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Reducing Our Individual Carbon Footprints

Mark Timm, an owner of Colby Creek Stables, recounts the obstacles and triumphs he and his wife encountered when transforming the family business into a self-supporting operation via sustainable and renewable energy.

Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

After witnessing some very innovative renewable energy projects in my travels around the world, I thought: why can't I implement these principles in our family business? We have always had a personal commitment to lower our energy consumption, and that commitment set us on a path that brought me to Washington D.C. for the Rural Champions of Change forum.

My wife Tara and I achieved our goal by effectively putting our vision into action. Our contractor Dixon Power and I came up with a plan to take the energy needs of our horse boarding and event facility towards a self-supporting operation via sustainable and renewable energy. We soon realized that the hurdles we faced would require help from the Federal government, State government, the local county, and our personal banking institution.

We are proud of the outcome, particularly being the first at this endeavor. The obstacles that we encountered in our project were outweighed against the threats posed by climate change, dependency on foreign oil, and the need to do the right thing for the community that we live in.

While we did this for our personal energy consumption, now we understand that if one person starts to make a change, it can lead the entire community benefiting. After visiting with the other Champions of Change nominees, I have a new found clarity coupled with a deeper understanding of the challenges that we all face in our personal quest to lower our overall energy consumption. My wife and I can actually now begin to imagine what we can do as a nation, being that just two individuals from a small rural community can take the lead by reducing our individual carbon footprints on our personal and professional energy consumption.

I would like to close in thanking the President and his Administration for taking the lead in the country's quest to establish a sustainable, renewable and clean energy policy. I send my special appreciation to the Nebraska USDA Rural Development office and the state of Nebraska. By helping us connect with USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, the Rural Development office provided my family the opportunity to take our horse boarding and event center on a path towards a zero carbon use. The enabled me to make my energy project come to fruition, and encouraged me to continue with my example and expand these principles to others.

The owners of Colby Creek Stables, Mark and Tara Timm, were interested in renewable energy options to offset the power needs of their operation and to, in the near future, potentially take it off the grid completely.