Post archive – by topic

Entries in life (19)


Personal carbon offsetting 2017


I’m buying Gold Standard offsets from South Pole Group now. If you want to offset your own emissions, try estimating them using the EPA’s Australian Greenhouse Calculator. Then use the South Pole Group website to buy credits – ideally Gold Standard, but Verified Carbon Standard are probably also fine.

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Carbon Pricing: It Works, Bitches (redux)

Updated on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 10:55 by Registered CommenterMCJ

I dragged the sign out for yesterday’s climate change rallies, and while I wasn’t parading it as prominently as in 2011, pictures of me ended up online again. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

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Economics for five-year-olds

My neighbour’s daughter asked what my job was. “I’m an economist,” I replied.
“What’s that?”

Normally I tell people that economists think about cost and benefits; the demand and supply of goods and services. I tell them we want to maximise ‘utility’, but since we can’t measure it directly or ask people, we watch what people do instead (e.g. in markets) and use prices (money) as a proxy for utility.

From there, I explain that my field – environmental economics – is about valuing things that don’t have markets, e.g. the environment. If they’re really paying attention, I may even talk about externalities.

My neighbour’s daughter, however, is five. She doesn’t understand markets, or utility, or costs and benefits in an abstract sense. So I was stumped.

Months later, I’ve got a good answer:

An economist figures out how to share things so that everyone can be as happy as possible.

You’re welcome.


More Personal Carbon Offsetting

A year ago I looked into offsetting my GHG emissions from, and detailed my experiences with First Climate.This month I wanted to repeat the process, but for a smaller volume of offsets. This made First Climate, with whom I was otherwise happy, inconvenient, as, to quote them:

the reality is that our key focus in the Australian market is at the corporate/wholesale level and as such we are unable to provide alternatives for transactions via our Frankfurt trading desk, which can only be achieved via international bank transfers.  As you highlighted this obviously presents a problem for retail buyers seeking to make purchases of less than $500 which fail to trigger the threshold for most banks.

I believe that it would be best if in these circumstances we refer you directly to our retail channel partner The Carbon Reduction Institute (, who is more than capable and willing to assist in this regard.  CRI are recognised as one of the best carbon offset retailer in the Australian market.

I called the CRI, registered my intent to purchase six tonnes of offsets, and waited for a call-back. After a week, I chatted with a bloke I play football with who happens to work at the CRI, and a few days later he took over my query.

The easiest way to purchase offsets from The Carbon Reduction Institute is via their online calculator:

Though the CRI essentially just deal with First Climate, they won’t sell Gold Standard Verified Emission Reductions under volumes of ~100t. However, the will sell Verified Carbon Standard offsets. The differences – and more about the CRI’s offsets – are explained in this guide [PDF]; also useful is Carbon Offset Watch’s independent rankings of offset providers.

I wasn’t as impressed with the CRI as I was with First Climate. Next time I’ll probably try Climate Friendly, as they sell Gold Standard VERs.


Martial Naming

I used to think the kids who called me “Martin the Martian” were idiots, but given Martin’s provenance from the Roman god of war, Mars, and that god’s association with the blood-red planet, I guess it was an etymologically perfectly valid association.

Not that they knew that. Jerks.


Still Not Famous

Today, on Twitter:

GemmaBajgar1409: Oi, follow me ? :) I’m aussie to. :L hehehe. I’ll follow back.

Me: Yeah, that’s not how this works. Be interesting, then I’ll follow you.

GB: lame.

Me: *shrug* it works for me. How is propositioning random people going?

GB: no idea what that word means. :L how’d you get so many follower’s. You’re not even famous. :L

I’m still wiping the tears off my keyboard.


Adelaide Conversations

I was in Adelaide for a dance event, and perhaps it’s the proximity to Hindley St – which is replete with strip clubs, massage parlours, and pokies venus – but the event courses with stories of encountering seedy types at night or seeing drunk girls urinating in the gutter. This year’s highlight story was the “Adelaide in a nutshell” sighting of a girl in a tight dress vomiting in the driveway of a church in the early evening.

My own experiences with the locals were less putrid, but still a little disturbing. On Sunday afternoon I sat outside the Adelaide College of the Arts on a bench with other dancers and munched a muesli bar. A greasy-haired young man with stained Fila tracksuit pants, beaten-up runners, and fading pimples came and sat next to me. He was clearly not a dancer; rather, he was the type of fellow retail staff keep their eye on if they spot him entering the premises, just in case.

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In the Heat of the Moment

My old toaster functions as well now as it did when I bought it. But heating is only a portion of what a toaster has to do. It also, at some point, has to stop.

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Empirics vs. appearance

“Is this really too heavy for you to carry?”

 - “Yes.”


 - “Yes.”

“… did you even try lifting it?”

 - “No. But it looked heavy.”


POWERLESS: A Play in One Act


In front of the office printer.


Your Intrepid Hero;


A Colleague;


The Printer



“Martin, the printer does not work.”


(Striding purposefully past, flicks power switch without missing a beat.)