Cleveland Carbon Fund to support local carbon reduction projects
With Americans annually emitting more than 7.5 billion tons of carbon that contributes to a global increase in temperature, rise in sea level and dramatic changes in climate and weather patterns, the need for reduction in carbon output is drastically important.
Recently, a group of innovative founding partners organized a fund for the public to play a role in eliminating carbon emissions. The Cleveland Carbon Fund is the first community-based, open-access carbon reduction fund in the United States with a mission to sponsor the formation and implementation of local carbon reduction projects that help foster economic development, social well-being and environmental stewardship in Cleveland.
The City of Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the George Gund Foundation make up the collaborative group of the Cleveland Carbon Fund’s Founding Partners.
“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Have fun being a friend of the planet. Ride a bike and walk places, recycle and compost, and cut back on meat and corn-based food. If you think about it, our modern lives depend on burning a lot of fossil fuels,” said Cleveland Heights resident Marc Lefkowitz of the GreenCityBlueLake Institute at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. “Science is telling us that climate change from the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels poses a grave threat to the stability of human civilization and to the survival of millions of other species. We all have a responsibility to act.”
Individuals and companies in Northeast Ohio are able to reduce their own carbon footprint by buying into the fund. The money collected by the fund will support nonprofit organizations to promote sustainability in the region. It will also support projects such as tree planting, home weatherization, and compact fluorescent light bulb replacement initiatives.
As a result of the Cleveland Carbon Fund, the Cleveland community will gain many benefits. The projects supported by the fund will not only improve the community’s environmental health, but also encourage economic development and new jobs.
“By investing in the Cleveland Carbon Fund, you are investing in your local community in ways that not only reduce carbon emissions but also help create green collar jobs,” said Andrew Watterson, program director for the City of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability. “This is a great alternative to the traditional carbon reduction options available today.”
The group’s Web site, www.clevelandcarbonfund.org, has a personal calculator to determine your footprint. A donation to the fund is tax-deductible and donors will receive notification of how much carbon will be removed from the atmosphere as a result of his or her donation.
To calculate your carbon footprint, to donate or to find out more, visit www.clevelandcarbonfund.org.
Mary Patton is a public relations consultant and a longtime resident of the Heights. She currently lives in University Heights with her husband and daughter.