Have you noticed a change in the season? And I don’t mean the transition from spring to summer or summer to fall, I am talking about wetter summers, warmer winters, and earlier crop seasons.
We are beginning see the impact climate change is having right here, right now in the Driftless Area. Consistent with predictions from a wide range of climate scientists, we are experiencing more intense storm events here in the Midwest, which destroys local infrastructure and washes millions of tons of soil off our farm fields into river systems.
While the most important ways to slow the Climate Change are to forgo fossil fuel use, reduce waste, and consume less, land conservation can also play a very important role reducing its impact.
In fact, land conservation offers a double benefit for the climate. Not only does it help absorb greenhouse gases through the conservation of green space, it also prevents significant greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise result from development, protects soils for farming, improves water quality, retains critical habitats for wildlife and reduces threats to our built environment (i.e., our homes and towns).
By incorporating climate science into acquisition and stewardship planning, we can directly address climate impacts and promote climate resilience. We can help with practices such as carbon sequestration in forests, or drafting easements that allow for people to sell their excess energy back to the power company, or simply educating folks.
Here at Driftless, our goal is to work with you to invest in ways to protect unique habitats, help protect soils and increase soil carbon, identify opportunities for energy conservation and create more sustainable habitats, right here, where we live.
One thing is clearer now more than ever before – our kids and grandkids are depending on us to do the right thing. The good news is that over 70% of Americans understand that climate change is happening, which is the first step to action. Together, we can be part of the solution.
Check out online resources devoted to climate change science, education and adaptation:
NOAA Climate Services (www.climate.gov)
Climate Smart Habitat Conservation (habitat.noaa.gov/ourwork/climate.html)
EPA Smart Growth and Climate Change (epa.gov/smartgrowth/ climatechange.html)
Climate Central (climatecentral.org)
US Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center (www.fs.fed.us/ccrc)
US Global Change Research Program (www.globalchange.gov)
Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (cakex.org)