Mission Possible Carbon Neutrality by 2030


Welcome note from Neal Bawa

In May 2022, I achieved a massive milestone in my life – I became net carbon neutral for life. I strongly believe that humans are harming the planet with CO2 and methane emissions, and my own extravagant lifestyle contributes to that harm. While I have made myself feel better by installing solar panels on the roof, my data science background and math brain was telling me that this was really a drop in the bucket. A very big bucket.
So, a while ago, I started figuring out how to calculate my net carbon impact on the world. I used data from an MIT carbon study to figure out that the typical American causes a stunning 20 tons of CO2 (44,000 pounds) to be pumped into the atmosphere each year. That’s five times the world average of 4 tons, making America the most polluting nation on earth on a per capita basis. Even worse, online calculators told me that my lifestyle choices (SUV/ International travel/Big house) made me an even bigger polluter, 50% more than the typical American, so 30 tons of CO2 a year.
So, I became obsessed with figuring out how to become carbon net neutral. I studied solar panels, but they were too expensive, and at 25 years, they only have a third of my expected life expectancy. Then, I looked at trees, and hit the jackpot. One tree pulls 48 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere each year and replaces it with life giving oxygen. Certain kinds of tree pull out even more. Math told me that the typical American needed to plant 918 trees to become carbon neutral. As a mega polluter, I needed more – 1,379 trees. Trees of a certain kind.
I started to research non-profit tree planting companies in India, China, Brazil and Mexico. But the perfect solution was actually found in the state of Vermont named ONE TREE PLANTED. Their donors match donations and they partner with the U.S. forest service. Volunteers plant trees at the shockingly low cost of one dollar per tree. They also plant the right kind of trees in California and Florida and Oregon. I paid $1,379 to One Tree Planted to plant a small forest, making me net carbon neutral for life. I feel like a real burden has lifted. It doesn’t take much to save the planet. Remember, there is NO PLANet B.

“The typical American can plant 918 trees to become carbon neutral for life”

Our carbon footprint
Why Trees?

Every single one of us on the planet contributes to the damage of our planet, but it might be surprising to learn that regardless of income, the average American produces a shocking 44,000 pounds (22 tons) of carbon and methane emissions annually. That’s 5.5 times the world average of 4 tons, making America the most polluting nation on Earth on a per capita basis – everything from household emissions to daily commuting.

The numbers are even more devastating if your lifestyle choices make you a bigger polluter driving an SUV, living in a big house, or traveling frequently.

Rest assured, there are many ways we can reduce the size of our carbon footprint: solar panels, bike to work, adopt a sustainable diet, turn down your thermostat, recycle – all of which are great. But there is one way to reduce your emissions and also make the world more beautiful, improve water quality, and provide numerous economic and social benefits. The answer is planting trees!

Trees absorb carbon

Every living thing on Earth is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen which make up 96% of our body, and most of a tree’s roots, trunk, branches, and leaves.As a tree matures, it can consume 50 pounds

of carbon out of the atmosphere each year and replace it with lifegiving oxygen. Best yet, the average life of certain trees can range from 300 to 3,500 years. By planting the right trees, you can help clean the air and fight climate change for generations to come.

Trees help save energy

According to a study by Forbes, solar panels cost on average about $16,000, or between $3,500 to $35,000 depending on the type and model. While solar panels can help reduce emissions and save you money on energy costs, trees completely offset your emissions.

Since a mature tree can suck on average 50 pounds of carbon dioxide per year out of the atmosphere, it would take about 880-920 fully grown trees per person to offset the average person’s carbon emissions. And the best part? It costs only $1 to plant one tree. This brings your total tree planting investment to $880-920 compared to $16,000 on solar panels.

This reduction in energy goes a long way when it comes to shrinking your carbon footprint, because over
1/3 of U.S. carbon emissions are caused by the production of electricity.

Plant a tree today

If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and give back to the planet, trees are one of the most effective and personally beneficial ways to do it. A nicer home, a better environment, and more money in your wallet. Those are some pretty good reasons to plant a tree.

Partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, ONE TREE PLANTED is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in the state of Vermont that plants the right trees where they are needed most at only $1 per tree.


One Tree Planted is a non-profit environmental charity on a mission of global reforestation. Through their partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. State Forest and Conservation District, they are able to plant trees in many regions across the United States, including California, Florida and Oregon, for an unbelievable cost of $1 per tree.

Can I choose where to plant my trees?

Yes, you can choose from any of their tree planting projects and help to support reforestation in the United States.

This project is a 5-year, multi-state effort. Our planting partners are looking to restore forests across all Appalachian states.

With your contribution, the project will help restore areas affected by wildfires throughout the whole of California.

For this reforestation project, they will plant a mix of species to benefit Florida’s rich diversity of pine forests, wetlands and incredible ecosystems.

Supporting watersheds in Idaho will support the ecosystems of neighboring states that depend on freshwater flowing from the Rocky Mountains.

They will plant over 35 native species so that the full ecosystem is supported and degraded forests can be restored.