As AFF staffers prepare to head to New York City next week for the annual Climate Week, we are reminded of why we are doing the work we do. Across the years, AFF has walked the woodlands with thousands of rural landowners who care deeply about the health and wellbeing of their land and trees. Time and again, they’ve told us that the impacts of a changing climate have hit close to home – droughts, wildfires, invasive species, biodiversity loss, and more – leaving them worried about the future of their land and legacy.
Because of these and other concerns, hundreds of family forest owners enrolled in the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), a partnership between AFF and The Nature Conservancy, so that they can implement climate-smart forestry practices. Doing so not only helps them meet the needs of their woodlands and keep their forest in their families, but it also enables them to protect the future of our planet.
As we hit the pavement of Manhattan to engage in collaborative dialogue with the world’s leaders in climate action, we must represent the landowners who are quite literally “on the ground” implementing changes in how we care for our forests and the planet.
The following are a few voices out of the hundreds of landowners who have enrolled in FFCP to make a meaningful difference.
Tim Stout – Vermont: “I think we're at a point in climate change where we have to take immediate action and when you own a piece of land there are things you can do right away to help. I participate in FFCP because I want to demonstrate that the program is a viable natural climate solution.”
Louise Hartman – Pennsylvania: “You know, like they say, take your change at the end of the day and throw it in a jar, and at the end of a year, you’d be surprised at how much you have? Well, that’s what it’s like for me to enroll in FFCP. I’m contributing to helping the planet heal, to helping our species to be able to survive.”
Bob Etchison – West Virginia: “We have to do something, and FFCP allowed me to do something. There are a lot of people who have several acres or even in your backyard, that could have wildlife plots and butterfly sanctuaries. Extinction is happening. We better take care of the environment and nature; you won’t realize it until it’s gone. Climate change is here now and It’s just going to get worse.”
John Neil – Pennsylvania: "Enrolling in FFCP makes me feel like I'm contributing to addressing global warming. I can't imagine that the amount of carbon we put in the air is healthy. There's a lot of debate, but global warming is happening and anything I can do to help is the primary reason I signed up for FFCP.”
These family forest owners enrolled in FFCP because they believe in a better world and in something bigger than themselves. Their passion and potential to help the planet heal must remain central in the global discussions throughout this year’s Climate Week. Because without these communities, we don’t stand a chance against climate change.
To learn more about FFCP and how you can partner with us, visit familyforestcarbon.org
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