START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

What Cities Need

With the answer staring us right in the face, The Nature Conservancy has committed to working with leaders to help them integrate nature and its benefits into the fabric of their own cities.  In San Antonio, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, we’ve helped establish water funds that finance the protection of the local water supply. And along the Gulf Coast, we’re helping restore the Gulf of Mexico’s natural buffers (think oyster reefs, wetlands and seagrass) to blunt the impact of rising sea levels and storm surges.

Our efforts to work at a scale that makes a difference have also led to partnerships with Coca-Cola, to provide the science they need to ensure a zero water footprint, and Shell, to identify the impacts of development on natural resources. We count Dow Chemical among our partners, too—and given all we know about the power of nature, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Currently, Dow is investigating reforestation as a way to combat air pollution in Freeport, Texas, home of their largest manufacturing site in the state. Instead of building new smokestack scrubbers, executives are looking at planting thousands of trees to meet federal air quality guidelines. A new thousand-acre forest would remove more than 200 tons of nitrous oxide from the air over the next 30 years, all at a lower cost than more traditional methods. And that dense canopy of trees would create new migration corridors for area wildlife, provide shade and help reduce temperatures, and improve water quality in the surrounding area. It’s a win all the way around.

Making sure our city and business leaders acknowledge and appreciate the value of our environment is the only way to achieve a vibrant natural world. It also ensures our cities can have the information they need to grow sustainably and that industry continues to make a positive contribution to our economy. We can make a tangible impact—we can protect our water supplies, reduce air pollution and keep our coastlines safe, but only if everyone is reading from the same playbook.

Laura Huffman is the director of The Nature Conservancy of Texas. A native of Austin, Huffman has a long and distinguished record of public service. She earned a master’s of public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s in political science with a minor in history from Texas A&M University. She makes her home in Austin, with husband Kent and their four children.
[Vegetation thrives between abandoned train tracks on New York's High Line. Photo credit: Flickr user Def.X via Creative Commons]

Read more: Environment, Green, Nature, , , , , ,

by Laura Huffman, The Nature Conservancy

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love


+ add your own
4:04PM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

I strongly support Nature Conservancy

10:19AM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

How about for people to be a little bit more kind, friendly & smile a bit more!? I think that would be a good start.

10:20AM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

No more people...please.

9:40PM PDT on Mar 25, 2013

Cities definitely need more "green space".

4:24PM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

Thank you for this interesting post. All cities should plan 'green' areas, plant more trees, and think of suggesting to high rise builders to have garden areas on the roof tops.

10:17AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

We do indeed need to 'start where we are' and since big corporations are a fact of life, that means including them in the solution. There are always new people going into them and older ones coming out. Educating kids on how their behavior impacts everything around them, and the importance of limiting their family size to 2 kids so lets not assume the population will keep growing.And just because trees will clean the air better than stack scrubbers does not mean it's okay to keep useing coal. No more new plants and invent ways to use the old ones to produce clean energy. And for the suspicious types, how about you guys be the watch dogs to make sure the old energy giants keep moving in the right direction ? We can DO this!

6:56AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

disturbing the natural balance is the issue

11:09PM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

...and fewer people. Big, overcrowded cities need fewer people.

10:18PM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

Thanks for the info.

6:12PM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

thank you

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Cool .....

Go for 'walking meetings' ?? Seriously ?? That's a good one; just trying to envision 4-5 guys …

Thanks for the info and tips.

I give credit that this was ad free and had disclaimers. But it did seem a bit all over the place. …


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!