THE CARBON NEUTRALITY PROJECT Integrating communities in a movement to solve climate change
The premise of our project is simple: with our user-friendly webpage, participants can calculate their own CO2 emissions, and the number of trees they need to plant to sequester their emissions. By removing the CO2 we produce, we solve the root cause of climate change while also helping to restore native ecosystems.
How do we plan to do it, and what have we done so far? Our website will be open to all, but we will get the movement started with schools and community groups.
1. Teach school children, their families and other community groups about climate change with an interactive curriculum. We worked with Hau’ula Elementary and are currently refining the curriculum with Lanikai Elementary.
2. Have a website that calculates individuals’ emissions and how many trees they need to plant to sequester it. By calculating a carbon deficit (i.e., the carbon that we produce that is not sequestered by our trees), the website will allow friends, classrooms, and communities to compete to be the most carbon neutral! The calculations and concepts are finished; we just need to fund the web design.
3. Make it possible for busy people to care for the trees. Seedlings need frequent watering and weeding to survive and our participants are busy. To overcome this challenge, we invented a low-cost watering system that draws water as needed from a bucket, so users only need to fill up a bucket of water about every two weeks. The first version of the watering system has been tested since April and our seedlings in Hamakua Marsh are thriving! The “new-and-improved” version is ready to be tested by Lanikai Elementary students this November.
4. Connect our project with conservation organizations. State, federal and private organizations own or manage land that they want to restore, but many lack funding for sufficient labor. Working with these organizations provides them with the labor they need, and provides us with the land we need to plant our trees so we can become carbon neutral. Our first partnership has been with DLNR to restore Hamakua Marsh, the largest remaining natural wetland in the state and home to many indigenous species.
What needs to happen now?
1. Develop a professional website. Assessing carbon neutrality for each individual and allowing them to compete requires a website that does a lot of calculations and connects people through social media. A professional website will also foster community participation and allows sharing our conservation work with the rest of the world. Cost: $10,000.
2. Create a mold for the smart watering system and produce the first batch. The original units were hand built so the systems could be tested, but this is not sustainable. The design is complete, but we need a factory mold to mass-produce the waterproof casing cheaply. In the long run sales to forestry programs can subsidize our school program, but we need seed money to produce the first batch. Cost: $10,000.
How can I help reach these goals by year-end 2015?
Make a tax-deductible donation to UH Foundation, Carbon Neutrality Project
Donate $1,000+ We will plant a native tree in your name! You will receive a photo, information on your tree, and can visit if you want.
Donate $50+ You will be sent a link to our Website when it is ready. Your online profile will be marked with “founding member” status!
Questions? Contact Dr. Camilo Mora at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Lisa Marten at email@example.com