Grateful for Georgia’s Commitment to Conservation
by Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia
This time of year, as we all reflect on the abundance in our lives, I am especially thankful to the people of Georgia for making conservation a mandate. The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment passed with almost 83 percent of the vote – more than 3.1 million Georgians said YES to conservation.
With the recent release of a federal report detailing the expected impacts of climate change and a study by The Nature Conservancy and partners highlighting the very real potential for natural climate solutions, I am grateful to live in a place that appreciates and values the many benefits of land and water conservation. From coastal Georgia to the Southern Blue Ridge mountains, nature unites us regardless of our political perspectives.
The National Climate Assessment, released late last week by the federal administration, concludes that “climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.” In Georgia, we know that protecting our coast and the people who live there from the increasing risk of flooding, storm-related winds and tidal surges is a conservation priority, which is why The Nature Conservancy and partners are helping Camden County and other coastal communities understand and reduce their risk of flooding, learn about the value of nature-based solutions and plan for flooding scenarios.
Through coastal resiliency, Georgia will work to adapt to climate change. And according to a study from The Nature Conservancy and multiple institutional partners, there are natural solutions like reforestation and grassland restoration that Georgia can use to mitigate climate change. All told, U.S. forests, wetlands and agricultural lands could absorb one-fifth of greenhouse gas pollution, which is equivalent to the pollution from all U.S. cars and trucks.
This year, Georgians clearly demonstrated we care about land and water conservation and understand that our choices today can set us on a sustainable path to meet the needs of people AND nature tomorrow. On behalf of everyone at The Nature Conservancy in Georgia and our many supporters and partners statewide, THANK YOU for the show of support and hope for the future.