Wednesday, 06 October 2010 18:40
Today had a wonderful start for me–and for my daughters, scores of their schoolmates and parents, teachers and administrators. School communities of over 3,200 schools participated in International Walk to School Day. On this beautiful fall day in Silver Spring, Maryland, my daughters and I met their bus mates at our usual bus stop and walked along our bus route, making "stops" to gather more walkers along the way. While I wrote that we "walked," the kids were so excited that they ran much of the time. In the way we were adding more and more numbers to our walking bus, it felt like a mini rally for health and clean transport. International Walk to School Day is promoted in the United States by www.walktoschool.org to encourage kids and parents to find safe ways to get out of their cars and walk. Their press release highlights the benefits to kids' health, but the event also shows kids and parents how easy and fun it is to walk to get where you need to go. I heard several parents comment on how much they really enjoy walking. In the neighborhood around our school there are very narrow streets with no sidewalks, so walking can be difficult, but with all the parent chaperones, it was a safe and fun experience. Fortunately, in our neighborhood, walking for pleasure is still a pastime for many families, but it is great to be reminded of the simple pleasure of getting out of your car and walking. It is relaxing, fun and community-building, and when you're walking, you're lowering your carbon footprint by not doing other energy-consuming activities. So, get out and walk, and lose a few of those unwanted pounds of weight and of carbon. You will help yourself and your environment. Hats off to the Highland View Elementary School walkers and to organizers of Walk to School Day at Highland View and throughout the world. Thanks for the reminder to take care of our bodies and our climate. Lesley Carlson is co-founder of Carbonfund.org.
Published in carbonfree blog
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 14:31
Today is the 6th anniversary of when Carbonfund.org was registered as a 501(c)(3). And, five days from now is our daughter Renee’s 6th birthday. Yes, fall 2003 was busy for the Carlsons, but it was all intertwined. Eric had long worked on energy efficiency and his interest in renewable energy as a way to solve climate change, but he saw no sign of the breakthrough necessary to really solve the problem. Seeing our beautiful Sonja born in Fall 2001 made the matter personal and urgent. What would happen to our child if global warming continued on its threatening march? Would we be able to say to her that we did what we could to stop it? Carbonfund.org resulted from three observations: 1) Acid rain, a former environmental urgency, had been solved primarily from a cap-and-trade on SO2; 2) Individuals and businesses were already taking steps to reduce their CO2 emissions through conservation and energy efficiency and through the Chicago Climate Exchange; and 3) Dramatic legislation to solve the problem was nowhere on the horizon. We wanted to provide individuals and businesses an affordable way to understand and neutralize their own carbon footprint. Above is the banner to our first website, which was put up in January 2004. A few months later we had the moxie to start a 100,000 metric ton challenge, which given the $3200 we raised in 2004, took a little while to attain. But we did. And then some. Today, thanks to our early supporters to whom we had a lot to prove, but who gave us legitimacy and voice, and to those who have joined us ever since, we celebrate that we are offsetting over 5 billion pounds (over 2,260,000 metric tons) of CO2 and our relationship with more than 450,000 individuals and 1,200 businesses to build a greener future. We are also excited that national brands, such as Motorola and Domino Sugar have adopted our CarbonFree® Product Certification, making their products carbon neutral from start to finish and that we have helped in preserving or growing trees in Nicaragua, Louisiana, Brazil and China, covering an area over 8 times the size of Central Park. We have also been proud of our wonderful workforce committed to transforming the way in which people think of, use, and purchase energy, or “reduce what [we] can, and offset what [we] can’t.” While we are not yet at our original goal of moving “toward a zero carbon world,” we have shown that carbon reductions can happen at reasonable cost and can invigorate the economy and that people are willing to make the changes to get there, even during serious economic times. The good news is that with all of us working together, we are having an effect. Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute wrote in the September 20 Washington Post that US CO2 emissions are down 9% over the last two years and continue to drop this year. For the first time, we are showing that we can reduce our climate impact. Together with our supporters, Carbonfund.org will make more investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forest-based projects and educate individuals and businesses on what they can do. In addition, we all need to press our leaders for national change. This session, Congress will be considering that dramatic legislation we dreamed of so long ago. Carbon offsetting has helped us to see it. Those of us who have led the fight against climate change need to join our voices and add more to get the Waxman-Markey bill passed. Without our individual and national action, it will be hard for any kind of substantial international climate change treaty to happen. This is how it works. Through realizing a private dream of starting an organization or taking personal action, every individual can say that we did what we could to stop it.
Published in carbonfree blog