Best practices in local review of community solar in rural areas
Community solar projects have numerous novel features, compared to other types of development. During this session, Adriana Beltrani, an Environmental Planner with the firm Nelson, Pope, Voorhis will present what to look for in a complete site plan application package and explore ways for local planning boards to ensure that information about important resources and other local priorities are considered during the site design and review.
The session seeks to provide attendees with the tools to appropriately investigate, avoid, and mitigate potential impacts from solar projects…
How the Community Forest Program works
“The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program) of the Forest Service offers a unique opportunity for communities to acquire and conserve forests that provide public access and recreational opportunities, protect vital water supplies and wildlife habitat, serve as demonstration sites for private forest landowners, and provide economic benefits from timber and non-timber products…”
Community Forests: A path to prosperity and connection
“Community forests are protected forestlands that contribute to healthy, flourishing communities. Importantly, they offer residents and community members a direct say in how these lands are stewarded over time…”
Producing energy while protecting the land
“Part of our work as a community land trust is to help reframe the energy debate and build community energy resiliency.
…[W]e flipped the switch on our first solar energy array and as of today more than 50% of the energy we use to run Taos Land Trust is generated by our new solar panels. The 2kW photovoltaic array sitting on our downtown Taos property was installed through a generous grant from the PPC Solar Photovoltaic Donation Program. This is a huge move for us…”
Reflections for land trusts, October 2021
Last week, the national Land Trust Alliance hosted its land trust conference. There were over 60 presentations, including many on climate change and communications.
The timing couldn’t have been better. As climate change continues to accelerate, land conservationists and those who care about their communities are stepping forward to help people connect the dots on how to support meaningful change.
We recognize that climate change is quickly pushing animals and plants past their ability to survive, and natural climate solutions are, at best, predicted to be approximately 30% of the solution.
As natural systems become more stressed by climate change and the resulting disasters and impacts, natural climate solutions become more vulnerable.
Nature needs renewables — and our collective work to reduce energy consumption — to flourish.
To help with that, I thought you might appreciate this very thoughtful video about the role of “agrivoltaics” in water conservation, farm viability, and economic impact. It’s titled: “Agrivoltaics. An economic lifeline for American farmers?“
For too long, we’ve been saying that solar should avoid farmland, based upon soil type (meaning, avoiding lands of “prime” or “statewide” importance, etc.). Yet given that we know that climate change is stressing soils, and making farming and ranching more difficult, the question could better be framed: “How can solar (and wind) help farm and ranch viability, water retention, and soil health?”
Installing millions of acres of solar that are mowed like lawns, to me, is a gigantic waste. Instead, we could promote elevated solar that allows for a diversity of farming and ranching underneath and between the panels.
I look forward to hearing what you think of the agrivoltaics video, and what you think of the land trusts, featured below, who are helping to address climate change.
Organization to know: Conservation Hawks
We are a group of passionate hunters & anglers devoted to protecting our sporting heritage and passing on a healthy natural world to our kids and grandkids. Our motto says it all: Hunters & Anglers Defending Our Future.
What makes us different? At Conservation Hawks, our job is to identify and address the single biggest threat to our hunting & fishing. That’s why we focus all our time & energy on the most important issue for sportsmen: Climate Change.
World’s top three Christian leaders in climate appeal ahead of U.N. summit
In “A Joint Message for the Protection of Creation,” Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew asked Christians to pray that world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November make courageous choices.
“We call on everyone, whatever their belief or world view, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us,” the message said…
Anxious about the climate future? Seen a climate-aware therapist lately?
As climate psychologists will attest, we are living through an epoch of collective environmental trauma, and subsequent climate distress. Even for those among that increasingly shrinking number who are less-than-concerned, the distress of living in an increasingly unpredictable, hostile world will inevitably influence their daily lives. Acknowledging one’s feelings about climate change challenges, and talking about them not only benefits individuals and groups, but may spur broader climate engagement…
Nation’s first regenerative dairy works with nature to heal soil — at scale
At a time when large dairy brands are experimenting with scaling up regenerative practices, Alexandre Family Farm is working to set the standard for the future of the industry…
The couple currently farm on about 9,000 acres (up from 560 acres when they first bought the ranch) with 8,000 head of cattle, including 4,500 mature cows, spread across four locations. All of their cows are on pasture after 5 months of age and the entire land gets grazed eight to nine times per year…
More than a dozen Northeastern dairies (all small-scale, with 100 – 150 cows) are currently going through the ROC certification process, Whitlow says, and the hope is that once those are announced, “it’ll show what’s possible”…
Harvard says fighting climate change is a top priority. But it still won’t divest from fossil fuels.
“Harvard University prides itself on being on the cutting edge of climate policy and research. Its students and faculty have deployed drones over the Amazon, worked on a “bionic leaf” to turn sunlight and water into fuel and fertilizer, and searched for a cheaper electrochemical method of capturing carbon dioxide.
But there’s at least one step on climate change that Harvard has not taken: divesting the university’s $39 billion endowment of investments in fossil fuels.”