One of the speakers at last week’s Sustainable House Expo by Tweed Shire Council was Catherine Patterson from Carbon Positive Australia. She spoke about how households can mitigate their carbon footprint by purchasing offsets, which in turn fund them to plant trees on degraded land and restore natural habitats.

Our primary purpose on this Facebook Group is to help households reduce their carbon footprint through more efficient use of energy. And yet once that good work is done we all still have a carbon footprint. Is carbon offsets a way to address this while we strive to reduce it further?

Carbon positive provide an online calculator ( to help you calculate your footprint in tonnes of CO2, and from there you can donate to offset it (@ $18 per tonne). The calculator includes everything from the food you eat, waste, vehicles and air travel. It took me about 20 minutes to complete because I wanted to be fairly accurate. I was quite surprised by the results, particularly that transport made up the lions share despite our restrained air travel this year.

Of course energy use is also a component in our carbon footprints. From last year’s energy bills I tallied up a total of 4000 kWh of imported energy (net of our solar), which is equivalent to 3.8 tonnes of carbon. But then I realised: because I get my energy from Enova Community Energy most of the energy I import during the day comes from the solar of other customers, and the rest is carbon offset by Enova. So perhaps I don’t need to include the 3.8 tonnes related to energy in my household’s offset?? 🤔

Or am I just trying to rationalise away our carbon debt?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts, including on the role/value of carbon offsetting in general.