Research into the interlinks between biodiversity patterns, processes, threats, conservation and human welfare



The Carbon Neutrality Challenge
A race to fix climate change by reducing one's own carbon footprints and restoring ecosystems to scrubb your remaining emmisions

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The Carbon Neutrality Challenge is an initiative from the MoraLab, which aims to generate a mechanism for people like you or me to pay our ecological debt with Earth. The premise is to calculate how much CO2 you generate, estimate the number of trees necessary to sequester those emissions, plant the trees, and then climate change solve. Simple right!



Ongoing climate change is the biggest and best documented environmental threat of our generation, one that is and could impact millions of people and species for years to come. Yet, greenhouse gas emissions remain unabated because of us producing ever more emissions and us destroying natural ecosystems in such a way that we impair their capacity to sequester CO2. As example, every year, >6million hectares of forest are lost to deforestation; and because of intense agriculture practices, other 6 million hectares are lost to desertification; sadly only 17% of our planet remains unaltered by humans and some 20,000 species are driven to extinction each year because of these habitat changes. Not surprisingly, by 2014, atmospheric CO2 concentrations surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in the last ~3.5 million years!.
This transformation is happening everywhere; just look outside your window, and ask yourself what was there 100, 200 years ago?. Let your mind fly about the beauty of what should have been there, and then, get back to reality and let’s do something. The critical question in front of us is how do we stop climate change while ensuring a good standard of living for us and the species we share the planet with?. Answer: The Carbon Neutrality Project.

Almost every activity in our daily lives demands some type of energy, which in turn generate greenhouse gasses (e.g., driving a car, producing and transporting the food that we have for breakfast, etc.). The Carbon Neutrality Project will provide a mechanism for regular people to clean-up their CO2 emissions. In this project, people, like you or me will calculate: 1) our CO2 emissions and 2) the number trees necessary to offset such emissions; of course, we should aim to plant such trees. At any moment, a person will know how many trees to plant and/or how much they would have to reduce consumption to reach neutrality. The possibility of calculating the CO2 deficit of each person would also allow to rank people in their target of becoming carbon neutral, and thus, we hope this will generate a race towards becoming the first carbon neutral person in the world, then the first family, then the first city, then the first country and hopefully soon the Earth for the first time in centuries.

Clean our carbon footprint
The Carbon Neutrality Project will engage students and their parents in the planting of trees necessary to sequester their overall CO2 emissions. For this, I developed a ‘Smart Water System’ that ensures suitable water conditions for planted trees reducing the need for constant seedling care. The estimated cost so far is $US 3 per device, and several improvements are being developed.
The Carbon Neutrality Project will be combined with a web-page, currently under construction, that will calculate the differences between the CO2 emissions produced by a person and the CO2 sequestered by their planted trees. This simple calculation will provide tangible goals towards reaching carbon neutrality by either planting more trees and/or reducing consumption.
The Carbon Neutrality Project will have additional benefits: it will help the restoration of native forests, which in turn will improve the quality of habitats for endangered species, reduce erosion and its impact on coastal marine ecosystems like coral reefs, enhance water retention and our supply of water, etc. Finally, the project will belong to our entire community and as such it will be something we can feel proud of: to leave our children a legacy of trees, not CO2 footprints. We can truly make a difference and set an example to the world that we can live our lives well while giving the environment and other species their right to exists well as well.

We already started
The project already started. We are in the process of engaging school children in the project. We are also developing some new sensors and constructing a wireless network of "smart watering systems", such that users can check how their plants are doing from their mobile phones. We also have an advance prototype of a pest repellet to ensure that our plants are not eaten by wild animals.

We will make this happen, but of course, this could be facilitated by the funding available. So if you can, please donate to our project via UH Foundation
in ’Special Instructions’ address your donation to ’Mora Carbon Neutrality Project’.
Please direct inquiries to Dr. Camilo Mora, cmora@hawaii.edu

Mahalo!