Given the choice, most of us would choose to breathe in fresh, clean air wherever we go. Instead, we breathe in soot, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and other pollutants emitted by the combustion engines of cars, trucks, buses and other modes of transportation. Often invisible and without odor, these pollutants cause a variety of health problems and do a number on the natural environment in the way of greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. These are just some of the reasons to celebrate World Car-Free Day on September 22nd.
Fewer Cars Combats Climate Change!
Climate change is leaving its mark on our planet with more frequent and intense storms, longer and more severe droughts, and extensive glacier melts. Flowering plants are out of synchrony with their pollinators. Many species must seek new habitat and migration routes. In response to this new unpredictability, the Conservancy is working with policy makers, community members, businesses, scientists, industry leaders and others to: Protect carbon-absorbing habitats on a large scale, reduce the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, help natural areas adapt to the impacts of climate change,and encourage the public to be carbon neutral.
Kentucky's Forests Help Offset Pollution!
Before urbanization, agriculture and infrastructure, Kentucky's forests and wetlands served as buffers from extreme weather and other natural events. In an effort to reduce flooding and damage in the future, the Conservancy makes it a priority to establish a more resilient landscape in forested areas like the state’s Big Rivers Corridor and in western Kentucky, where forests cover a significant portion of the landscape.
Kentucky's forests represent some of the most diverse hardwood species mixes in the nation. Unfortunately, the Bluegrass State loses about one square mile of these forests per week to uses such as roads, mining and urban development. When forests disappear, so do their important roles as air and water filters, wildlife habitat and important natural resource functions essential to both humans and wildlife. Reversing this trend will require the Conservancy to aggressively pursue a variety of creative conservation and restoration strategies, especially on private lands where the majority of Kentucky's forests remain.
Ways You Can Make A Difference!
- The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect and restore Kentucky's forests by making a contribution today!
- If you live in the Lexington area, consider ditching the car and instead ride one of Lexington’s “green” buses as part of your daily commute or to run your weekend errands.See their complete schedule and route information here.
- Join a carpool.
- Dust off your bike. Riding on two wheels instead of four is good for your health and for Kentucky's landscapes.