Women's Magazine Judges Carbon Sins

     If you want to know how to obtain carbon salvation, the September 2007 issue of Marie Claire magazine might be the publication worth reading for tips on how to avoid “carbon emissions hell” and how to not “[drown] polar bears.”


     The magazine featured a guide in its "McBulletin" section entitled "Highway to Heaven," featuring a scale of "good" and "evil" signs showing which fuel-efficient cars will keep readers out of “carbon emissions hell,” so that you can “cruise through the tollbooth at the pearly green gates."


     Those who drive a Honda Civic Hybrid or a Toyota Prius Hybrid are rewarded with "Dinner in heaven with Leonardo DiCaprio.” But those driving a Hummer, Ford Explorer or Cadillac Escalade are doomed to “carbon-emissions hell."


     The issue also featured a contest between an “urban hipster,” a “mountain maven” and a “globe-trotter” who competed to see who was the most “earth-friendly and whose carbon footprint [was] to blame for drowning polar bears and worse.” Robert Henson, author of “The Rough Guide to Climate Change,” judged the ladies’ lifestyles.


     The article, entitled “Whose Carbon Footprint is the Smallest,” found that globe-trotter “Josie,” who “considers herself more eco-conscious than most people” and who “recently earned a certificate in conservation biology from Columbia University,” had the largest carbon footprint.


     Josie eats out roughly four times a week and cringes “at all the plastic and Styrofoam containers.”


     According to Henson, “Josie’s wanderlust caused her footprint to balloon well above average.” She apparently “caught travel fever” last year and went to “China, Hong Kong, Germany Washington, Utah, Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica.”


     “I feel bad about all those trips,” said Josie.


     If Josie couldn’t curb her travel, the article said, “The next best thing is to purchase carbon offsets (you pay a company to do something green-virtuous) to assuage guilt and lighten your eco-load.”


     As the Business & Media Institute has noted, the idea of paying for carbon “sins” is a media favorite, as are other sin taxes.


     Marie Claire is published by Hearst, the publisher of Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Redbook and O: The Oprah Magazine, as well as newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.