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Writer / Anne Laker

Photography Provided

Broad Ripple families and businesses opt for fun, effective action on climate

It’s unanimous: Broad Ripple residents love the Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station, a.k.a BRICS. But BRICS’ proprietors David and Nonie Vonnegut-Gabovitch aren’t just serving up ice cream without thought. They’re committed to doing business with a light footprint: they landscape with native plants, offer a water bottle filling station, and let you sample their famous Monon Tracks with metal spoons, not plastic.

Carbon Neutral IndianaPart of this ethic was going carbon neutral, with the help of Carbon Neutral Indiana. “Becoming carbon neutral allows us to take responsibility for those aspects of our business that tax the environment,” says Gabovitch. “As ‘green’ business owners, we want to do all we can to be good stewards of this one amazing planet.”

While carbon neutrality sounds high falutin’, it’s actually the opposite. Becoming carbon neutral is a fun and effective way to respond to the climate crisis. It’s a simple way to take control, and feel hope.

Carbon Neutral Indiana is a new non-profit social enterprise. They help households and businesses measure their carbon footprints for free, and then they offer the option to voluntary offset those emissions. The founder, Daniel Poynter, even lives near Broad Ripple.

Thanks to their fiscal sponsor, the Indiana Forest Alliance, CNI’s mission is to help Indiana become carbon neutral as soon as possible, because there is no time to waste. They’ve already helped 158 households go neutral in the last year, preventing a total of over $1 million dollars in social costs of carbon.

Once you know your carbon footprint—how much CO2 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: like protecting and planting forests, shifting farmers to regenerative agriculture, feeding cows garlic to reduce methane, or hundreds of other projects that reduce carbon emissions. For about the cost of your water bill, your conscience can be carbon-clear.

Carbon Neutral IndianaIn a short time, CNI has become a grassroots movement, spreading from friend to friend. People say it’s a great antidote to anxiety or hopelessness about the world’s future.

Mark Clayton and Julia Spangler are another carbon neutral Broad Ripple couple. “Carbon Neutral Indiana is a way to get into the mindset that there are social costs for the decisions that we make,” says Clayton.

“The carbon emission inventory process was enlightening. It gives you a real perspective on how we’re living in this civilization. Climate change is more than just charts and rising heat on graphs; it’s the impact on actual people.

Living with that awareness is much more fulfilling than having the ‘out of sight out of mind’ mentality. He adds: “I’ve seen Carbon Neutral Indiana since its beginning. I am really impressed with the caring community that has pulled together.”

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. Paying to reduce your carbon emissions is like paying for trash or plumbing services in your city. It’s the cost of doing business, or living life. CNI is making it normal to become carbon neutral.

Feeling curious about cleaning up your “carbon trash?”

Schedule a free, 15-minute carbon inventory for your household or business.

Follow Carbon Neutral Indiana on social (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter).

“We care about what we leave for our children, grandchildren and the world as a whole,” says David of BRICS. Anyone who goes carbon neutral is translating that concern into a sense of progress and realistic hope. Welcome to a carbon neutral future for Broad Ripple, for Indiana, and beyond.

Learn more about Carbon Neutral Indiana at www.carbonneutralindiana.org, on Facebook, or at 317-721-4587.

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