The National Park Service is reducing our fleet of gasoline-powered vehicles and is switching to hybrid or electric-powered vehicles. Photo by NPS.
When we burn fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transportation, food production, and other day-to-day activities, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As CO2
, the principle greenhouse gas, has increased it has increased global average temperatures, and is projected to cause further changes in global climate, with negative implications for vegetation, wildlife, oceans, water resources, and human populations. Emissions reduction—the limiting of CO2
and other greenhouse gas production from human activity—is an important step in addressing climate change. There are many simple actions agencies and individuals can take to reduce our daily carbon emissions.
Your choices do make a difference. As an agency or an individual, we have many opportunities to contribute to finding a solution to climate change. While separately it may be harder to see the positive affects, consider the difference we can make collectively by committing to make a difference. Participation does not mean giving up modern conveniences. Look for opportunities to help collect data that will be used to make decisions about managing resources, explore careers in climate change, or learn about personal choices that can make a difference.
Climate Friendly Actions
The National Park Service, as one of the nation's leading resource stewardship agencies, is developing management practices that lead by setting a good example through conservation and education. Many parks are actively engaged in an array of green practices; other parks are just now getting on board. Here are some climate friendly activities we are undertaking.
- Purchasing energy efficient products, such as ENERGY STAR® approved office equipment and light bulbs and provide guidelines for reducing energy consumption.
- Converting to renewable energy sources such as solar or wind generated power.
- Developing and utilizing "green" designs for construction of new or remodeled buildings.
- Providing alternative transportation options for within-park commuting for staff and visitors, such as shuttle services or another form of alternate transportation for travel to and within the park.
- Purchasing hybrid electric or propane-fueled vehicles for official use.
- Using teleconferences or other forms of modern technology in place of travel to conferences and meetings.
- Engaging partners and enlist their support (e.g., tribal neighboring agencies, private land-holders) in climate change discussions, responses, and mitigation.
- Developing management guidelines for managing uncertainty surrounding climate change effects in parks. Incorporating anticipated climate change impacts, such as decreases in lake levels or changes in vegetation and wildlife, into management plans.
- Actively engage in research and scientific study in parks.
- Designing work projects around renewable energy, moving away from projects that rely solely on fossil fuel-based transportation and infrastructure.
- Providing recycling options for solid waste and trash generated within the park.
- Initiating restoration efforts as a means for enhancing species ability to cope with stresses and adapt to climatic and environmental changes. Through restoration of natural areas, we can lessen climate change impacts on species and their habitats. These efforts will help preserve biodiversity, natural resources, and recreational opportunities.
- Restoring and conserving connectivity within habitats, protecting and enhancing instream flows for fish, and maintaining and developing access corridors to climate change refugia. Restoring natural hydrologic functions of coastal wetlands to help protect coastal areas against hurricanes and flooding.
- Posting climate change information in easily accessible locations such as on bulletin boards and websites.
- Training park employees and partners on the effects of climate change on resources.
- Incorporating climate change research and information into interpretive products and making staff available to help visitors make the connection between reducing greenhouse gas emissions and resource stewardship.