Last Tuesday, we introduced you to Danielle
Williams, a member of National Geographic’s Green Initiatives Subcommittee
and fellow with HSBC and Earthwatch Institute’s Climate Change program. She’s been
out in the field (well, forest) in Edgewater, Maryland, as part of the
“Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing Climate” project. When we last
heard from Danielle, she was planning to embark on her trip. See what she’s
been up to since then!
Below are excerpts from Danielle’s Earthwatch blog on Monday, November
3, and Wednesday, November 5. To read the full text, as well as additional
entries from Danielle’s team members, visit the Earthwatch blog.
First, we got to know the scientists that we’ll be working
with this week, including Dr. Geoffrey (‘Jess’) Parker, head scientist in the
Forest Ecology lab at SERC, and other field staff.
Then, we learned about the local environment. Specifically,
we learned about the history of logging and forest management in the immediate
area, as well as the ways in which carbon is stored and released as part of the
natural cycle of forest ecosystems.
Next, we familiarized ourselves with the tree species common
to this area, including tulip poplar, white oak and hickory, and we learned how
to individually measure the “DBH” (diameter breast height) of a tree.
We also analyzed the difference between what is thought to be the only small
patch of old growth temperate forest in the area, as compared to the more
recently logged areas that are in recovery mode.
Our evening session was further proof that the initial
excitement and synergy amongst our team members was real! We did some
brainstorming and came up with a provisional list of recommendations.
Some of the initial themes addressing climate change in our
communities and organizations included the more typical: getting corporations
to act more responsibly, analyzing the impact of tourism on our region and how
to approach tourism differently, social marketing of “greener”
actions, awareness and restructuring of mass transportation and/or smart
growth, and reducing our energy consumption.
Here are a few additional ideas we came up with:
–Create more formal, federally supported life-cycle
assessments of major appliances and energy-consuming products. Create
cradle-to-cradle relationships with major corporations as part of a national
strategy to recycle and/or repurpose old appliances.
–Use the GHG (greenhouse gas) World Emissions map to create an online interactive tool that
will adjust the changes in habit and energy and land usage to show the output
in CO2 in comparison.
–Reduce the impact of urban heat islands. Work with local cities and their
builders and existing smart/urban growth groups to push for green roofs, LEED
buildings, more bike lanes, walkable communities, etc. to reduce the heat
island effect, as well as our output of CO2 emissions and over consumption of
–How do we get kids involved in reducing CO2 output? The public first needs to
understand where those CO2 and other GHG emissions come from.
–Create a few specific social marketing tools to implement
in conjunction with any of the above projects as a way of inspiring members of
the public to become Climate Change Stakeholders in their own right.
We’ll be featuring Danielle’s final list of recommendations for addressing climate change, reflections on her experience with the “Sustainable
Forest Management in a Changing Climate” project, and much more from other
guest bloggers during Geography Awareness Week. So make sure to come back and