Tuesday, November 10, 2009


(Reproduced, with minor modifications, from the April 2007 edition of Horsley's Over the Wall magazine)

I’ve been reading in the papers about this carbon offsetting business.

It works like this. Say you want to fly to New Zealand for your summer holiday, then on top of your air fare, you pay someone to plant about 15,000 trees. Over the next 50 years the trees will patiently soak up the carbon dioxide you are about to squander on your antipodean adventure, with the result that you can enjoy your holiday in the reassuring knowledge that you are ‘on the side of the planet’.

Apparently this is big business all of a sudden.

So not to be left behind when it comes to cutting-edge ideas, we at the Omnivorist Institute have been giving the matter serious thought and, after a number of tough meetings with business types, venture capitalists and the like, we are proud to announce: the Omnivorist Carbon Offsetting Scheme.

And the good news is this: there is no need to change your lifestyle; no need to put on the hairshirt of environmental contrition, nor the heavy woollen stockings of ecological correctness.

No. Leave it to us; we at OCOS are experts at this sort of thing.

For a small fee, we will compensate for the wasteful and embarrassing excesses of your own lifestyle with carefully matched periods of indolence or discomfort undertaken by our team of professional associates.

By way of example: a cheap return flight to Lanzarote is offset, at our end, by 4 hours dozing in a hammock; for which the fee will be £50 – enabling you to come home, not just stress-free and with an impressive tan, but confident in the assurance that you are ‘carbon neutral’.

That summer evening barbecue, which might otherwise have been marred by torments of guilt, can be enjoyed with a completely clear conscience, safe in the knowledge that, for a modest outlay of £15, we have people willing to spend an uncomfortable night in the open, in a state bordering on hibernation.

So go ahead, turn up that patio heater – we have it covered.


  1. Anonymous10:39 pm

    You may have seen the cartoon strip showing a consumer seeing items displayed as 50% less carbon footprint; the next frame " That sounds really cool; I'll have two"!!

  2. Dear Sir,
    Many thanks for your request for a quotation on the cost of offsetting the transportation of two polo ponies from Gloucestershire to Perthshire
    We are delighted to offer the following:

    Baseline opportunity: Childrens fireworks party and barbecue.
    Attendees: 200
    Offsetting action: Event called off and children put to bed with no supper.
    Carbon saving: 0.65 ton
    Cost: £260 (ex VAT)

    Please indicate your acceptance by return. Offer valid for 14 days.