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Cows And Solar
Chris via Geograph

Solar panels provide cow comfort

In the urgent push to transition to renewables, agricultural land will either be overcome with solar—or managed in partnership with solar that is specifically designed to be compatible for agricultural production. The examples are growing. To make it widespread, conservationists will need to advocate for it.

Research from the University of Minnesota on solar panels at dairy farms is leading to some interesting results. The panels produce electricity to run the farms, but also provide shade for the dairy cattle—thus improving cattle comfort.

A 30-kilowatt solar-powered system is in the pasture of the rotational grazing system at the West Central Research and Outreach Center. The center is located in Morris, Minnesota. According to University of Minnesota assistant professor and Extension Organic Dairy Management Specialist Brad Heins, the system provides shade for the center’s milking herd and energy for the milking parlor…

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Sprouting Coin Stacks
Pixabay

BlackRock makes climate change central to its investment strategy

The shift by the nation’s leading money manager is sure to be closely watched by its rivals and the rest of corporate America. Is your local conservation group walking the walk and investing with climate in mind?

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, will make sustainability and climate risks key tenets of its investing strategy, a move that its chief executive said should push financial institutions to prioritize climate change issues…

“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” BlackRock chairman and chief executive Larry Fink said in his annual letter to chief executives. “But awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

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Climate Change Sign Holders
Shutterstock

Black Lives Matter in the climate movement

Land trusts all over the country pledged to address racism and make their lands, and community, welcoming places for all. Yet many aren't thinking about how climate change will impact those who have been disenfranchised in their community. This coming year is a great time to consider that—and talk about solutions.

We have come to a time when the United States is having yet another reckoning with racist institutions that have pervaded since its founding. Corporations, sports teams, and brands alike have been publicly re-evaluating their policies to declare how they stand with the Black community.

While preliminary policy changes are a start, what is really needed is a more thorough investigation of what it means to be anti-racist.  Especially for corporations, anti-racism should also be incorporated into climate change mitigation efforts. While it may seem that climate change activism has taken a backseat in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement, how we address these issues can help forge a path forward for the climate movement…

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Grateful Little Girl
Chelsea Carroll

They’re climate scientists. They’re mothers. Now they’re joining the battle to get Americans to act

Very few people in the U.S. hear about climate change and climate solutions. A new $10-million campaign ad program will put climate scientists who are mothers in the living rooms of families across the country, so they can speak to parents like them. The campaign, called "Science Moms," will include TV and digital advertising and will run in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Florida.

“Those of us who understand climate change are disappointed by gridlock on the issue,” said Emily Fischer, a climate scientist at Colorado State University, who narrated the 90-second spot featuring her daughters enjoying the outdoors. “The goal of Science Moms is to push through that—to reach directly to mothers and let them know this is a threat to their kids. The kids they make sandwiches for, the kids who crawl into their beds at night, the kids who drive them crazy sometimes. To those kids. Not someone else’s kids…”

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Thought Jar
Momtastic

Good news jar

This is an idea that needs little introduction. You could do this personally or as part of an organization. You could include climate change positives, as well as overall positive happenings. As an organization, you might adapt this for everyone to have their own, and then pick out their favorite ones at the end of the year to share.

This January, start with an empty jar. Each week, add a note with something good that happened.

On New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and read about the amazing year you had.

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Dairy Cow
Judy Anderson

Caring for the land is caring for ourselves

Profitable farms cultivating healthy people; thriving, diverse communities; clean water, flood reduction, stable climate, and biodiversity are possible…

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Rancher With Cattle
FINN RYAN

‘Grassland 2.0’ seeks to transform Upper Midwest agriculture through perennial grasslands

With chronically low and erratic milk prices, Bert Paris has controlled dairy production costs with managed grazing. Pasture management can increase carbon in the soil, reduce run-off, and lower emissions like CO2 and N2O—greenhouse gases that need to be reduced.

Bert Paris loves dairy farming. After more than 30 years, he’s beginning to transition the farm he operates near Belleville, Wisconsin, to his daughter, Meagan Farrell, who is excited about moving her family home to run it.

Despite years of terrible headlines about the dairy industry, farmers like Paris and Farrell are bullish on dairy because, despite chronically low and erratic milk prices, they’ve controlled their production costs with managed grazing. “Grazing, financially speaking, was the best thing I’ve ever done for my business,” Paris says.

Paris is a participant in Grassland 2.0, a newly formed collaborative group based at the University of Wisconsin–Madison that is working to create more opportunities for grazing and other types of perennial grassland farming.

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Marshland
Judy Anderson

50 countries vow to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030

We're going to have to do a better job explaining why this is important to the people who live here in the U.S. if we are going to get our country to join this commitment to conservation. The good news? Many states see land and water conservation as an important part of the climate solution. We can share articles like this to start...

At least 50 countries committed to protecting 30% of the planet, including land and sea, over the next decade to halt species extinction and address climate change issues, during a global summit Monday aimed at protecting the world’s biodiversity.

About 30 leaders, government officials, and heads of international organizations participated in the One Planet Summit, which was held by videoconference because of the coronavirus pandemic. Top U.S. officials were notably absent, as were the leaders of Russia, India, and Brazil…

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Hemlocks With Snow
Judy Anderson

Hope for hemlocks: New tactics found to fight deadly pest

This research has potentially far-reaching impacts for hemlocks.

Several new scientific discoveries give hope that eastern hemlocks will not go the way of chestnut, elm, and ash trees and largely disappear from forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Hemlocks are one of the most prevalent, longest-living, beautiful, and ecologically vital trees in Appalachian forests. Sometimes called the redwoods of the East, they can take 250–300 years to mature and live more than 800 years…

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Msu Uc Davis Alum
Gina Ferrazi / Los Angeles Times

UC becomes nation’s largest university to divest fully from fossil fuels

Have the conservation organizations in your life faced the reality of the financial, and moral, status of their investments? All over the world nonprofits and financial institutions are divesting. This week it was announced that New York's $226 billion pension fund is dropping fossil fuel stocks. The fund will divest from many fossil fuels in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040.

The University of California announced…that it has fully divested from all fossil fuels, the nation’s largest educational institution to do so as campaigns to fight climate change through investment strategies proliferate at campuses across the country.

The UC milestone capped a five-year effort to move the public research university system’s $126-billion portfolio into more environmentally sustainable investments, such as wind and solar energy. UC officials say their strategy is grounded in concerns about the planet’s future and in what makes financial sense.

“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said in a statement…

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