When most of us think about why it’s important to save Mount Diablo, we naturally turn to reasons like protecting critical habitat for rare species and preserving beautiful open spaces for future generations. We think of hikes with fresher air and gorgeous vistas, experiences that give us temporary respite from our busy lives, contribute to our mental well-being, and connect us with nature. We understand that our world needs cleaner air and water, less development, and restored habitats.
Although all this is true, the reasons to protect unique landscapes are even more complex, especially in the face of accelerating climate change. In 2020, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report on climate change and land use. It details how protecting natural lands can help us address the climate crisis—for example, natural lands as a carbon sink—and the many reasons why it is essential for humanity to make better land use choices if we hope to address this threat effectively.
Because Save Mount Diablo focuses on protecting and restoring the landscape, our work has made an important regional contribution to addressing climate change since our founding in 1971. More recently, wildfire has become an important consideration in our land management plans, as we try to create a less flammable landscape by removing invasive species and planting natives. We’re reevaluating our grazing practices with the aim of sequestering more carbon. Our Board also recently passed a Climate Action Plan.
Save Mount Diablo’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) outlines how our organization will use its strengths to accelerate reduction of our carbon footprint and increase our already significant contribution to addressing the climate crisis in the Diablo region. The CAP is organized by outcome-oriented objectives for major programmatic areas, including advocacy, land acquisition, stewardship, education, financial management (finances and fundraising), and organizational footprint. These objectives are associated with numerous actions that when completed will meet the objective.
Now, more than ever, every step we take to protect and restore land is critical. Save Mount Diablo continues its important work to care for our local environment and help to address the climate crisis.