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Q: Carbon-Neutral Wedding ( No Answer,   27 Comments )
Subject: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
Category: Science
Asked by: noelsemple1-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 06 Oct 2006 13:36 PDT
Expires: 05 Nov 2006 12:36 PST
Question ID: 771378
I'm getting married next summer, and would like to avoid causing
environmental degradation in doing so.  How should I go about
calculating and offsetting the impact?  Presumably the guests'
airplane flights are a big item, but what else needs to be considered?
 Do I need to consider environmental impacts other than greenhouse gas
emissions?  What organizations (preferably in the Toronto area) can do
the calculations and sell me the appropriate credits?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: knowitall22-ga on 06 Oct 2006 14:06 PDT
Do not allow your guests to fart. (Methane...extemely dangerous.)
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: pinkfreud-ga on 06 Oct 2006 14:17 PDT
Marriage licenses are made from cut-down trees. No license.

Diamonds are made from carbon, and are politically incorrect. No ring.

Wedding dresses are made from synthetic fibers (chemicals!) or from
natural fibers (enslaved silworms! exploited cotton-pickers!)

Seriously, if you are encouraging guests to fly cross-country, are you
truly all that concerned about "environmental degradation"?
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: keystroke-ga on 06 Oct 2006 14:30 PDT
I agree with Pinkfreud--

the main degradation will be caused by the flights your guests will be
taking across the country. Unless you're having a truly unique event,
I can't think of anything else that would significantly contribute to
emissions. Cars do not have nearly the impact of airplanes. It is good
that you're concerned about this, however.

I would suggest the best way for you to offset this is to make a large
donation to an environmental fund dealing with carbon emissions and
work to help the environment in other small ways that add up, such as
using flourescent light bulbs.

Here is a fascinating article in the Economist on the subject of
aircraft emissions:
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: steph53-ga on 06 Oct 2006 15:42 PDT
Is this for real?????

No flying???

Oh sheesh, what next?

Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: redhoss-ga on 06 Oct 2006 16:05 PDT
No smoking either.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: barneca-ga on 06 Oct 2006 16:42 PDT
to be fair to poor ganged-up-on noelsemple1-ga, carbon-neutral does
not mean no flying, no driving, no paper licenses, etc.  it means that
you offset the carbon introduced into that air due to these activities
by planting trees, paying someone else not to fly, etc.  some people
contribute to organizations like keystroke mentions.  or, 99% of the
time, you do what noelsemple1-ga inplies, and deal with a non-profit
or for-profit organization that does the calculations and offsetting
for you.

you can disagree whether this is necessary or good or worthwhile, but
it isn't as ridiculous as some seem to be implying.  at least it's
voluntary, and free-market based, instead of manadatory and

i suspect that airline travel has such a large carbon footprint that
everything else is just noise in the system, and can reasonably be
ignored.  i've never felt compelled to deal with this stuff myself, so
i don't know who does it, but take a look at the ads google placed
above and below your question; it looks like does
something like this.

congratulations on your engagement.

Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: myoarin-ga on 06 Oct 2006 17:00 PDT
And no big dinner with cooked food, especially a warm buffet with cans
of sterno under the hot dishes, nor an amplified band for dancing that
wastes electricity  - but that is all right, if you can assure
yourself that it is produced by water power.
Theoretically, you shouldn't serve destilled drinks  - more energy - 
but I expect the stuff will be produced anyway.

"Enslaved silkworms":  it is much worse, they kill the poor little
critters in boiling water.  The rustle of a silk wedding dress is the
ghostly death cries of thousands of silkworms.

Invite the guests to join the celebration by email and to attend by
watching the live or canned event on the net.  Be generous and suggest
they only send half the price of the expenses saved by not flying as a
wedding gift.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: knowitall22-ga on 06 Oct 2006 17:53 PDT
Even better: cancel the engagement/wedding. A ton of money will be
saved, there will be no environmental damage, and the odds are in your
favor. Most marriages fail, or should have.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: barneca-ga on 06 Oct 2006 18:20 PDT
jesus, what is with you people tonight?  it's like lord of the flies. 
one or two people make snide comments, and suddenly it's
pile-on-the-newbie night?  if noelsemple1-ga was:

-asking "akshfkjhfkjsdhj keasasasasdfd"
-asking you to do his homework for him
-being a jerk

then i could understand it, but this is a simple, politely-asked,
rational question.

noelsemple1-ga, i don't know about everyone here, but i've lurked here
long enough to know that pinkfreud, myoarin, and steph53 are normally
much kinder, nicer and wiser than i am.  i hope that when whatever
this is wears off, you'll get a thoughtful, well-researched answer.

until then, keystroke had a good idea.  and by searching for "toronto
carbon neutral" in google, i found the following sites that might be

google it yourself and you might find others.

Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: markvmd-ga on 06 Oct 2006 20:44 PDT
Ah, dedicated greenie Noelsemple1, just plan and enjoy your wedding
and make a commitment to not pollute in the future. Buy efficient
cars, homes, and appliances; eat right, exercise, and take up sailing;
work toward banning land mines, depleted uranium ammunition, and the
designated hitter rule; and encourage others to have few (or zero)
children, though you should be blessed with plenty of them.

Most important of all, solum potestis prohibere ignes silvarum.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: nelson-ga on 06 Oct 2006 20:49 PDT
What are thye airlines making a special flight just for your guests? 
Sheesh, you are just going way to far.  Stop breathing.  You're
creating carbon dioxide.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: hedgie-ga on 06 Oct 2006 21:23 PDT
I disagree with Pinkfreud:
 "Diamonds are made from carbon, and are politically incorrect."

   Diamond preserve carbon in the form which does not allow carbon to
get into the atmosphere. No sensible person would burn diamonds.

   So, I recommend lot of diamonds.  Wedding gifts list should be setup at a 
local jeweller who offers on-line sales.

With help of a simple webcam you can pioneer internet weddings : 

Guests stay home and watch the wedding on a screen and send gratulations
over internet - a  like during a web conference:

If that would be adopted, you would really make a contribution.

Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: borisshah-ga on 07 Oct 2006 00:42 PDT
do it in your mind? that way nothing gets used up. No paper, ring,
dress, relatives and friends flying over. Just remember the last movie
that you watched which had a wedding in it and insert you, your loved
one and your guests and enjoy. Hopefully, the cost and degredation
will only be a lot of breaths. You may now kiss the bride.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: frde-ga on 07 Oct 2006 00:51 PDT
While the conventional answer is to offset Carbon emissions by planting trees
- there is a wrinkle

Water vapour is a potent greenhouse gas - and trees evaporate water

Personally I consider this stuff is just scare mongering, our CO2
contribution is trivial compared with natural emissions, one good
volcano offsets years of human activity.

We might have a future problem with rising sea levels, if so it makes
sense to watch for it, but faffing around making Chicken Little noises
is utterly pointless.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: myoarin-ga on 07 Oct 2006 03:06 PDT
In defense of Pinkfreud, Steph53 and myself, our comments were not
unkind, perhaps not entirely serious, but Pinky's pointed in the right
direction:  avoid environmental degradation rather than assuage one's
conscience by paying for "appropriate credits".
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: probonopublico-ga on 07 Oct 2006 09:26 PDT
Noel, I have a proposal that solves EVERYTHING:

Use plastic flowers for the occasion ...

They are very low maintenance and last forever!

I submit that the one-time cost of plastic (in terms of environmental
emissions) will be less than the equivalent lifetime cost of the
natural products with all their maintenance requirements.

If anyone wants to call me 'Genius', I won't object.

Oh yes, and Best Wishes to you and your bride on the upcoming nuptials.

Who, by pulling it all together, has now made everything possible
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: alienontoe-ga on 08 Oct 2006 07:12 PDT
Excellent question. Part of your solution may involve setting up a
charitable registry, instead of a traditional gift registry. A site
called the I Do foundation allows you to invite your guests to donate
on your behalf to environmental organisations including:
Amazon Watch 
EarthRights International 
Center for Health, Environment and Justice 
Earth Conservation Corps 
Rainforest Alliance 
Trees for Life

Consider the unnecessary resources wasted in gifts and their
packaging, if you feel you're already rich enough.

In terms of dresses, suits and rings, consider going vintage!
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: qed100-ga on 10 Oct 2006 08:04 PDT
I've never been a fan of large weddings. I consider them to be
wastefully expensive considering the very short time -perhaps just a
single day at most- that the bride, groom & guests get to indulge. All
that money would be much better spent investing in your future
wellfare, such as buying a house, or just starting off debt-free.

But it's still your decision. You just need to decide once & for all
what your priorities are. If what you want most is lots of guests,
then go for it. If you're dedicated to minimizing your impact upon the
ecology, then have a small wedding.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: dops-ga on 10 Oct 2006 14:09 PDT
I'm assuming the comment by hedgie is toungue-in-cheek and not a
display of complete ignorance.

