I've never hugged a tree. But recently, I've been inspired to go on a new eco-kick.
I have some time on my hands since Facebook and I are taking a break. I desperately need a detox. Now that I won't be checking the status updates of my 700 friends, half of whom I do not know, I can ponder ways to live green.
Where do I start? First, I can take my own coffee mug to Starbucks, bring my reusable grocery bag to the store, buy organic produce, and reduce paper waste at work. I may even try being a vegetarian. These are all great starting points.
Each choice we make can be made in one of two ways -- to be or not to be green.
Recently, my family had a discussion at the dinner table about what we are going to do with a family farm, most of which is wetlands. The first thought is to sell to a developer who will subdivide and most likely create cookie-cutter "McMansions." This option would be lucrative, but we will have missed out on an opportunity to preserve a piece of nature. We will have lost the soul of the land.
What if there was a creative way to preserve our land and also make a profit?
I recently learned about something called Wetlands Mitigation Banking. Basically, mitigation banking creates an economic incentive for restoring, creating, and preserving wetlands. A mitigation bank site is a property used to earn credits to compensate for adverse impacts to wetlands due to development. Agencies, utilities, and private sector developers all purchase these credits for a market price. A landowner has the potential to make a large profit.
My family is making a green choice. By preserving our farm as wetlands, we will provide clean air, water, and open space to the community. As development pressures encroach upon our Chesapeake Bay town, those wetlands will become even more valuable.
Our family contribution will last a lot longer than any suburban neighborhood. Most importantly, we will have set an example.
To be or not to be green? That is the question.
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