One of the attractions of kayaking is that it is a low-impact way of exploring the wilderness. And that’s true…to an extent. Once we’re in the water, we’re totally zero emissions. But what about getting there?

We rely on vehicles, ferries, and air travel to get us to the water. We use gear that has to be manufactured and shipped–all of which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. A reality of modern life is that it’s getting harder to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

This year, my kayak school has opted to make little changes where we can to try to reduce our impact. We’re bringing in new PFDs from Astral Buoyancy that use an eco-friendly alternative to PVC for floatation. We’re buying local produce when possible for our meal planning. And, we’re offsetting the emissions we produce with our vehicle by buying emissions credits for every mile we drive.

It works like this. Before we drive out to conduct a class or lead a trip, we log onto Native Energy, enter our starting and ending points and gas mileage, and the online calculator determines exactly how much CO2 we’re contributing to the atmosphere. Then, then purchase credits that help fund clean energy initiatives elsewhere…which cancels out our emissions for the trip.

It’s a small, local effort to combat a daunting global problem. A recent blog by Derrick Mayoleth captures the seeming futility of doing the right thing in a world seemingly hell-bent on destroying itself. But as Ghandi said, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” So we do our small bit. Sometimes you need to paddle against the tide.