Thursday, September 4, 2008

My UU Carbon Footprint

Last year my Unitarian Universalist travel produced over 5 metric tons of carbon dioxide - even driving a Prius! That's over 20% of my total footprint for an entire year. The culprit, of course, is the coast to coast travel, primarily to attend UUA Board meetings. Multiply this footprint by other Board and Committee members, Commissions, Task Forces, and an annual General Assembly.

To this add what is close to a doubling of the cost of flying from Oakland/SFO to Boston, and we appear to have a situation that is not sustainable (literally). Recognizing both the ecological and financial cost of the way we do business, the UUA Board has chartered a "Virtual Teams Taskforce" (VTT), chaired by Finance Chair Lyn Conley and including Roger Thompson and Tom Loughrey from the Committee on Committees, Megan Selby and LoraKim Joyner from the Nominating Committee, and Harlan Limpert and Mark Steinwinter from the UUA staff. We have identified other key stakeholders (such as UU Ministry for Earth) to be part of this effort.

In addition to cost and carbon footprint, how many good people are excluded from participating in UUA committees and events because of time and other obligations? How do we best use technology to strengthen inclusion? How do we build trust without ongoing personal face to face interaction? How do our religious values impact what we do in this situation? We will be wrestling with these and other questions - as always I am interested in your thoughts.