Instead of attacking offsetting we need to attack the idea there is a solution to begin with. Many people that attack offsetting deny there is a carbon trap and path dependencies. They want to enjoy some of the benefits of capitalism but attack capitalism. These incongruities are everywhere and they have to do with the underlying narrative of growth but also degrowth. It is clear growth cannot be greened much but the environmental movement says it can and dramatically. Growth cannot be greened except around the margins. Degrowth cannot be green either at least in how many believe. If you degrowth a system you introduce abandonment, dysfunction, and irrational forces of destructive change. This is a dirty process and much is lost. There will also be constructive forces but not enough to offset the destructive change. In the current world that is carbon trapped and path dependent dramatic degrowth cannot work. In a world in overshoot with population and consumption degrowth cannot avoid causing widespread pain.
Degrowth is an endgame of decline and collpase. It is likely the only way forward so if it is chosen then it will need to be strictly managed unless the decision is made to disenfranchise large amounts of people quickly which is very dangerous. Species survivability is directly related to the degree and duration of a shock. Systems bifurcate and their productivity craters when destructive change is introduces. Offsetting is one way within the trap that is “on the margin” constructive change. It may fail to do what it is meant to do but the reality is offsetting is something. This decline process is only going to be manage around the margins. If acceptance is front and center part of this process of decline then real change can be accomplished but the change is still decline, poverty, and pain. There is no way to avoid these things
Currently growth and degrowth with constructive and destructive change is operating together. There are many positive and negatives of both processes. It takes acceptance of decline to properly manage both. Instead the policy with both growthers, degrowthers, and environmental new dealers is denial of decline and collapse. Of course, many are in acceptance of decline but they have to hide their true beliefs for reason of policy or affiliation. If a prominent environmentalist admits to decline and failure then he will have to join a new group. This polarization is everywhere. If you are a collapsenik you are regulated to the fringe of the discussion. You are treated as a nutter in many circles.
Offsetting is one way to get something done that allows constructive growth to mitigate destructive growth. Degrowthers can use it effectively by using growth to leave growth. There is a surreal degree of relativity here. Entropic decay and decline must be mitigated with growth but it requires more. The more is the behavioral shift of failure ahead. It is the crew of the sinking ship shifting from damage control to dropping lifeboats and administering palliative care for those who will not find space on the life boats. The ship’s crew is doing something not nothing so they are using activity to prepare for loss.
For you as an individual you can go local with a proper scale and embrace acceptance of decline. Embrace what the planet is showing us. The planet will support you. This happens by joining the planet’s force. The top is growth dependent and growth trapped. The top is not going to change until it is too late. Nor can it change much without cascading failures. These will come eventually anyway.
In the meantime, as an individual you can green prep. Green prepping is embracing resilience and sustainability in relative decline. Utilize growth to leave it. Downsize with dignity by embracing the spiritual wealth that comes from the truth. Meaning is a motivator even faced with the ugly truth. Declining into localism is where the green comes in. Relocate with both people and place. The wrong people are as bad as the wrong place. If you can’t then make your stand by fortifying so when the bad comes you at least have made your peace with it. If you can then create your doomstead. Find a community that can come together in positive change within forces of destructive change. The planet shows us this can be done. Succession frees up local niches that allow growth within overall destructive change of a complexed system. Embrace the way of the planet and it will assist you.
“Sometimes you really need to take a flight. Even though you are all-too aware of the toll that flying exerts on the environment. If only there were a way to make up for that damage, to get along in this economy without doing harm. This dilemma between environmental and economic necessities is what environmental offsetting attempts to solve. The basic premise behind offsetting is intuitive and appealing: that you can counteract a loss with a gain. Environmental offsetting schemes have been widely adopted by governments and corporations over the last three decades, most commonly in the form of carbon or biodiversity offsets, which seek to counteract carbon emissions and habitat loss, respectively, by investing in environmentally beneficial projects. They operate in many different forms and at different scales, from the little check box that lets you offset the emissions of your flight, to multinational forestry projects funded by mining and oil companies. Offsetting’s appeal is in its simplicity, allowing us to redress some of the harm done by our activity on the planet without throwing too big a wrench in the economy, but this same simplicity is also its downfall. While offsetting projects can include worthwhile environmental work, the very idea of like-for-like exchange is premised on a logic that falls short in the face of the unique ecosystems and meaningful places that make up the world we live in. This is a world that is much more complicated, dynamic, and alive than what is accounted for by offsetting schemes.”