New restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court on the EPA to limit emissions from power plants have prompted an urgent call for green restoration to cool communities and the planet.
— Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA, July 5, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Last week, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) restricted the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The move is a significant setback for communities working hard at the local, state and federal levels to reduce emissions and meet agreed targets by 2030 and beyond. It undermines efforts to reduce global warming that is already harming people, wildlife and the land and denies the right to a clean and healthy environment.
While environmental groups that focus on federal policy strategize on how to rectify the impacts of this decision, community groups and local governments can include and scale strategies that restore ecosystems and biodiversity. to cool the climate locally and globally, in addition to local initiatives to reduce greenhouse effects. gas emission. This is particularly urgent in light of the recent SCOTUS decision.
“Our land and water management practices are contributing to, and even warming, local regions and the planet,” says Jim Laurie, restoration ecologist at Biodiversity for a Livable Climate. “When we destroy the forests, wetlands, grasslands, soil, and remove wild animals from the land, we destroy the earth’s ability to cool itself,” says Laurie.
Natural ecosystems have an inherent mechanism for cooling the earth’s surface through small water cycles. Water moves from the soil through plants and into the atmosphere as water vapor through evapotranspiration. Water vapor carries heat to the atmosphere where it condenses into clouds and releases the heat. This process cools the surface of the earth. The clouds release the water in the form of rain and snow which are absorbed by the ground and the water cycle begins again.
Plants effectively cool an area through their role in the water cycle. When sunlight strikes bare ground, asphalt or buildings, its energy is absorbed and then re-radiated as heat. But when vegetation is abundant, plants use the energy of the sun to move water through roots, trunks, stems, and through leaves in the form of water vapor without increasing temperature.
“The impressive potential for plant evapotranspiration to cool an area is evident,” says Adam Sacks, executive director of Biodiversity for a Livable Climate. “It’s much warmer standing on asphalt or lying on a sandy beach than under a tree or in a forest. It is the forests, grasslands, wetlands and healthy soils that keep the earth’s surface cool.
Logging and clearcutting forests, altering wetlands, degrading soils so they no longer absorb and retain rainwater – these practices destroy the earth’s ability to cool itself. Hunting wild animals to near extinction disrupts nature’s strategy to replenish the soil with nutrients and microbes from animal waste.
Worse still, the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers on lawns, farms and in forest management programs further destroys the soil, including its vital web of fungi and microbes, along with all other life forms. and biodiversity essential to the development of ecosystems. at their optimum level, maximizing their cooling potential.
To remedy such damage, there are many remedies. For example, convert lawns to native plants, apply compost to soil, plant cover crops, catch rainwater in swales on the ground where it falls, cover all bare soil with vegetation , plant mini-forests in the parks and create habitats for the return. pollinators and other varieties of insects and wild animals. Additionally, using microbes and nutrients instead of chemicals to fertilize soil has many benefits, including reducing toxicity and improving soil and human health.
The good news is that these strategies are working not only to cool communities and lands around the world, but also to minimize or even reverse other impacts of climate change, including drought, floods and wildfires. All over the world, these solutions are already being implemented, with impressive results. For some examples, see Ecosystem Restoration Camps working on the ground to restore more than seven million acres of land around the world by 2030; and Regenerate Earth, which promotes nature’s rich potential to cool and restore the planet.
Nature’s solutions to global warming are available to everyone, everywhere. While the Supreme Court is out of step with the work of communities across the country to reduce emissions, ecosystem restoration initiatives can be quickly scaled up to cool the planet.
Biodiversity for a Livable Climate is a non-profit organization working to change the climate conversation by demonstrating the power of ecosystem restoration to cool the earth. Videos are available, including an introductory playlist on the power of eco-restoration. Requests welcome.
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