Neutral Gator is an initiative of Earth Givers, a nonprofit focused on reducing carbon emissions through energy conservation and carbon sequestration projects. Neutral Gator is dedicated to eliminating Gainesville’s contribution to global climate change by supporting the University of Florida in reaching carbon neutrality by 2025, and by reducing the carbon emitted by the local community.
We kicked off this ambitious plan in 2008 by funding and implementing local carbon reduction projects. These projects generate carbon offsets, which are then applied toward the carbon footprint of the University of Florida (UF) Athletics season. In fact, Neutral Gator’s efforts have led to the country’s first carbon-neutral athletic program and the first carbon-neutral football season in NCAA history! We’re using UF athletic fame as a megaphone to amplify sustainability issues in the Gator Nation and beyond. Galvanizing the international sports community, the thousands-strong UF alumni network, local fans, community leaders, and other key stakeholders is an unprecedented yet essential approach toward fighting climate change—because, after all, everyone is affected.
We’re committed to creating offsets on our “home court”—unlike many carbon offset companies—because we believe a locally-based model supports, educates, and empowers Gainesville…and the Gator Nation! Our motto is “locally generated, locally applied.” That means that carbon emissions generated in Gainesville are offset in Gainesville!
Neutral Gator…welcome to Generation Next of the carbon offset industry. We’re local. We’re putting the planet before profits. We’re the future.
Neutral Gator Staff
As co-founder and executive director of Earth Givers, Jacob Cravey is committed to innovation in community development. Originally a Washingtonian, Jacob now proudly calls the Gainesville community his home. “In this town, we’re creating models that are applicable all over the country.” From low-income weatherization initiatives to indigenous tree planting projects, Jacob is on a mission to create change. Jacob might fall somewhere between business man and tree hugger, but it’s the way that he’s able to blend the two that has created the foundation for each project’s success. He doesn’t believe that carbon offsets are the solution to our overall environmental predicament, but sees that they can be used as a transition to recognize the environmental impacts of everyday events. “My goal is not to tell people whether they should or shouldn’t drive, fly, or run their air-conditioning. I want all of us to make those decisions with awareness and consideration.” Jacob studied environmental business at Evergreen State College, and had a 4-year stint running his own surf school in Puerto Rico called “Buena Vida” or “Good Life.” Jacob carries this “good life” attitude with him today as he continues to create economic, socially-integrative and environmental mechanisms for our communities to thrive.
Seth Keller is the carbon offset manager. He’s the brain behind the carbon footprint calculations and the “it guy” when it comes to creating and allocating carbon credits. An alumnus of the University of Florida (B.A in English, Political Science minor; M.A. in Communications), Seth has worked for political communications firms in Washington, DC, Atlanta, and Gainesville. It is when he shifted from candidate-centered politics to issues-based that he discovered environmentalism. “All politics are local,” declares Seth, who goes on to insist that climate change must be addressed locally. Fascinating facts about Seth include double-jointed thumbs, an identical twin in Alaska, and a love of vegetarian cuisine and international travel. He likes that Gainesville is a “small town with big city entertainment.”
Karin Lightstone is the office/project manager for Earth Givers. She’s originally from Los Angeles, and moved to Gainesville in 2008 to get her MFA in poetry in the University of Florida’s Creative Writing program. She’s excited to be working as part of such a creative and community-oriented team. Go Gators!
David Hanan, outreach and volunteer coordinator, represents Neutral Gator at home games and community events. Often found resting behind the flowing green banners, David is a charming resource for history, how-to and all things Neutral Gator; combing his background in education and experience as a formal events DJ to keep the message assessable and entertaining. Agricultural Economist by study, recreational poweriser and amateur hooper, David found himself driven to action by an unexpectedly moving re-reading of The Lorax. Intrigued by the community-wide impact of utility savings through home weatherization, David was quickly adopted into the Neutral Gator family and handed the awesome task of showcasing it to almost a hundred thousand football fans weekly. “Necessity is the mother of innovation; working on sustainable redevelopment during a time of dire need for savings will surely produce the innovations that improve our lives and the lives of generations to come”