and engineered by Craig Ferguson.
A special thanks to the Media Lab administration for providing the funding needed to buy carbon offsets and help save our environment.
Please email us if you have any questions or comments!