Do you love to travel? Now that you are well-vaccinated and feel safer or maybe more adventurous, does the open road beckon or maybe the friendly skies? It is time for a trip! But wait! What about global warming? Travel leaves a significant carbon footprint and what could be done about that? Well… did you know that UUCA has our own Carbon Offset Fund?

It began in 2018 when my husband Gordon and I visited Australia and New Zealand, 10,000 miles away. Now, that was the journey of a lifetime – just look at that New Zealand sunrise in the blog header! Since he was 10, Gordon had wanted to see Ayers Rock (now named Uluru). We saw kangaroos, koalas, cassowaries, kiwis, Sydney’s Opera House, the Outback, Maori in New Zealand, Aboriginal people in Australia, stunning snow-capped mountains, deserts where it had not rained for over a year, and Uluru (photo on right). We flew and sailed and rode buses and vans. Then, we returned to Atlanta.

We were aware of the huge carbon footprint our trip had created, but what to do? What was the best carbon-offset we could give? In the meantime, UUCA had left the old building and was remodeling a new one, on new grounds. The idea of a Carbon Offset Fund was born. The idea was straightforward:  if you travel, you leave a carbon footprint. The bigger the trip, the bigger the footprint. According to a paper in the prestigious journal Science, carbon dioxide emissions per person on a 2500-mile airline flight melt 32 square feet of Arctic sea ice. A cruise adds even more CO2 per mile to the atmosphere, making our planet even warmer.

The fund became a reality and now has over $12,000. A number of congregants have contributed to the fund. One can give using PayPal (PayPal Account, debit, or credit card) or by check. The money will be used for environmental projects at UUCA that lower the congregation’s carbon footprint. Our capital campaign fund will not generate enough money to fund all desirable projects. Since the COF’s inception, other terrific and sometimes surprising sources of funding for projects which mitigate climate change have been secured. Insulation, LED light fixtures, wiring for electric car charger, and more have been funded, thanks to UUCA members Julie Simon, Bert Pearce, Lizanne Moore, DeAnn Peterson, Bryce Thomason, Southface Institute, and Georgia Power. But what about solar panels, crushed rock on our enormous lawn, an energy and water use dashboard? Such dreams and more might be funded by the Carbon Offset Fund.

To donate to the fund, visit www.uuca.org/give, scroll down to “Carbon Offset Fund,” and simply give using a credit card. Or send a check to UUCA, 1190 W. Druid Hills Drive NE, Atlanta, GA, 30329. Make out your check to “UUCA” with “Carbon Offset Fund” in the subject line. If you have traveled and wish to offset your trip’s carbon footprint, wish to reduce global warming, or wish to give to celebrate Earth Day or any other special occasion: all donations are welcome and gratefully received.

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