Concerned about the global loss of forest cover and biodiversity, the Trustees of the WestWind Foundation decided to create an Environment Program that would support effective NGOs that address these issues. In late 2006, WestWind formally launched its new climate initiative. The initiative supports non-profit organizations that are working throughout the Southeast United States to build public support for immediate action on climate change. The foundation will consider a range of strategies, but has prioritized organizations working to: promote state and/or regional collaborative action through creative partnerships with business; launch grassroots campaigns and educational efforts, particularly to stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants; or enable state and/or local government action by working with local leaders.
Did you know?
- Coal-fired power plants are the source of almost 60 percent of the power in the Southeast U.S., and account for 590 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually in the region. That’s the equivalent of the carbon stored in more than 440 million acres of pine and fir forest.
- About half of the world’s original forest cover is gone; another 30 percent is either degraded or fragmented.
- Efforts to increase carbon storage in U.S. forests could sequester an additional 40 to 80 million metric tons of carbon annually, equivalent to about 3-5 percent of current annual U.S. fossil fuel emissions.
- Transportation accounts for 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
- Today’s atmosphere contains 32 percent more carbon dioxide than at the start of the industrial era, causing the northern hemisphere to be warmer than at any other point in the past 1000 years.
- By 2050, it is expected that climate change will cause the extinction of more than one million land dwelling species.
- Medium and small scale renewable energy generation is a crucial component to a transition to an emissions free energy future. Companies such as DownEast Renewable Energy help to fund and develop solar installations for medium and small scale sites and businesses. These companies help to make it possible for small businesses and communities to access the benefits of renewable energy, and contribute to the overall shift towards a more sustainable energy system.