puffin in flight

Climate Change & Conservation eNews


Handful Of Top Soil
Civil Eats

Carbon farming works. What is it? Can your land trust promote it?

Farming and ranching can help slow down climate change – but it will take significant changes for many to make that happen.

The first step is to understand what carbon farming is. The second step is to make it happen…

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Sheep Under Solar Panels
Oregon State University

Study shows crops, forage may benefit from solar panel shade

An accidental discovery at Oregon State University may reveal how solar panels can help grow healthier crops on dryland farms.

Not only can solar power lower energy bills and increase efficiency, but the shade afforded by photovoltaic panels might also boost agricultural production on non-irrigated farmland, retaining more moisture for crops and livestock forage…

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What Was Once A Maritime Forest Is Now Essentially Dead
Coastal Plant Ecology Lab

How will climate change impact coastal communities? Native plants out of control

‘”This shrub has always been here, it’s a native species. But it has just taken over,” said Julie Zinnert, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, on a recent visit to Hog Island. “If you look over this way, that’s all shrub. It’s a wall of shrub, just ginormous thickets. And that’s because of climate change…”‘

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Forbes Media Wind Farm
© 2020 Forbes Media LLC

No, wind farms are not causing global warming

If you hear pushback about wind energy, whether it’s because of the impact on birds and bats, land fragmentation, or light and sound, it’s helpful to frame your response based upon facts and in the context of what havoc climate change will wreak if we don’t slow it down.

Research is documenting we are headed towards massive species die-off, including birds and bats, if we continue on our current track to an increase of three degrees Celsius.

One of the strategic actions your land trust can take is to help your community understand the need for renewables and how they are a necessary part of the conservation solution. A good place to start? Dispel this misconception…

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NASA Image Of The Earth

Climate scientists to the world: We only have 20 years before there is no turning back

Yes, land conservation can help. No, it won’t be nearly enough to save the species, communities, water quality, and heritage that land trusts have pledged to preserve…forever. Interestingly, land trusts will put everything on the line to protect a conservation project that is at risk from a serious violation that could destroy the conservation elements they have pledged to conserve.

This makes me wonder about how are we thinking about climate change and its impacts on critical conservation attributes.

Recognizing that climate change will destroy much of what has been protected by land trusts is a paradigm shift that could mean treating it like a violation: we need to do our best to make sure it’s limited in scope and has a net conservation gain.

If that is the case, we will need to consider how land trusts can either partner, or shift some of our time, to help our regions make the shift to energy conservation strategies and renewables, as well as conserving important lands. Here’s a summary of why…

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Climate Change Protest
Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Where Americans (mostly) agree on climate change policies

“Americans are politically divided over climate change, but there’s broader consensus around some of the solutions.

New data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication — in partnership with Utah State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara — show how Americans across the country view climate and energy policies.

There is widespread support for renewable energy…”

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Glacier Melting

Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’

Basically, scientists are confirming what we've known for a while: we're running out of time to transition from fossil fuels and slow climate change down in a meaningful way.

It’s the final call, say scientists, in the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.

Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.

Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

It will be hugely expensive – but the window of opportunity remains open.

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Solar Panels For Pollinators
The Green Optimistic

Research: Pollinator habitats could be saved by solar power plants

Researchers at the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are studying solar energy facilities with pollinator habitats on site. Through this effort they hope to rehabilitate declining pollinator populations that play an important role in the agricultural industries. The loss of such species could result in devastating crop production, costs, and nutrition on a global scale.

Currently, pollinators are responsible for pollinating nearly 75% of all crops used for food. However, because of the increase in man-made environmental stressors, their population continues to steeply decline.

The research team has been working on examining the potential benefits of establishing species’ habitat at utility-scale solar energy facilities to resolve the problem.

They have found that the area around solar panels could provide an ideal location for the plants that attract pollinators

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Protest The Climate
AP Photo/Eric Risberg

‘Connecting the dots’ between faith and climate change

Tackling issues like climate change or protecting the environment often requires a lot of boring, behind-the-scenes work, far from the spotlight.

“But sometimes you have to let your light shine,” said the Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, president of Interfaith Power & Light. She’s not alone in this sentiment.

“There are a lot of people beginning to connect the dots between faith, the environment, climate change,” said the Rev. Ambrose Carroll, co-founder of Green the Church, a campaign to motivate environmental action in the African-American church community…

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Committee On Land Trust Hearing Frank San Nicolas PDN
Frank San Nicolas/PDN

Politics: What’s Allowed?

“Can land trusts do advocacy?

Yes! Land trusts can advocate for policies that support conservation — and it’s one of our most important jobs. Think about it. Our elected representatives make decisions about conservation that can open huge opportunities — or shut them down. So, land trusts need to be just as good at building relationships with our elected officials as we are at building relationships with major donors and landowners.

People in land trusts often question whether it’s legal to get involved in politics. The answer is YES, you can advocate on issues, legislation, and ballot measures. But you do need to follow some relatively simple rules. Here’s an overview of the law…”

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