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Many Solar Panels
Judy Anderson

Best practices in local review of community solar in rural areas

The Columbia Land Conservancy is hosting a series of webinars about community solar. Your area land trust could do this too. You can listen to the first webinar and download the slides, all of which are very informative.

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…

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Fall Pond
Steve Neel

How the Community Forest Program works

Community forests can be part of the climate solution — and help increase public access to lands, close to home.

“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…”

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Forest
Flickr

Community Forests: A path to prosperity and connection

Community forests can be part of the climate solution — and help increase public access to lands, close to home.

“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…”

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Solar Install
Taos Land Trust

Producing energy while protecting the land

Some of the most innovative land trusts are small and nimble. In 2017, Taos Land Trust was already focused on climate change and modeling how to make a difference. Today, other land trusts are realizing that compatible solar is going to need to be at the core of their conservation efforts — just like invasive species management.

“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…”

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Long Haired Girls
Judy Anderson

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.

Best,

Judy

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dad-and-son
Conservation Hawks

Organization to know: Conservation Hawks

When we think about who is taking action to slow down climate change, we often don't consider those who hunt and fish. That's why I want to make sure you know about Conservation Hawks. As a national group, they are working to inspire climate action while there's still time to save the plants and animals they love.

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.

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Pope
REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

World’s top three Christian leaders in climate appeal ahead of U.N. summit

Land trusts have been working with religious organizations to conserve their lands. There is an opportunity to move beyond the transaction of land protection and continue a partnership to encourage a larger effort to enhance energy conservation efforts, compatible renewables, and natural climate solutions — such as urban farming, and wildlife and agricultural corridors.

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…

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Therapy Online
Michael Hession

Anxious about the climate future? Seen a climate-aware therapist lately?

This month was hard. So was last month. And the month before that. In fact, we are going to have to support each other as we collectively work to find and implement solutions on a personal, local, state, and national level. Yet, to do so, we also have to acknowledge that it's OK not to be OK, and to find ways to cope.

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…

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Soil Health
Alexandre Family Farm

Nation’s first regenerative dairy works with nature to heal soil — at scale

If agriculture is important in your region, this is the type of story that might be worth sharing — and talking about how it could be important to support agriculture in being part of the climate solution.

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”…

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Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Harvard says fighting climate change is a top priority. But it still won’t divest from fossil fuels.

Institutions are beginning to take action against climate change. "For years, Harvard resisted calls to cut off funding for oil and gas firms despite demands from many students, alumni, and outside advocates."

“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.”

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