[1THING] Blog

[ Dysfunctional Funding for Fighting Wildfires Must End ]

Michael Reinemer

The Wilderness Society strongly supports bipartisan legislation, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 (S. 235, H.R.


[ Valuing Nature’s Services ]

Valuing Nature's Services 


Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


Guest post by EarthShare Member Forest Trends


Picture this scenario: It’s 7 am on a Monday morning in the not-too-distant future. Eyes still half-closed, you turn on the shower. A few drops trickle out – then nothing. Wearily you go to make coffee. You turn on the faucet. No water there either. You run to the store for bottled water, but your heart sinks at the long line that’s formed in front of the store.

For years, you realize, we used water without a thought and now the well has gone dry. We cut down forests for development, timber and agriculture, and now the forests are gone.

With trees and water gone, the services they provided are no longer available: clean water to drink, trees to suck the carbon out of our atmosphere and to provide habitat for myriad species, forest plants that provide us with food, medicine, clothing – among many other dividends.

Services provided by nature – “ecosystem services” – are often hard to quantify and measure. As a result, our economic system has largely failed to value these resources. It’s easy to calculate the value of a forest for how many dining chairs its timber can make; it’s more difficult to put a value on a living forest.

Difficult, but not impossible.

Since its inception in 1999, Forest Trends has sought to determine the economic value of ecosystem services. To make this happen, we bring everyone to the table: businesses, local communities, policymakers, financiers. The organization was founded by representatives from all of these sectors – and the board of Forest Trends reflects these interests.

How can we create capital markets for the services that nature provides? How can we put a price tag on a ton of carbon dioxide absorbed by trees? What financial mechanism will encourage a farmer to modify his agricultural practices to decrease water pollution?

In the search for answers to questions like these, Forest Trends tracks market methods and payment schemes that communities and governments have put in place. How effective is it when downstream users of water pay farmers upstream to change their grazing techniques? Which municipalities facing water shortages have invested in natural solutions like maintaining mangroves (which act as filters) rather than industrial filtration systems? What have they tried, what has worked – and how much did it cost?

Forest Trends is also involved in practical, boots-on-the-ground projects that value ecosystem services. For example, we support the efforts of indigenous communities in Brazil to maintain their forests and receive “carbon credits” which they can trade on international carbon markets – rather than taking a short-term payment from loggers, agriculture, or mining companies for cutting those same trees.

At Forest Trends, we’re integrating the value of nature’s services into our economic system from several angles so that precious resources, such was water and forests, can still be enjoyed by many generations to come.


[ EarthShare Fellowship Winner Announced ]

EarthShare Fellowship Winner Announced



The inaugural EarthShare Fellowship has been awarded by the Architecture Foundation of Georgia (AFGA) to Quinpeng Wang, a PhD candidate studying sustainable design and construction at the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). 

To qualify for the EarthShare award a student must demonstrate exemplary accomplishments in academic coursework and research in the advancement of sustainable design and building practices, the extension and application of which shows strong promise for positive future impacts for society.

Marci B. Reed, former Executive Director of the Architecture Foundation of Georgia, and Robert E. Reed III, her husband and a graduate of the Georgia Tech Architecture Program, established the EarthShare fund to support the work of AFGA, further Georgia Tech’s effort to educate future leaders in sustainable design and raise awareness of EarthShare, the national nonprofit federation supporting environmental charities. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony Mrs. Reed said “We know that the way we design, build and plan our communities impacts the health of people and the planet. My husband’s work in this area is the inspiration behind this award.”

Robert Reed works for Southface, an EarthShare member organization, as the Director of Residential and Community Sustainability Services. Marci Reed is Chief Development and Communications Officer at Southface, and is past Chair and current Treasurer of EarthShare.


More Information:

About AFGA: Formed in 1971, the Architecture Foundation of Georgia, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, exists to improve and enhance educational opportunities in the field of architecture, and to communicate and support the value of architecture in the community.

About EarthShare: EarthShare is a national nonprofit federation with more than 25 years of experience in connecting people and workplaces with effective ways to support critical environmental causes. Thanks to EarthShare supporters, more than $300 million has been raised for nearly 600 international, national and state-based charities that protect our air, land, water and wildlife.

About the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech: The College of Architecture at Georgia Tech is an internationally recognized center for design thinking and pedagogy that takes full advantage of its location in a leading technological university. The College is playing the leading role in the development of an Institute-wide interdisciplinary initiative that fosters design thinking and innovation across the campus.

About Southface: Southface is the Southeast's nonprofit leader in the promotion of sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance. 

[ Five Cities Growing Sustainable Transportation ]

Five Cities Growing Sustainable Transportation


Guest post by EarthShare member Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). ITDP works around the world to design and implement high quality transport systems and policy solutions that make cities more livable, equitable, and sustainable.


When we think of great cities for sustainable transport, we think of picturesque cities in Northern Europe, such as Copenhagen, or wealthy, dense enclaves such as Hong Kong or Singapore. But they aren’t the only cities doing things right. There have been exciting transformations all over the world, particularly in the global south. Here are five cities that have improved quality of life for millions by investing in sustainable, equitable transport.


