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The Contagious Positivity of Carbon Neutral Indiana

Posted by: IndyHub
Posted: April 22, 2021
Categories: IndyHub

Have you noticed signs like this around Indy? What’s it all about?

Becoming carbon neutral is a fun and effective way to respond to the climate crisis. It’s a way to take control, and feel hope.

“Before my carbon inventory, I felt a lot of existential dread about the climate crisis,” says David Harting, a software engineer who went carbon neutral last year. “I was definitely looking forward to my meeting with Carbon Neutral Indiana… I was excited to see if I could do something practical and useful to help…”

I founded Carbon Neutral Indiana (CNI) one year ago. CNI is a non-profit social enterprise that offers households and businesses a free carbon inventory, and the option to voluntarily offset their emissions.

If you know your carbon footprint—how much you emit by virtue of consuming, traveling, heating/cooling your home—you can take responsibility for it by investing in verified projects that clean it up. Projects like protecting and planting forests, shifting farmers to regenerative agriculture, feeding cows garlic to reduce methane, or hundreds of other projects.

More from David’s experience: “After the calland after everything CNI walked me throughsome things that I thought were impossible are actually achievable. I’m surprised how much more optimistic I was after the meeting. I thought individual action simply didn’t add up, but the way CNI framed it showed me that individual action does add up. I think most households could afford to be carbon neutral, and that some grassroots momentum will go a long way.”

I’ve helped 155 households go neutral in the last year, preventing a total of $1 million dollars in social costs of carbon. Now it’s a grassroots movement, spreading from friend to friend.

Here’s an example:

  1. I told Josh Driver about CNI (he’s the mind behind the amazing “This Business Serves Everyone” decal campaign that countered a policy to limit LGBTQ rights)
  1. Josh posted about going carbon neutral on LinkedIn. David Harting saw it and went neutral. “I truly believe we’re in a climate emergency, and even though it’s largely a systems problem, individuals have to step up and lead.”
  1. David told his work colleagues. That’s how Adam and Cara Weber went neutral. “We set a family goal in 2020 to become carbon neutral because we wanted to be good stewards of the earth and set a positive example for our kids and community.”
  1. Adam texted his friends. That’s how Ian Illig heard. Ian went neutral and put up a CNI yard sign.
  1. And that’s how Peter Stuart found out about CNI and also went neutral. “I saw all the signs in other people’s yards and thought if they can go carbon neutral, I should put my money where my mouth is and do the same.”

And just like that, 5 households are now “cleaning up their carbon trash.” You can see this movement spreading throughout Indiana:

Original animated gif available here: https://imgur.com/a/1qHsZwh

Positivity is contagious. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, anyone can take responsibility for their own carbon footprint. Forty years ago, more people threw their trash out their car windows. Today, that’s way less acceptable. CNI is making it normal to be carbon neutral.

Feeling curious?

  1. Schedule a free, 15-minute carbon inventory for your household or business.
  1. Follow us on social (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter). Fun events coming this summer like an ice cream social at BRICS (a carbon neutral business)!
  1. Invest in CNI’s mission. We’re hosting our first fundraiser through April 30. Tech entrepreneur John Bohlmann is matching the first $5,000.

Says John: “It was only about a year ago that I really came to understand why carbon credits and offsets are so important… Daniel showed me howby becoming carbon neutralany person, any walk of life, any business, in any industry can contribute to advancing sustainability.”

Meet Daniel:

Daniel Poynter founded Carbon Neutral Indiana in April 2020. It grew out of a year of full-time research. Before this, he was a software engineer, a professional advisor to 100+ social entrepreneurs, a MacArthur Young Innovator, and presented at academic institutions throughout North America.

Connect with Carbon Neutral Indiana:

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

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