Why bother with the wedding at all? I think the whole wedding display
is an exercise in excess. Ride your bike down to the court-house and
have a civil ceremony. You can then take the money you've sved and
donate it to your favorite environmental group. In this way you can
make a difference and not just maintain the status-quo.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: ericpa-ga on 17 Oct 2006 04:42 PDT
Travel is very probably responsible of 95% of carbon emissions of your
wedding. Thus, calculating the emissions due to, for instance, food,
will be very time consuming and probably won't change the range of
magnitude of the result(you can try and see by yourself if you want to
be sure !).

I run Climat Mundi (, with English version
available)a French company specisalized in carbon offsetting, and we
propose a pack for a carbon neutral wedding, which we estimated around
10 t CO2 (for 150 persons at the party, driving from not too far
distances (we are in France, not in USA, and distances are smaller
!!), a long haul flight for the just married couple, and food and
drink for the party).

Nevertheless, we are not base near Toronto. For a organisation based
near Toronto, I would recommand Offsetters (
: They are closer.

Have a nice wedding !

Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: adaptordie-ga on 18 Oct 2006 13:55 PDT
Go to, a Canadian carbon offsets website.  The site has
an emissions calculator for airline flights as well as links to
several other reputable sites offering general emissions calculators. 
You should be able to use a combination of these tools to figure out
an approximate amount of carbon produced by your event.  You, or your
wedding guests, can then purchase carbon offsets through the website. 
The money goes towards alternative energy and reforestation projects
that either reduce carbon emissions or help to sequester carbon in
biomass (trees).  The projects used to offset carbon emissions in are also credible and measurable.  The project was
initiated by a group of professors and researchers at UBC.

Another bonus is that Westjet has partnered with Offsetters to pay for
the carbon offsets caused by its flights.  To take advantage of this,
you must book flights through the link provided on the
website.  Very cool!

Other commentators are correct: the flights are by far the biggest
source of carbon emissions.  Another important area to consider is
your catering.  Average distance that food travels from farm to table
is about 2500km.  You can greatly reduce the environmental impact of
your wedding by working with a caterer who sources locally-grown,
organic food.

I applaud your efforts and hope this information was helpful!
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: noelsemple1-ga on 20 Oct 2006 10:25 PDT
Many thanks to all the helpful commenters.  I've learned a lot from this!  -Noel
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: greenarchitect-ga on 20 Oct 2006 12:28 PDT
This is not difficult.
Ignore the neo-con idiot comments.

There are many good measures that couples can take with regard to a
carbon neutral wedding. My fiance and I have just begun to plan our
carbon neutral wedding. Here are some of our ideas so far, and we've
just begun:

1. Choose a location that reduces travel for the most guests.
2. Buy carbon credits for those who fly.
3. Request as wedding gifts, donations to environmental organizations.
4. Hire a caterer who only uses organic food.
5. Choose not to serve red meat.
6. Get married at a "green" venue; a place that supports sustainability
7. If you use plastic utensils, buy the soy based biodegradable products.
8. Get serious & calculate your CO2 emissions, so people take you seriously.
9. Educate your guests about the wedding being carbon neutral.
10. Email invitations instead of paper.
11. Use 100% recycled paper products.
12. Divert 100% of all trash from landfills through recycling.
13. If you buy diamonds, make sure they are Conflict-Free.
14. Hire businesses that practice sustainable principles internally.
15. Register for "green" products.
16. Transport your guests from their hotels with a shuttle.

Good luck.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: nelson-ga on 22 Oct 2006 18:25 PDT
The whole concept of carbon credits sounds like total bullshit.  Who
comes up with this crap?
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: frde-ga on 22 Oct 2006 23:28 PDT
Well said Nelson-ga

The whole thing is a fabricated scare that is being used to beat
people round the head.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: answerfinder-ga on 03 Nov 2006 07:23 PST
Not quite what you asked for but this may interest you.
Subject: Re: Carbon-Neutral Wedding
From: billcollins-ga on 03 Nov 2006 08:39 PST
the idea that you can somehow 'offset' CO2 emissions from fossil fuels
is  very marie antoinette. Take the idea of forest sequestration, can
you really claim responsibility for the CO2 absorbing effect of a
patch of land, when there is clearly not enough land on earth for
everone to do this? If you really want a carbon-neutral wedding, then
cut out the flights and the road trips. Stop being like al gore,
flying around the place like as if there is no tomorrow, and meanwhile
telling everyone about how is going to save the planet. Destroy the
planet if you want, but don't be all eco-friendly as you are doing it.
Now, who is for some cake??

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