This is where I went this year, and what I’m doing about it. 2019 has been full of opportunities for me to travel. I was able to share my work on two continents, celebrate friends’ weddings in national parks, spend quality time with family and friends, and re-visit old haunts. For these trips I am extremely grateful. Yet, this travel has a huge impact. Sure, it’s exhausting to move around so much (just ask my housemates — looking at you @willrussack and @richmojeff). But that’s not what I mean. My calculations show that I added an extra TWELVE THOUSAND pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere *just* as a result of these travels, on top of my normal yearly emissions. 12,320 lbs is, according to the EPA, about how much carbon 7.3 acres of U.S. forests sequester from the atmosphere in one year. So, do I plant a forest? In lieu of walking around planting trees, I’ve purchased carbon offsets designed to accomplish a similar goal. Carbon offsets are dollars given to a project or set of projects that has a goal of removing, or preventing, a certain amount of CO2 emissions. I chose to support the planting of biodiverse forests in Panama, a Gold Standard Verified project, to offset my emissions for the year. Unfortunately, this isn’t cheap (in fact, it cost me over $100), and a unique set of circumstances allowed me to spend this money (most of this travel wasn’t paid for by me). Bottom line: carbon offsets are’t for everyone. But, as @protectourwinters recently pointed out, “instead of chasing perfection, pursue progress.” Carbon offsets are a way of assigning a real value to the emissions that I create, and to help me and others think carefully about other actionable ways to reduce my cumulative impact. If you’re interested in learning more, there are links in my bio. In particular, @protectourwinters has a great new carbon offsetting calculator on their website. I encourage you to check it out. These maps show all the locations I visited this year, tracked by Google. There are about ~30-50 points per day. If you’re interested, you can explore an interactive web map at the link in my bio. #madewithmapbox. @mapbox.
On January 1st, 1970, the United States (led by Richard Nixon) responded to a groundswell of public concern for the government's impact on the natural world with the creation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Whenever a Federal agency (like the Army, or the Department of Transportation) intends to pursue a project—building a road, for example, or leasing a parcel of public land for mineral extraction—NEPA requires that it must first assess any impacts the proposed project may have upon the natural environment via an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Part of the process of completing an EIS is asking the public to comment on the proposed action. One of the organizations held accountable to NEPA's requirements is the Forest Service. Frustrated by the time and effort required to complete these requirements, it has proposed an alteration to its NEPA procedure which would allow for the broadening of categorical exclusions — broad-brush approvals — for certain kinds of projects on National Forests that they think won't have an impact on the environment. Examples of categorical exclusions that the Forest Service has given are for certain kinds of logging, pipeline leases, and special use permits (like for large recreation events). Any activity that falls under these exclusions won't receive an environmental impacts statement, the public won't be notified of the activity, and the public won't be able to comment. One way to view this change is that it will increase efficiency in the Forest Service. Another way to view it is as a potent disenfranchisement of the American public with regard to their agency over their public lands. This is really good news if you're trying to mine a National Forest. Today was the last day to submit a public comment on this proposed change. In a somewhat ironic turn of events, the Forest Service extended the comment period for a few more days. Go to the link in my bio to learn more and comment on this important change that has a chance to seriously impact your experience on your national forests. @u.s.forestservice / @usdagov #itsallyours #nepa #publiclands #publiclandsinpublichands #publiclandsloveyou
“Global climate change is feedback—it’s not a problem, it’s a gift.” • • A few days ago Paul Hawken visited Aspen, and told us about @projectdrawdown—one of the most comprehensive efforts to evaluate the efficacy of practical, existing solutions to reverse climate change. I had the opportunity to show Paul and his wife Jasmine around our small slice of Aspen and the Castle Creek Valley, and learned from them the power of deep reflection and an appreciation of one’s place in a complicated system.
another day getting elevated in the castle creek valley with @ginevramoore.
I’m back in Aspen for a bit. There’s still snow here. Have you written your public comment against the Pebble Mine draft EIS yet? Tell the govt that they did a bad job. Link in bio. (Thanks @mattlanning for the geotag inspiration).
several weeks ago we won a major victory in wild lands conservation with the passing of SR. 47, (a.k.a. “The Dingell Bill”), which helps to conserve vast swaths of our American landscape for generations to come. A big part of this bill is the employment of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to protect many miles of waterways in California, Oregon, Utah, and New England. Check out the link in my bio for more, and a cool map that @ngottliebphoto and I made. #wildandscenic #sr47