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A Winning Team: This College's Athletics Department is First in Nation to Achieve Carbon Neutrality

By Sharon Chen
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The University of Florida (UF) is winning when it comes to sports and sustainability. UF is the first university in the nation to achieve a carbon neutral athletics program, and its football team is the first ever to complete a carbon neutral football season. These initiatives are part of UF’s larger commitment to achieve university-wide carbon neutrality by 2025.

In order to achieve carbon neutrality, the UF athletics department, in conjunction with Neutral Gators and We Are Neutral, implemented local carbon reduction projects, which generated carbon offsets used by the university to achieve neutrality.

UF has used their platform as a carbon neutral pioneer to amplify sustainability issues on-campus and beyond. Their emphasis on local carbon reduction projects is an excellent way to involve the community and ensure that these issues are relatable and visible. By using sports to reach out to their alumni network, current students, local and international fans, and the surrounding community, UF is showing thousands of people that sustainability is within reach. UF’s journey to carbon neutrality through sports is an inspiring example that shows that together, we can rise to the climate change challenge.

Sustainability in Gator Athletics

Gator Zone

Energy and Climate Change
The Gators were the first athletic program in the country to be carbon neutral, part of UF’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. The UAA, in partnership with the UF Office of Sustainability and Neutral Gator, an initiative of the nonprofit Earth Givers, LLC, began by offsetting Gator football in 2008, followed by a renewed and expanded commitment that offset all athletic activities (operation of facilities and team travel).These offsets are unique because they are all generated locally, benefitting our community and the state of Florida.

What is carbon neutrality?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced when fossil fuels, like coal and gas, are used for transportation or energy production. As CO2 builds in our atmosphere it acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat which affects the Earth’s temperature and contributes to climate change. One way to help mitigate the effects of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses is to offset emissions through intentional efforts to reduce emissions or capture CO2. For more information check out this UF/IFAS fact sheet.

UF and the UAA take a two-pronged approach to carbon neutrality: reducing our output of carbon emissions, and offsetting what we do emit.

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