To the editor,
Many people are finding it easier to accept climate change is happening more quickly than could be imagined.
They can see the impacts such as increasingly dangerous and powerful storms viewed on the news or experienced firsthand, the extinction or widespread loss of animals that were familiar and common when we were children such as Monarch butterflies and more frequent and dangerous infectious diseases that may be related to or exacerbated by habitat loss and climate change.
We know that the primary cause of climate change is the rapid increase of carbon being released into the atmosphere due to human activity. We also see that not everyone can or wants to take advantage of many of the solutions that are available to us such as electric or hybrid vehicles, mass transit, wind and solar energy or eating less beef. What if there were something that would make a big difference that would also be relatively low cost and less disruptive to our lives?
Research shows that natural climate solutions, NCS, can help reduce the amount of emissions needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Recent studies build on decades of research show confirm that protecting and restoring forests and grasslands and improving agricultural practices can provide one third — 33 percent — of the emissions reductions needed to limit the impact of climate change, well below the cost of alternative approaches. The work was done by Nature4Climate (nature4climate.org), a consortium of conservation organizations, governments, educational research institutions and the United Nations. Minnesota organizations and institutions were participants and contributors.
One of the main reasons the cost for natural climate solutions is low cost is it leverages the existing base of wild and natural areas — which also protect our waters — with restoration of lands that are relatively unproductive and found to have little economic value. It also enables ranchers, foresters, farmers and local governments to find low cost ways to increase production, efficiencies, and profits while retaining or increasing carbon storage.
When the topic of climate change comes up you can talk about how nature can be a low cost part of the solution to climate change. And the impact on our lives and our livelihoods would be invaluable.