I have a tendency to move forward, create and improvise, and it’s been my job for the last three years. Ever since starting the Neutral Gator Initiative, I’ve had a unique opportunity to work with outstanding organizations to help create and implement carbon offset projects that do more than just lower or absorb carbon emissions. What we’ve found, is that carbon offsets can actually be a vehicle for community development.
Currently, I’m in Denver, CO preparing a presentation that I will be delivering at the 2010 AASHE conference, and needless to say it has me looking back on what we’ve created.
I’ve been peeling the layers back in hopes of communicating the principles of what we’ve been working so hard to build, and where it will go from here. What I’ve realized, probably first and foremost, is that this work can not be achieved alone. It’s the relationships that have built, and continue to move this initiative forward, and it’s the achievements in community development that sustain our collective passion.
I consider the Neutral Gator Initiative a pioneer, and as most pioneers go, they take some lumps along the way. I’ll be the first to admit we don’t always get it right on the first try, but we learn and improvise, and always aim to do it better the next time around. Someone once asked me “what is the most important piece to starting a non-profit initiative”. I couldn’t stress enough how important the “passion element” needs to be, because when moments get hard or obstacles seem unnavigable, it’s the unwavering commitment that finds the cracked door to walk through.
My commitment has been to the beneficiaries of our projects. Helping low income families find relief in rising utility bills, or reforesting lands with native trees for animals and humans to enjoy for generations to come. Our ultimate goal at Earth Givers is to create as many beneficiaries as possible in the creation of every project.
This won’t be my first time presenting at a conference and it would seem obvious that when your take on the director role at a non-profit, you better put your fears of public speaking aside. I have come to realize that a large percentage of my work involves networking, public speaking, and most importantly, learning from others. This conference is a little different though, because I will speaking to numerous Sustainability Directors and students from universities all over the nation. Consider it the ultimate peer group, and for me to be effective in my short time slot, I must creatively outline and share the finer points of our success. It’s one thing to have a blueprint in your head, but it’s the one’s that can share the vision that ultimately find success.
So here’s to sharing.
Director of Earth Givers/Neutral Gator