No matter what size your car is, it is doing some damage to the environment. The burning of fuel (atmospheric pollution), the use of resources (oil, tyres, etc), use of roads which have a footprint on the earth leading to all sorts of direct and indirect impacts, etc. Often we don't think about these things, particularly the less obvious resources, but recently I thought that I should at least do something about the impact my car was having on the atmosphere.There are a number of companies that can now assist you to do this. Basically they offer to "offset" your emissions by planting trees which will "inhale" the emissions you put into the air when you drive around!
I previously had Greenfleet offset my car's emissions. At the time they were undertaking tree planting in Victoria. This is a good cause, even though I live in Queensland because there are a lot of areas within Victoria that need to be have tree re-planting done because of the significant amount of vegetation that has been cleared from these areas since white settlement. I was happy enough with the service Greenfleet provided, they gave me a sticker and a certificate telling me how many trees they were planting and that I was offsetting my car's emissions for the year. At the time it was a standard fee for your vehicle no matter what size your car was (for example, whether it was a little, economical, zippy car or whether it was a petrol guzzling V8 or large four-wheel drive).
Since I last signed up and paid my dues, there has been a boom in this market and there are a number of companies that will offset your emissions and some of them don't even offer to re-plant trees as your emission compensation process. There is also a significant rise in the price of these private purchase carbon offsets. This time round I decided I would "try-out" the new Ecofund. This is a Queensland government initiative (not sure whether it is going to remain as a government-owned organisation or not). I felt that it would provide me with some "solutions" closer to home. Ecofund offers a carbon offset service by increasing the amount of national park in the Queensland protected area estate. Presently I can't seem to find anything that calculates my offset directly (ie the amount of national park I have basically purchased for the small amount of money that I have contributed to this 'program') and I certainly haven't received any official acknowledgement of them receiving my funds (except for the electronic banking receipt). But I will stick it out at least a year and see if I feel better about using my little car around the suburbs and my assistance in increasing the amount of national park here in Queensland.