Carbon offsets are just one leg of a strategy to combat global warming that includes conservation, energy efficiency and using as much renewable energy as possible. About 20% of global warming, Carlson says, is a result of 150 years of deforestation. "Whether it's done today or over the next generation, we have got to reforest our planet for habitat reasons, for water security, for weather patterns and for climate change," he says.
While the program is just getting going, Carlson hopes to post pictures of the trees and buyers will be able to visit the sustainable forests they helped create. That's a gift that keeps on giving.
Price: US$6 per desktop, US$2 per notebook, US$3 per LCD monitor, more prices
Summary: Purchasing carbon offsets for computers and peripherals shows you care about the Earth as well as your gift recipient.
Robert L. Mitchell
Who says the whole family can't have fun together? We've found a grab-bag of games and systems that will keep the whole gang entertained.
Video gaming console: Nintendo Wii
The most affordable console on the market is also the most fun for the family.
At US$249, the Nintendo Wii has been wooing casual and hardcore gamers alike with its innovative interface: motion-sensing controllers that are as easy to pick up as a TV remote and as intuitive to use as a baseball bat, doing away with controllers that have more buttons than you have fingers. Without pushing a single button, first-time Wii players can hit a grand slam.
Nintendo's popular franchises -- Mario, Zelda, Metroid -- have all returned in new offerings rated "E" for everyone. But the Wii is imminently playable right out of the box: a pack-in game, Wii Sports, offers five sports and 15 mini-games for one to four players, and its daily Wii Fitness test will determine your age based on how well (or poorly!) you perform.
With the Wii's Virtual Console, you can also purchase and download classic games from decades past. Rudimentary e-mail and Web surfing are also part of the Wii's built-in wireless Internet. (An Ethernet adapter is sold separately.)
Even though Wii has been available for a year, demand for the gaming system still exceeds supplies. Check with your local retailers often to see when they're expecting new stock to arrive; keeping an eye on eBay can't hurt, either.
Price: US$249 (more with bundled games)
Summary: Nintendo's Wii video game console uses motion-sensing controllers to simulate actions such as throwing a punch, swinging a sword and firing a gun.