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…
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…”
Pollinators, solar, and your land trust
There’s a major opportunity to help slow down climate change and ramp up pollinator gardens with community and large-scale solar.
The timing is critical given new research is documenting that climate change is decimating pollinators of all kinds. As one article notes, “it’s a great year for monarch butterflies [but] climate change means that won’t last.”
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C (and thus saving countless species) would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
The good news is that solar pollinator farms can make a big difference. That’s also good news to landowners and farmers who could benefit from the regular income that solar payments provide. For many, that might make the difference between selling out or staying on the land…
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…
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…”
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.
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.
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…
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…
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…