Author Topic: New Texas nonprofit offers novel approach for preserving coastal lands, combating global warming  (Read 306 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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Houston Chronicle by  Perla Trevizo Aug. 13, 2019

Herff Cornelius and his family have ranched in the Texas Gulf Coast for five generations, four in Matagorda County, but he is struggling to keep the tradition going.

Growing up, he was one of nine siblings. Even though he was the only boy, his sisters did as much on the ranch as he did in the kitchen. He and his wife Nancy had two children, but both went off to college and can’t be as involved.

Now Cornelius has a chance to get a helping hand in maintaining his ranch from an unlikely source: A new initiative aimed at protecting coastal lands and combating global warming.

Scientists stress the urgency of keeping the planet from getting warmer, citing the need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, and land can play an important role in doing just that. Natural ecosystems such as Texas coastal marshes, prairies and bottomland hardwood forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and incorporate it into their roots. That carbon then becomes part of the soil and can remain there for a long time.

Texas has more than 8 million acres of undeveloped coastal lands, but 80 percent is privately owned, so finding a way to work with landowners is a must.

“Traditional conservation organization methods such as buying land for preservation or doing conservation easements have sort of reached their audience,” said Azure Bevington, a coastal ecologist. “Part of it is that we need something new to move even farther ahead.”

After years of trial and error, a group of local environmentalists created the nonprofit Texas Coastal Exchange to help protect natural lands. The project was officially launched this week.

Under the nonprofit’s model, in exchange for not selling or developing his land for 10 years, Cornelius would get a payment from a person or company making a donation equivalent to their “carbon footprint” — say, the emissions caused by driving a car. The amount of the grant is based on the size of his property, the ecosystem and how much carbon dioxide it’s able to store.

“By necessity in Texas, we found a pathway that works for private landowners and works for conservation and is a pathway that, as far as I know, no one else has discovered,” said Jim Blackburn, an environmental law professor at Rice University.

Carbon dioxide occurs naturally in the atmosphere, but it is also released by burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, propane, oil and coal, and the level of it in the atmosphere is at the highest point in human history.

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Offline IsailedawayfromFR

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Any effort to combat global warming here is such a ridiculously small amount compared to the entire earth ecosystem as to make it a non-effort.

Better to save your donation money and spend it wisely.
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