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Judy Anderson

American Farmland Trust applauds introduction of bipartisan bill to advance agrivoltaics

Land trusts are realizing that solar can, and should, be designed to work with farming rather than taking it out of production. That won't happen unless people, and land trusts, make it clear it's possible.

Agrivoltaics refers to the practices of integrating solar energy generation and farming on the same piece of land, which could potentially reduce displacement of agricultural production from farmland as a result of solar development. The concept has been gaining attention in land-constrained countries like Japan and Germany as well as in states like Massachusetts and New Jersey.

“If included in the Farm Bill,” Fink said, “the Agrivoltaics Research and Demonstration Act would secure USDA’s role in advancing this innovation alongside the Department of Energy, AFT, and other partners across the country. Together, we are seeking ways to reduce displacement of farming from productive land as a result of solar energy development.”

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Inflation Reduction Act investments in USDA loan and conservation programs

The IRA Bill provides considerable funding for agricultural climate-smart farming. You can share that information with the farmers and ranchers you know. You can also encourage local conservation groups to feature articles on how agriculture can be part of the climate solution.

On August 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. It offers a historic, once-in-a-generation investment and opportunity for the agricultural communities that USDA serves. The Inflation Reduction Act will help producers stay on the farm, help prevent producers from becoming ineligible for future assistance, and promote climate-smart agriculture by increasing access to conservation assistance.

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Judy Anderson

Carbon farming

The IRA Bill provides considerable funding for agricultural climate-smart farming. You can share that information with the farmers and ranchers you know. You can also encourage local conservation groups to feature articles on how agriculture can be part of the climate solution.

Agriculture is part of the climate solution. Grasslands are one of the largest carbon sinks on the planet, capable of pulling enormous quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil.

Carbon farming is the process of farming and ranching to maximize the land’s ability to lock up CO2 and other greenhouse gases, making the land more resilient to the effects of a changing climate.

Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) partners with MALT farmers and ranchers to implement carbon farming practices, benefiting farmers, their land, and the climate…

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Land trusts ink deal to conserve 20 acres along Mill River in Williamsburg

Land trusts are working in partnership to expand their impact, support collective conservation efforts, and tap into state and federal funding.

Mark Wamsely, [Kestrel Land Trust’s] conservation director, highlighted the conservation as a way to combat climate change. The [press] release also notes the state’s 2022 Climate Change Assessment, which states that risk of flooding and erosion in the hilltowns is likely over the coming century.

“It’s important that we address climate change in a thoughtful way and don’t accidentally harm the very natural resources that are under threat,” said Wamsley, adding that, “Conserving forests is one way the Hilltowns can make a critical contribution to combating climate change.”

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Judy Anderson

Climate change website pages

Climate communication means understanding what people care about and linking solutions to the challenges of climate change. I spend hours, every month, trying to find land trust examples; very few of their websites come up with key word searches. That needs to change.

Land trusts often wonder how they can increase their efforts to connect with people around climate change, meet them where they are, and inspire local, regional, and national action.

Many land trusts start with nature-based climate solutions as a way to connect. However, it’s important for people to also understand what they can do as individuals based upon their interests and capacity, in addition to what the land trust is doing.

If you are interested in enhancing climate messaging or raising the profile of your local land trust, you might find the Coastal Prairie Conservancy’s climate pages of interest.

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Judy Anderson

Mississippi Valley Conservancy planting trees to help combat climate change

Talking about climate change is increasingly important. To be successful we need to link the challenges to solutions, be authentic in how much nature-based solutions can do, and find ways for people to get involved.

Carol Abrahamzon, Executive Director of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, met with the local TV station to talk briefly about a restoration project they are working on.

“Abrahamzon says these trees are essential to providing a healthy habitat to the Coulee Region. The trees to be planted at the Conservancy’s Trempealeau Lakes nature preserve include swamp white oak, silver maple, and river birch.

Abrahamzon says that the selected tree species are native to the Driftless Area and will adapt well to this site and require little care after they become established. All of these benefits strengthen the land’s resilience to a changing climate…”

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Greta Tedx

Watch Greta Thunberg’s full talk

Having wise hope means taking appropriate action. Or, as Greta Thunberg famously said, "We need action, not hope, on fighting climate change." If you'd like to watch her talk again, you'll see that her wisdom and insights are as powerful and relevant today as they were when she spoke those words.

“When I was about eight years old, I first heard about something called ‘climate change.’ I remember thinking that it was very strange. If burning fossil fuels was so bad that it threatened our very existence, how could we just continue like before. So, why are we not reducing our emissions?”

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Climate Anxiety
Yale Sustainability

Yale experts explain climate anxiety

Have you been reading about climate anxiety? Perhaps you are grappling with it yourself. Part of the challenge we all face is that when you understand the magnitude of what's happening, and the needed pace to make the changes to slow it down in a meaningful way, it can feel hopeless.

“Every day, the news delivers fresh images and headlines about climate-related disasters — devasting floods, disappearing lakes, a melting ‘doomsday glacier’—and the halting response of world leaders to act with urgency. Now many Americans are growing increasingly anxious about the perilous state of our planet.

Mental health clinicians are seeing more patients come in with symptoms of climate change anxiety—also referred to as eco-anxiety, eco-grief, or climate doom—and they’re not always sure what to do about it. It’s a trend that’s mirrored in public surveys and internet search data: Google searches for “climate anxiety” soared by 565 percent in 2021, according to the news outlet Grist…”

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Spring Map
The Washington Post

When will spring come? Or has it already? Look up where you live.

Many of us felt unsettled this "winter" as the trees showed signs of spring, as early as November. It appears that this was a trend across several regions. These maps are useful to visualize these new issues.

All across the east, naturalists are exasperated. As the rest of us luxuriated in this winter’s uncommon mildness, gardeners and wildlife biologists watched with rising pique as one of the earliest springs in recent memory threw nature’s rhythms out of whack.

Ignorant of the human calendar, nature instead responds to the gradual accumulation of heat at the beginning of each year. If the daily average temperature is above freezing, that sends a signal to plants and animals that life is again preparing to grow. Each year, the USA National Phenology Network — phenology is the study of seasonal change — keeps track of when leaves sprout as heat accumulates across the country.

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Trees are moving north from global warming. Look up how your city [region] could change.

Species are trying to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, and studies are showing that situations like this are becoming more common due to the effects of climate change on trees and other plants. The question is, will they adapt quickly enough?

As the climate warms, horticulturalists are trying out species adapted to more southern climates. Michael Hagen, curator of the native plant and rock gardens at the New York Botanical Garden, told me recently that his colleagues are planting southern live oaks, known for the Spanish moss that drapes, ghostlike, from their limbs.

Live oaks can grow as far north as Zone 7, according to data provided by the Davey Tree Expert Company. By century’s end, they could grow in Chicago and up into Michigan, while south Florida could become too hot for them.

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