By: Doug Smith, BRN Board President & Ann Gosline, BRN Board Member
Climate change mitigation and adaptation are the defining issues of our time. While the public discourse on planetary warming tends to focus on carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning, it is equally important to develop strategies to store carbon in plants and soils. The programs of the partner organizations that make up our network--Borderlands Restoration Network itself, Cuenca Los Ojos, Deep Dirt Farm, Wildlife Corridors, and Borderlands Restoration L3C—work squarely in that dimension, stressing habitat rehabilitation, watershed health, regenerative range and grassland management, permaculture, and native plant propagation. The word “climate” may not appear front and center here, but the climate implications of all that work are always close. In fact, the climate emergency backgrounds (and sometimes foregrounds) pretty much everything we do.
We work every day on projects to slow climate change and to make our ecosystems and communities more resilient to the hotter and drier borderlands we are likely to see in the years to come. Riparian and riverine restoration features centrally in the work of CLO, BRN, and DDF. BRN’s and WC’s native habitat enhancement work supports the diversity and viability of regional food webs. A BRN-DDF collaboration is stewarding production and distribution of wild foods, including native perennials, for a more self-sufficient local food system. BRN’s bats and agave work, including the Bats and Bacanora project that aims to buttress ecological relationships between agaves, pollinators, and mezcal culture in Sonora, looks to restore the abundance of an historically important arid lands plant, and one that may well figure significantly in a livable arid lands future.
BRN’s “blue carbon” project extends our carbon storage efforts into the mangroves of the Sonoran coast. All of these endeavors require scientific monitoring and evaluation. To that end, we are also working on appropriate methodologies to gauge the effectiveness of our sequestration efforts. We could go on. We leave it to the authors to describe some of our projects in more details in other blogs in this special Earth Day series of blogs.
All organizations in the BRN family see their work as part of a necessary paradigm shift toward a restorative economy. We are part of a global effort to create synergies between human economic activity and natural systems in order to build more prosperous, stable, and socially just local economies. Whether or not we achieve such a sea change will in large part determine the qualities of the human future in relationship to the rest of the biosphere. And in the face of too-little progress up to now, time is very much of the essence. That is, the transition toward restorative economies is already underway all over the planet, but we need to speed things up. Our objective is to provide inspiration and leadership in our corner of the world, and we are presently doing so in at least three ways.
First, our organizations themselves are part of this economy, providing training and livelihoods in restorative economy jobs. Those jobs involve growing and distributing native plants, restoring stream systems, and conducting research to support this work. For example, in Patagonia, BRN is one of the most significant local employers. Cuenca Los Ojos and its sister organization in Mexico employ dozens of people in watershed restoration and conservation ranching.
Second, our education programs inspire and train youth and others to do the work now and lead others to do it in the future. One of those programs, Borderlands Earth Care Youth, has directly prepared young people in our region to attend college in conservation-related sciences. BRN and CLO support college and post-grad interns on both sides of the border who then proceed to other remarkable restorative economy projects. Deep Dirt Farm has trained hundreds of kids and adults in permaculture principles and skills.
Third, we are beginning to flesh out collaboratives across our organizational network and with community leaders to think and work in restorative economy terms. This has become the lodestar of our mission. To inaugurate it, we have formed a coalition of nonprofits and business organizations to commission a comprehensive study of nature-based economic opportunities in Santa Cruz County.
We hope you enjoy our Earth Day series of blogs, digging deeper into the work of BRN and our network. Make sure to sign-up for our monthly enewsletters and follow us on our social channels to keep in touch and informed about our work.
As it becomes safer in the future, we invite you to also join us for hands on volunteer work. Now is a great time to get on our list and be notified when future volunteer opportunities arise.
And, lastly, our work is only possible through the generous support of donors. We have a wide variety of giving options from monthly, to special giving societies and major and planned gifts.
Learn more about supporting our work at this link, together we can rebuild, restore, and reconnect the borderlands!
SEARCH OUR BLOG