Graduate with Zero Carbon Debt!

Congratulations to the Class of 2013 for graduating with zero carbon debt!! Image via Microsoft Clip Art.
I’m sure you don’t need anyone else to tell you that college graduates these days are entering the “real world” with no shortage of student loan debt. But there’s another type of debt that many graduates and institutions of higher education (and almost all other institutions for that matter) incur:  carbon debt.

As an aside, I thought I was really clever and came up with the term carbon debt all on my own but then I googled it and…Oxford, the world’s most trusted dictionaries, even has a definition. Carbon debt is a thing! Just to make sure that you, Oxford and I are on the same page, carbon debt is “the imbalance between the carbon footprint of a particular country, group, person, etc., and any carbon offsetting that has been agreed or undertaken to counteract this.” In simpler terms, if you have carbon debt, you and your lifestyle choices produce more CO2 than your environment uses.

But don’t get upset! Don’t get discouraged! Carbon debt is easily relieved! You can drive less, eat local and lower on the food chain and plant some trees. And, you can invest in carbon offsets!

NWF Campus Ecology and Foundation are partnering to offer premium pricing to campuses looking to offset their carbon emissions. Click the photo to visit the NWF page.
NWF Campus Ecology and the Foundation are partnering to offer campuses an affordable carbon offset opportunity that will:

  1. Help your campus achieve carbon neutrality
  2. Finance climate projects in three different categories
    1. Renewable energy and methane
    2. Energy efficiency and carbon credits
    3. Reforestation and avoided deforestation
  3. Support NWF Campus Ecology programming

If carbon offsets make you feel like that vegetarian who eats bacon in secret, rest assured that all offset projects are third-party verified, certified and audited. Carbon offsets are the perfect way to account for emissions resulting from events (sports games and, ahem, graduation ceremonies) and travel, and can be a bridge between the present and your campus’s self-supplying energy future as it builds that infrastructure. Investing in’s innovative offset projects–landfill methane gas-to-energy conversion operations in the northeast, reforestation along the banks of the Mississippi River and truck stop electrification across the country– is something your campus can do while continuing to increase energy efficiency and building its own, on-site renewable energy portfolio.

So here’s an idea for that graduation check from your great-uncle Harry:  how about you invest it (or at least part of it, because let’s be real, graduating from college requires a bit of cash in the “celebration” fund) in a climate action project so you can graduate knowing that the CO2 emitted throughout your college career is being absorbed by climate-smart projects throughout the country and even the world. Better yet, pay a visit to the Commencement Committee, and ask them to look into offsetting your graduation ceremony.

If you have questions about offsets on your campus, email NWF Campus Ecology’s resident carbon offset expert, Kristy Jones at

And most of all, HAPPY GRADUATION!! We wish we could sign all of your yearbooks personally with our soy ink pens, but just know that we have loved working with you! Best of all, this isn’t goodbye! Be sure to stay in touch by joining the NWF Emerging Leaders Initiative, which supports recent grads and young professionals (that’s you!) as they embark on careers in the environmental and conservation fields. The Emerging Leaders Initiative offers opportunities such as fellowships, leadership skills and professional development training, networking and more!

Keep in touch!


The NWF Campus Ecology Team

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