Ahmedabad, India


A Janmarg BRT station in Ahmedabad


Ahmedabad is a city of five million in the western state of Gujarat. In 2009, the city set the benchmark for high-quality transit in India with the Janmarg bus rapid transit (BRT) system. Janmarg, which means “the people’s way” in Gujarati and moves more than 130,000 people per day, was a major improvement to a city that previously had few options for the 90% of residents that do not own cars.

Today, Ahmedabad is a regional leader in transport and urban planning, with progressive legislation on parking and Transit-oriented Development, dense, mixed-use development, parking reform, and improvements for walking, cycling, and even better public transit.


Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires

One of the newly-pedestrianized blocks in the downtown “microcentro”


In 2013, Buenos Aires transformed their iconic 9 de Julio avenue, one of the widest avenues in the world with 20 lanes of car traffic, into an efficient, modern public transit corridor. The project is part of a citywide mobility plan initiated in 2009, which includes the pedestrianization of more than 100 blocks of the city center, an extension of the ecobici bike share program, a 300 km cycling network, and intersection treatments to improve safety for pedestrians.


Guangzhou, China


The Dongaochong Greenway converted an area under an overpass into a vibrant public space.


This megacity on the Pearl River Delta is home to the highest-performing BRT system in the world, carrying more than 850,000 passengers per day through 26 stations with speeds equal to metro. The achievements of Guangzhou, however, go well beyond the bus. They have one of the largest bike share systems in the world, and have transformed underused areas, such as the often-derelict space under overpasses, into beautiful public spaces.

ITDP China, based in Guangzhou, hosts upwards of 50 government, NGO, and academic site visits every year, and has inspired replication projects in cities across China and Southeast Asia.


Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City

A redesigned street in the historic city center


The largest city in North America boasts 5 lines of Metrobus BRT, one of the highest-performing bike share systems in the world, groundbreaking parking reform, and a revitalized, pedestrian-centric historical center. In 2012, Metrobus Line 4 proved that a world-class BRT can help revitalize a dense, central area while maintain its cultural and historical heritage.

In addition to improving commutes, the project has helped to massively improve the streetscape and quality of life in the downtown area – making many of these streets exclusively for cyclists, pedestrians, and BRT.


Tehran, Iran


The Tehran BRT moves 2 million people a day.

Iran is the most urbanized country in the Middle East, and Tehran is one of the largest metropolises in Asia. A decade ago, Tehranis had few options for getting around their city other than driving on increasingly congested roads. Over the last decade, Tehran has built more than 200 km of metro rail, transporting 2 million passengers per day.

The city also created a high quality BRT network of 100 km that transports another 2 million daily. Beyond that, Tehran has implemented a congestion pricing program to reduce traffic in the city, and developed a bike share system in one of their administrative districts.


[ BLM’s final assessment of TransWest Express Transmission Line lacks clear commitment to conservation ]

Anastasia Greene

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a final environmental assessment of potential impacts of a 725-mile transmission line that would run from southern Wyoming through Colorado and Utah to Nevada.

[ Congress cooks up ‘working group’ aimed at giving away your lands ]

In the latest chapter of an ill-advised and politically unpopular effort to attack our shared natural heritage, a House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT) is corralling his anti-conservation allies in Congress to form a congressional working group aimed at finding ways to hand


[ New bill will develop strategies to reconnect kids with nature ]

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced Senate and House versions of the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act, which would provide incentives for states to combat the trend of kids and families spending less time outside.


[ Deb Furry ]

Deb Furry

Deb Furry brings 30 years’ experience in workplace fundraising on both the local and national level. As the director of Community Works in Boston Massachusetts, she worked closely with Federal, State, and City campaign leadership to help implement fair and equitable campaigns for all participants. She also worked with over 50 private businesses and local universities to support their campaign activities.

As the director of the National Alliance for Choice in Giving, Deb supported networking, training, and resource sharing among the 32 local environmental, social justice and women’s federations as they worked together to build their capacity and a movement for broader workplace choice. As director of NACG, Deb coordinated the development of a training institute for new federation executives, which trained more than 110 key leaders.

Deb has served as a nonprofit consultant for the last 15 years, first through Technical Assistance for Community Services (now the Nonprofit Association of Oregon), and now through her own business. Deb works with organizations on strategic planning, resource development, board development, and a variety of other organizational issues. Her approach is to work with organizations to build their capacity to identify, develop and effectively use their resources through consultation, training, and coaching. Her client base includes organizations in the northwest as well as around the country.

Clients include the State of Oregon Employees Charitable Fund Drive, where Deb serves as Team Leader and is a key part of the management team implementing the employees’ campaign which raises approximately $1 million a year in support of 11 statewide funds and federations and 16 local United Way organizations. Deb has also provided strategic planning assistance to a number of the Community Shares federations and staffing support to Community Shares USA.

Deb has served on the board of EarthShare Oregon since 1999 and served six years as the board chair. She has served on the EarthShare board since 2003 and has been a member of the Affiliations Committee and Executive Committee.

[ Wildland-saving energy efficiency bills get hearings in Congress ]

One of the great opportunities for movement on energy priorities in Congress in the next two years lay in energy efficiency legislation. While bipartisan agreement is hard to come by these days, energy efficiency is an issue primed for progress.


[ Sage Grouse delays would undermine conservation work ]

Two new efforts to undermine ongoing planning efforts to conserve sage brush habitat and block protections that may be needed for the greater sage grouse have come out of Congress in the past two weeks.