Yesterday, when I was watching the tv show Flashforward on hulu.com, I continually saw commercials by The Nature Conservancy. After seeing commercial after commercial from this organization, I decided to research them to see what ideas they have for solving the worlds environmental problems. One of the problems I have seen with the proposed solutions from other organizations and agencies to our environmental challenges is that nothing is concrete. Too often the problem is stated and a goal is set to eliminate that problem, but no concrete plan is proposed that says how that goal will be reached.
Here is the list of their five priorities:
- Passing carbon cap and trade legislation that will drive overall reductions in carbon emissions by as much as 20 percent by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050.
While this is an immense challenge in today’s economic climate, such legislation can help revive our economy and improve our quality of life through investment in energy conservation and new energy technologies and by providing a source of funding for the planned adaptation of natural landscapes to a warming Earth.
- Creating a new generation of Federal funding and landowner incentive programs to complete networks of conserved land and well managed working landscapes sufficient to withstand the pressures of climate change and continuing urbanization. The design of these systems should be guided by the State Wildlife and Forest Plans already authorized in law and should include re-investment in and protective management of the nation’s remarkable legacy of Federal lands.
- Encouraging Congress to provide the direction and resources to the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture to restore water resources in whole watersheds.
Such a move means re-evaluating the operating criteria of the nation’s dams, supporting more large scale restoration projects like that in Florida’s Everglades, passing National Fish Habitat Legislation, and better coordinating the use of the 2008 Farm Bill programs to assist farmers, ranchers and forest land owners to reduce polluted runoff.
- Bringing together state and Federal agencies to better plan out the future of our coastal regions — either through new legislation or through re-authorization of the Coastal Zone Management Act.
Through such action, we should decide as a nation in a cooperative way what should be protected, what can be restored, where to put various human uses like wind power and other energy development, and how to respond to sea level rise and increased storm intensity.
- And helping to restore America’s conservation standing in the world by our actions here at home, by our ratification of international environmental treaties and by increasing U.S. funding and technical assistance for conservation in the developing world.
After reading this list of priorities, or goals, I believe that the Nature Conservancy is taking the first step toward effective climate change and environmental awareness. They are identifying what they think are the most important issues and proposing concrete solutions for how they could be solved. For example, in #3, they state specific regions where they think water restoration is important. Also, in #5, they state that America should ratify environmental treaties. However, about the other issues, they simply suggest the right people to come up with solutions. For example, in #1 and #2, they propose increased funding to solve the problem and not any concrete ideas. In #4, their only proposition is to join state and federal agencies to solve the problem.
I definitely think this organization is doing a good job and is making the right first step, but in order for any of these problems to be solved, we need concrete solutions. We can’t just state the problem and say that it needs to be solved, we have to have practical, concrete ideas for how they can be.