Have a good time Earth Day in Indiana by going carbon impartial

As churches celebrate Earth Day in 2021, it’s easy to feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the people global climate crisis.

Human activities, led by coal, oil and gas exploration, are set free every year Billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with No signs of slowing down. But what if there is a way to counteract these effects by investing in efforts to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere?

That’s the concept behind it CO2 neutral , a charitable incubation on Indiana Forest Alliance in . Carbon Neutral Indiana was founded by Daniel Poynter, who grew up in Auburn, and works with residents to calculate the greenhouse gases emitted by their homes or businesses. Using a monthly subscription-based model, Hoosiers can neutralize their carbon footprint by investing proportionally in projects like reforestation that remove harmful gases from the atmosphere.

It also gives them practical ways to reduce their emissions in the future.

While the methods and The effectiveness of “CO2 neutrality” is controversialThe impetus is clear. According to the largest assembled group of scientists known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the entire world must be carbon neutral by 2050 to avoid the devastating effects of global warming the rise of climate refugees and the collapse of the US military.

Climate neutral Indiana is helping Hoosiers get a head start on change by harnessing the creative spirit and ingenuity of entrepreneurship and reforming capitalism from within.

“When future school children read about the climate crisis, we want them to read about how Indiana played a leading role in changing that crisis,” says Poynter. Daniel Poynter, left, founded Carbon Neutral Indiana.

Still, that wasn’t his experience in Hoosier State.

Since Poynter started his first business as a kid selling sodas at the annual Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, he has developed a passion for triple bottom line businesses that benefit people, profits, and the planet alike.

In 2016 he left his software development career to advise these innovators in Indiana. However, when he met with hundreds across the state, he particularly noted a lack of knowledge and responsibility about the climate.

“I thought, the climate crisis is the most critical challenge of our century. So where are the resources to address it in Indiana?” Says Poynter.

While some might assume that Hoosiers are simply not interested in sustainability, Poynter has learned that other factors play a role. Indeed, there is a lack of funding for climate change initiatives in Indiana because national climate philanthropists have “completely written off” Indiana’s potential.

In 2018 29 mostly US-based philanthropic institutions have accepted To provide a total of 4 billion US dollars to support climate protection initiatives over the next five years. With three percent of the national population residing in Indiana, Poynter figured that Hoosier State could receive at least three percent of that funding – if not more, given its high greenhouse gas emission rates.

“If you look at the whole country, about half of the greenhouse gases come from 10 states, and Indiana is one of them,” says Poynter.

But instead of three percent or around $ 25 million a year, Indiana has access to a meager $ 500,000 a year to support its climate protection initiatives. Poynter believes this lack of funding is related to the state’s political gerrymandering practices.

“Climate philanthropists look at Indiana and assume it’s a waste of investment,” says Poynter.

Still, he’s optimistic about Indiana’s future. A 2020 Yale University study shows that around 50 percent of Hoosiers “are concerned about global warming” – just below the national average of 63 percent.

“The people here are taking care of the climate crisis. They just don’t know what to do and no one guides them, ”says Poynter. “Carbon Neutral Indiana can offer that.”

In September 2020, Carbon Neutral Indiana celebrated $ 500,000 in averted social costs.

The non-profit organization has developed since it started in April 2020 a website with data and charts demonstrate the effectiveness of its sustainable, scalable movement to tackle carbon emissions. According to Poynter, this movement has grown solely from the support of individuals, families, and businesses in Indiana. In the first six months Sales rose by 76 percent compared to the previous monthIn 21 of Indiana’s 92 counties, 86 households and six businesses have been encouraged to go carbon neutral.

“We grew as fast as many for-profit startups in San Francisco, with no funding or support from status quo institutions,” he says.

In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, he sees Carbon Neutral Indiana as a means to attract and retain young talent in the state.

“A lot of young people who want to work in the climate have to leave Indiana immediately,” says Poynter.

