Worried about your wedding's carbon footprint? You're not alone. Here's Stellar to give some advice on how you can calculate and offset the environmental impact of your party.
There are a great many carbon offset calculators out there… but there's more to a wedding than just energy consumption, flights, cars, and hotels. There's also all the STUFF, and food, and waste, and, and, and…
By DIYing almost everything, I'm able to significantly keep the costs down on waste, and source sustainable and local materials as much as possible. I've been working with our hall to have our meals be locally sourced whenever possible, and am trying to organize a donation of our leftover food to a local shelter. I'm paying a little extra to have the equivalent of our energy usage at the hall added to our local power grid from 100% renewable sources (wind/hydro mix vs. the nuclear/coal/whateverwhatever mix that the regular energy companies use). My invites and all paper products so far have been through a local printer that I can walk to for pick-up on post consumer waste and Forest Stewardship Council certified paper stock.
I've narrowed down the offset providers I will purchase from to either Less or Planetair. Both are Canadian-based selling certified Gold Standard offsets to invest in renewable energy projects in under-developed countries. I'm leaning towards Less because they post their audits publicly, and follow all the UN frameworks developed, including offset registry. Planetair also has projects that are Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism certified, but not all are.
The tricky part, though, is finding a tool to calculate the carbon. Really, how do you calculate that!?
I've found three so far, but only one seems suitable.
- Covers: flights, car travel, hotel stays. Calculates average distances, total hotel nights, with option for “upscale” hotel.
- Does not calculate: anything else, like food sourcing, waste, energy consumption, decorations, etc.
- Same calculations as Carbon Fund, but with a bit more options regarding flight differentiations (short, medium, long), but no differentiation for upscale hotels, and car distances are also average.
- Also does not calculate anything else.
- BY FAR the most inclusive calculator for weddings!
- Covers: electricity use, natural gas use (based on sq. feet), driving by number of cars/average distance, flying by four length categories, bus trips, hotels by average/upscale and average nights, paper use by sheet and percent of recycled content, flowers, catering, waste generated, AND honeymoon calculator!
Wow. That's almost everything. Of course, it's all an imperfect science, and of course, the best way to offset the carbon cost of having a wedding is to just not have it, or at least, not have it at the scale I am. I can only hope that when my parents realize the environmental cost of this Big Fat 400 Guest Wedding, and they follow through with their agreement to contribute to the environmental programs of my choice in lieu of favours and as the compromise for me going along with their imposed size of it, that they think twice before insisting upon an event so big in the future.
Plus, it gives me the opportunity to teach the few willing guests about the impact they make on the environment! We're probably all screwed anyway, but a little change can still go a long way. 🙂