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Climate Change Initiative

Natural climate solutions can currently play an important role in slowing down climate change. Helping your community know they are part of the solution could help people view land conservation in their backyards with new urgency.

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust has been working on meeting people where they are and finding common ground around natural climate solutions and climate conversations.

Their website explains these three areas of focus as well as the projected impacts of climate change.

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Solar And Ag
Hyperion Systems, LLC

Farmland and Compatible Solar Webinar Series

You and your land trust don't have to host all the programs nor be an expert in climate change to make a difference. Instead, you can share information to help inspire those around you. American Farmland Trust has a number of very interesting webinar discussions for you to share.

Farmland is a critical resource in our country, particularly in areas that are heavily forested or developed. American Farmland Trust recently released the Farms Under Threat report, documenting those challenges.

Yet climate change is the most significant threat to conservation we have ever faced. Rather than remove forests, many are locating solar fields on agricultural lands. Can it be done well? Yes.

Find out how in this webinar series focusing on smart solar siting, balancing solar siting with conservation, growing the solar market, and turning state and local priorities into sound policy. While this is focused on New England, there will be many transferable concepts for wherever you are located.

Webinars are free and running on September 23, September 30, October 7, and October 15. 

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Drone Above Road And Evergreens
Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

It’s time for businesses to aim higher. Here’s one way to do it—natural climate solutions

This is the sort of article you can share with community members, businesses, and your local land trust. Granted, with Covid-19, businesses are often facing lower cash-flow. But that's not to say you can't start planting the seeds of what could be possible once we get through the worst of this pandemic.

Corporations are (rightly) first focused on reducing their emissions. That’s absolutely where they need to start, and it should be their highest climate-related priority. Thanks to pressure by activists, customers, shareholders and employees, companies are now taking action. They’re not waiting for government regulations mandating them to do so. They’re doing what they can to reduce their carbon emissions by using less energy and switching to renewables.

And when they can’t reduce further, they are now also committing to purchase large volumes of offsets to reach carbon neutrality. Some companies go even further and aim to reach net negative.

This is where NCS enters the picture…

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Big Solar Panel
Maine Audubon

Climate change and community impact

Is your land trust, or local community, looking for ways to connect and inspire change around climate change? You might be able to replicate what Maine Audubon has been doing.

Climate communication 101 involves meeting people where they are, connecting with that they see, and finding ways for people to participate in the climate solution in a manner that also adds value to their lives.

Maine Audubon has done just that with its Climate Spotlight series. Audubon’s research has documented that if left unchecked climate change will cause the loss of millions of birds. They’re playing a leadership role and helping to frame the issue:

“Climate change is the biggest environmental issue facing Maine, and we’re not backing down. Maine Audubon’s new Climate Spotlight series is aimed at giving consumers and advocates the information they need to take action and understand how climate change impacts Maine. Topics in this free online discussion series include: getting involved in rooftop and community solar; natural climate solutions; transportation; and home energy efficiency.”

Check it out, and see if this is something you could create in your community.

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Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership

Grant for climate resilience outreach, education

This initiative also protects open spaces for public enjoyment in the form of parks, trails, and hunting lands. The threats of climate change compound the need for coordinated land protection effort to ensure a vibrant Delmarva Peninsula for years to come.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy: This project, entitled “Rise and Thrive: Building Understanding and Support for Climate Action on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” is the second grant awarded to ESLC’s coastal resilience program by the Rauch Foundation in as many years.

The purpose of this project is to directly engage public and private audiences in order to build regional public support for climate adaptation solutions. The Eastern Shore of Maryland is the country’s third most vulnerable region to sea level rise, behind south Florida and Louisiana. Because of the threats of increased flooding, the loss of properties, and widespread ecological impacts, ESLC is working with communities to take action on these threats today…

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Black And White Farmers
Dorie Hagler

Opinion: Climate change is a local issue

One of the critical aspects of climate change work is to talk about it, ground it in the local reality of what people are experiencing, and then show how they can be part of the solution. Here's an example of an opinion piece in the press:

“It seems clear that many residents of Taos understand and are experiencing signs of different climate evolving here and wish our government to acknowledge that we need to alter our planning for this future. Fortunately for Taos, we have had in place for many years a mechanism for landowners to preserve this kind of land—Taos Land Trust.

