When a lot of folk think about public lands and the value of these places to serve our efforts to curb global climate change they think development. They think of wind farms or solar arrays. If you think about it you can’t really blame them, that’s all they’ve had to think about – with the endless commercials put on by the big “renewable” industry (usually Big Oil patting itself on the back for diversifying), news reports, and politicians making every promise under the sun that the next shiny technology will save the day and let the public keep its wasteful habits. Unfortunately, this thinking doesn’t do a whole lot of good at reducing global warming gases – that’s because renewable energy technologies don’t replace fossil fuel power plants – thus far, they’re doing little more than to serve future increased demand for energy. It’s more cheap energy so people don’t have to think about how they use it. And the planning ! Well, these huge developments on public lands aren’t any good for wildlife either – usually they go where not a lot else has, opening that up has meant that some of the last critical habitat for many species is coveted by some of the largest economic power-houses.
When you think about public lands and the value that these places have to serve our efforts to curb global climate change I’d like you to consider a new idea that is as old as dirt ~ passive restoration. Yes, I’m suggesting that part of the answer might be to remove our footprint on those places we can – and in doing so – let the land catch it’s breath.