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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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Neighborhood Sun Invite

Neighborhood Sun to host free event at Eastern Shore Conservation Center

Increasingly, land trusts are finding ways to help their community connect the dots on why solar is related to their conservation work and how to sign up for local, often community, solar.

This past summer, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy hosted a program with a local solar provider at their office. You can see their announcement here. Perhaps your local land trust could do this as well.

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Cow
Clean Grid Alliance

Five reasons farmers love wind & solar

If we are going to reduce coal, oil, and natural gas — to save thousands of species from extinction and avoid significant agricultural damage and loss due to extreme weather – plus find ways to make family farms viable in a changing climate, we are going to have to rethink how solar and wind are compatible with our conservation and community goals.

Check out five reasons why farmers often embrace wind and solar. Land trusts can help communities understand that the alternative to gearing towards renewables is often going out of business, selling for development, and family economic stress.

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Solar Panels
GVLT

Solar for conservation

Gallatin Valley Land Trust is proud to have conserved over 45,000 acres across their region. While protecting land from development and fragmentation is the first step, protecting the ecological integrity of our natural resources is equally as important. This is why they’re proud to announce a partnership with On Site Energy.

What’s the connection between land conservation and solar energy?

Fish need cold, clean water to survive, and rivers need high altitude snow pack to keep them flowing through hot summers. Ranchers and farmers also depend on the availability of that water for irrigation, and wildlife depend on the intricate balance of the changing seasons to maintain viable habitats…

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Whitcomb Farm Solar
Whitcomb Farm Solar

Whitcomb Farm Solar

Dairy prices are dropping through the floor, crop farmers are grappling with extreme weather, and farmer and rancher stress is increasing. For some, renewable energy options can mean the farm or ranch can continue as a working and the family can stay intact.

Established several years ago, in conjunction with a conservation easement in partnership with the Vermont Land Trust, the Whitcomb Farm Solar project is an example of land conservation and renewables working together, to keep the farm intact…

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Onlookers At The Charging Station
Donna Linville

Encouraging electric vehicles

Mendocino Land Trust understands that much of its conservation work—and future conservation success—depends on the U.S. reducing its use of fossil fuels. They are doing their part by increasing the number of charging stations in their region, particularly around parks and community lands…

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Solar Panel Install
Getty Images

Americans want more clean energy. Here’s what they’re actually willing to do to get it

Many Americans agree. Polling now suggests the American public wants more renewable energy, soon; there are likely people waiting for your land trust to help make that possible as part of its land conservation efforts. It's one of the ways that land trusts like yours can increase their relevance.

Americans have long supported the idea of clean power. The question has always been how much effort they’re willing to expend to make a green energy future a reality.

A new survey from global auditing and consulting firm Deloitte suggests the gap between environmental concern and consumer action may be shrinking. The pillars helping to bridge the divide include falling prices for solar power, higher awareness of clean energy options, growing concern about climate change and the inclinations of millennials.

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Solar And Pollinator Garden
The Road to Wild

Can ground mounted solar farms be wildlife havens?

“Research suggests that the negative impacts of solar installation and operation relative to traditional power generation are extremely low. In fact, over 80% of the impacts were found to be positive or neutral. Yet, it is clear that if it involves the removal of woodland to make space for solar power this can cause a significant contribution to CO2 emissions, but still far lower than coal-based electricity.”

Solar farms can enhance wildlife habitat (and can be compatible with grazing)…

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Hank Stone Uses Compost On His Rangelands
UC Davis

A climate change solution beneath our feet

The roots run deep for Scott Stone at Yolo Land & Cattle Company outside Winters, California. His late father, Hank Stone, bought the 7,500-acre ranch about 40 years ago, and it’s now owned and operated by Scott and his brother Casey.

Stone is as much a natural resources manager as a rancher, with a protective eye on the ranch’s watersheds, trees, pasture and grass-fed cattle, and a genuine desire to leave the land better than he found it…

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Bird Flock Over Windmill
Arterra / UIG via Getty Images

Wind energy takes a toll on birds, but now there’s help

Given that entire species will be wiped out with climate change, when it comes to talking about the negative impact that windmills have on birds, it’s a very relative figure—one we have to keep in mind more than ever. Still, if there are ways to reduce the number of birds killed, and that’s a very positive thing.

“Researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have hit upon what could prove to be a simple way to protect birds from wind turbines. They’ve used the “signatures” of birds that are visible in raw weather radar data to generate bird maps and live migration forecasts designed to alert wind farm operators to the presence of birds at peak times…”

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