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Arts & Science Program

First-year Arts & Science Capstone Project: Aarani Selvaganesh

Aarani Selvaganesh

Aarani Selvaganesh

Winter 2024 Capstone Project Title: ‘Carbon Neutralitree’: A Critical Evaluation of Forestation Carbon Offsetting Initiatives

Project Description: Carbon offsetting allows people to invest in a greenhouse gas reducing initiative in order to reduce their carbon footprints, and it has become an increasingly popular response to climate change. For my project, I evaluated whether forestation carbon offsetting initiatives are a sustainable response to climate change by considering their environmental, economic, and social impacts. I found that they are an impractical response due to weak carbon accounting policies, perpetuating food insecurities for communities surrounding the initiative, inaccurate carbon measurement systems, and minimal impacts on the environment.

The 1C06 Capstone experience: I chose to do my capstone about carbon offsetting since I wanted to learn more about the efficacy of the current efforts toward mitigating the worsening climate crisis. Carbon offsetting has been increasing in popularity as the ideal response to climate change, which made me curious about its claims. I really enjoyed working on my capstone project since I got to learn more about the offsetting industry and the climate crisis, and also got the opportunity to share my findings with my peers through the poster presentations.

Key learnings: Through the capstone process, I learned how to craft a research question and respond to it, while also considering the complexities of the challenge. It was important for me to recognize that our response to climate change extends beyond its environmental impacts to include its social and economic effects as well.

I had a fantastic experience and learned so much from the 1C06 course! I also really enjoyed learning about my peers’ topics through the poster presentations.

Click here to read interviews with the other first year Arts & Science students.