But the town and county need to acknowledge and put into place official protections for arable land. And, of course, aside from forever destroying arable, acequia-watered land, an entity like Family Dollar only chips away at the unique beauty of the authentic New Mexican village like El Prado…”

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Kennebec Land Trust
Brian Kent | Kennebec Land Trust

Sustainability and climate change initiatives

Increasingly, land trusts are recognizing that the public expects an authentic, integrated approach. Small land trusts can help connect the dots in a big way.

In their most recent climate initiative, the Kennebec Land Trust Finance Committee worked with Kennebec Savings Bank Investment and Trust Services to move their investments into a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) portfolio that is aligned with their mission. SRI considers environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact.

As managers of forestland, they use and promote forest management practices that maximize carbon sequestration, including: protecting soil carbon, where about 50% of the carbon inventory is typically stored on a forested acre; promoting native species and increasing plant diversity to improve forest resiliency and carbon storage; harvesting sustainably; and taking a long-term view by growing high-value and larger diameter trees. On the ground, their forestry days at the Curtis Homestead are teaching the next generations…

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Saddle Peak
Estes Valley Land Trust

Land trust breakfast focuses on climate change

This breakfast was last year—but it's a great idea for your land trust in the future (virtual or not). With Covid-19, virtual breakfasts are happening more—and that's allowing for personal conversations with people from all over the region.

The breakfast focused on the potential effects of climate change in the Rocky Mountain West.

The announcement stated: Are we experiencing a warming climate and if so, what affect will it have on extreme weather such as droughts and floods? Could warmer temperatures result in longer fire seasons and catastrophic wildfires? How will these disturbances affect our regional ecosystem?

“Our educational breakfasts allow land trust members up-close access to scientific professionals that can explain our complex Rocky Mountain environment,” said Jeffrey Boring, Executive Director of the Estes Valley Land Trust. “We’re thrilled to have Dr. Monique Rocca, Associate Professor, Colorado State University and Jeff Lukas, Associate Scientist, University of Colorado Boulder, as our keynote speakers.”

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Sustainable Solutions

Sequestering carbon and enhancing our local landscapes

How are you working with local community groups, businesses, and partners to ramp up climate change impacts? You may have to restructure activities to meet social distancing and safety requirements until there is a Covid-19 vaccine, but land trusts are being creative.

Last year, almost 50 businesses and individuals offset their carbon footprints with ECC [Evergreen Carbon Capture] by planting 4,038 conifer trees, which will absorb 20,190 tons of CO2 over the next 100 years. Though only a drop in the bucket compared to what our native forests were once capable of, every tree planted and cared for provides a myriad of benefits like wildlife habitat, and improved water and air quality, which bring our landscapes one step closer to the ecological function of their pasts.

ECC offers the unique opportunity for partners to join our tree planting efforts at volunteer work parties. This year our field partners from Adopt-a-Stream FoundationDirt CorpsForterraFriends of the Burke Gilman TrailGreen Kirkland PartnershipGreen Redmond PartnershipGreen River CoalitionGreen Seattle Partnership, and Stewardship Partners led 11 events for 367 volunteers to plant trees throughout the Puget Sound region, from Auburn to Marysville….

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TNC Climate Graphic Map Of USA
Land Trust Alliance/TNC

A Call to Action for land conservation in America

The Land Trust Alliance's President and CEO Andrew Bowman spoke at the national land trust conference this October with a rousing call to action...

Land conservation is playing—and can play—a critical role in slowing down climate change as well as adapting to its impact. Here, Andrew Bowman outlines a vision for what could be done…

“Let’s first examine the role that land conservation can play in mitigating climate change, both by preventing the conversion of intact natural lands and through land management practices, such as reforestation and active soil management on working lands..”

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