Amtrak’s Arte boards the offset tree train

My mother happened to take Amtrak down to DC Friday — the day they were handing out trees to offset train travel, which is how I heard of this dubious program.

My mother received a transparent plastic cylinder containing a small Colorado Blue Spruce with the label “plant this tree and offset the carbon output from 14,000 miles of train travel.”

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Yes, like the Pope, Amtrak never got the “trees are lousy offsets” memo from here or Gristmill. Fortunately, Amtrak is the energy efficient way to travel inland, and trees are great things to have — though it is a bit odd handing out the state tree of Colorado, which is native to the West, in DC.

Anyway, the plastic cylinder directs us to “Learn more @ whistlestop.Amtrak.com” where we meet “Arte the environmental engineer,” probably the lamest corporate environmental mascot ever. Arte is named for Amtrak Recognizes the Environment — yes, we all recognize the environment as it whizzes by us at 60 mph. More strangely, Arte is a typical leaf, but the Blue Spruce is an evergreen conifer.

Well, at least Amtrak isn’t handing out iron for ocean fertilization.