Carbon Neutral Indiana offers internships for the development of climate talent.

How does Carbon Neutral Indiana work? Simply set up a free 15 minute virtual consultation where Poynter and his volunteer staff will guide you through a carbon footprint assessment for your home or business. Then with a carbon offset model that supports verified projects like that Afognak Forest Carbon ProjectYou determine a monthly rate that you can pay to help offset the cost of your .

They’ll be given a yard sign to zoom in on the move and they’ll get back to you six months later to assess your progress.

Monthly rates vary by household and lifestyle, according to Poynter, but the average cost for one person is around $ 15 to $ 20 per month. The average cost for a family is compared to a water bill. All Carbon offsetting deposits are transparently listed on the Carbon Neutral Indiana website.

Poynter compares paying to reduce your carbon emissions to paying for garbage or sanitation services in your .

“In the Middle Ages, people threw their rubbish on the street,” he says. “Now we have indoor plumbing and garbage disposal companies. In the same way, everyone creates a carbon footprint. That’s why we measure it and clean it up for you. “

However, getting individuals, families and small businesses to go carbon neutral can be tricky. Studies show that 71 percent of global climate emissions come from just 100 companiesand the richest 10 percent of the world produce 50 percent of all global emissions.

While the climate impact of individuals and small businesses is far less than that of their companies, Poynter believes that the most effective way to turn the tide on such a monumental problem is to start small – bypassing the conventional, often confused, one Political, philanthropic, and large corporate group relationships instead work directly with consumers.

“Instead of arguing with ExxonMobil, we’re trying to normalize that we’re carbon neutral. So if you go to a restaurant or store in 10 years, ask about it,” he says.

Carbon Neutral Indiana’s goal for 2021 is to create a stronger and broader base across the state and specifically in Fort Wayne, where only two households are currently enrolled.

One of these households belongs to Kurt Roembke, who joined Carbon Neutral Indiana out of the desire to start a similar initiative here.

As a longtime member of the Sunrise movement in northeast Indiana, Roembke wanted to encourage Fort Wayne residents to help groups reduce greenhouse gas emissions through composting or tree planting. But like Poynter, he noted a lack of Indiana organizations involved in this work.

When he heard that Carbon Neutral Indiana is funding proven carbon offsetting payments around the world, he decided to give it a try. After his free consultation with his partner Sarah Suraci in January 2020, both signed up for the program and cost around $ 20 per month each.

According to Roembke, some of the biggest surprises were how much his diet and air travel contribute to his carbon footprint. He was also surprised to learn that climate-friendly practices like composting were minor contributors to his overall footprint.

While he plans to continue composting to encourage the system change, he is also proud to now have a sign that reads “We’re Carbon Neutral” in his yard and encourage his neighbors to join Carbon Neutral Indiana as well.

“Footprint balancing and composting are things that may not have much of an impact compared to much-needed systemic change, but it does allow us to start a conversation and live closer to our values,” says Roembke. “That’s why I think garden signs are important. It’s about creating a culture change, and hopefully it will grow to the point where it invades government policy. That’s where my mind is.”

With Carbon Neutral Indiana being new and the concept of carbon offsetting in general vague and controversial, Roembke had moments when he questioned its effectiveness.

“If you are a logical person, ask yourself, why is nobody else doing it?” he says.

Even so, he believes it’s important to start somewhere with climate change, and he’s optimistic about Carbon Neutral Indiana’s potential to promote environmental awareness in Fort Wayne and beyond.

“So many people like me might think: Until I figure it all out, there is nothing I can do about climate change, but I think we’re in a position where that can’t be true,” says Roembke. “If it were like that, nothing would ever happen.”

His advice?

“Do as much as you can, but keep questioning it and finding out,” he says. “Carbon Neutral Indiana is one way to do this.”

Learn more

CO2 neutral Indiana is a project of Indiana Forest AllianceA 501 (c) 3 non-profit. Contact them online or by phone at 317-721-4587.

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