How to Protect and Preserve the Land you Love

The Land | People | Buildings & Energy | Ownership & Funding | The Future | The Big Picture | Quotes

Do you care about the land? Is there a special place, public or private, that you want to help protect? Do you want it to be green, healthy and sustainable? This page is a gateway to ideas, information and resources that can help you protect and preserve the land you love – today, and for future generations. Whether you own private land or public land – as all citizens do – you will find useful information here.

The Land

• If the land has been deforested, overused or abused, consider ecological restoration techniques to restore its plants, animals, soil and natural beauty – Ecological Restoration Links & Resources (2) (3) (4)

• Protect and encourage biodiversity in the soil, garden, fields and forests. What is Biodiversity? Why is it important? Use native plant and native tree species – they're likely to be healthier, longer lasting, and require less water, pesticides and other inputs. North American Native Plant Society | Gardening with Native Plants | Links

• Protect and preserve the soil – it is the foundation of healthy land and water. Use ecological and organic gardening, landscaping and lawn care techniques, plant windbreaks, and do whatever you can to prevent erosion. Seek out all sides of the story before adopting corporate fertilizers and pesticides – remember that it is in business' best interests to sell you things that you will need to come back for, again and again (see "planned obsolescence").

• Planting trees make the property warmer in winter and cooler in summer – they also add beauty; improve the quality of the air and water; prevent erosion; block out noise; reduce heating and cooling costs; and attract songbirds. "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now." – How to Plant a Tree | Tree Links & Resources | The Simple Act of Planting a Tree (book, free to download) | Trees, Forests & Eco-Forestry

• If you have a woodlot or forest, consider eco-forestry techniques to strengthen and preserve it.

• Whether you want a lawn, flowers, or a garden brimming with fresh food, try to do it without pesticides – for your own health as well as your children, neighbours, and wildlife. – What's wrong with pesticides? | Organic Landscaping | Organic Gardening

Permaculture approaches can help you design a livable, attractive and sustainable property. – Permaculture Articles, Books, Consultants

• Learn more from stewardship and conservation groups, organizations & resources.

The People

Don't make the mistake of focusing only on the land itself. Give equal thought to who will use the land, live on it, learn about it, or help to protect it. Land that does not involve people on an ongoing basis becomes "out of sight and out of mind" – and subject to abuse. Also, it takes people to fund the ongoing costs of the land, such as property taxes.

• Work with existing Conservation and Stewardship organizations. Gateway to Environmental Groups, Organizations and Companies across Canada and beyond.

• Involve people of all ages – as volunteers, interns and group participants.

• Consider non-motorized recreational use, both to help people understand and care about the land, and also as a potential source of revenue to cover ongoing costs.

• Consider creating an education centre or ecological retreat, possibly with workshops, internships, volunteers, etc. See also: Environmental Education Groups & Organizations

• Consider living on the land. Sometimes, this is the best way to protect it. See these sustainable living, rural living and homesteading tips and resources.

• Consider sharing the land with others. Approaches include Ecovillages, Cohousing, Cooperatives and Community Land Trusts (2), Conservation Community.

Buildings & Energy

Energy efficiency saves costs, keeps you warm, and will become ever more important as fossil fuel prices rise – Home Performance Experts | Energy Organizations & Links

Natural building and renovation techniques such as strawbale can save costs, add beauty, and protect the environment.

Renewable energy such as solar and wind power can cut your costs – and keep working when there's a blackout. Consider both off-the-grid and grid-connected approaches. Passive solar systems can assist with heating and cooling. Post Carbon Institute, The End of Suburbia & Links | Sustainable Woodlot Management & Links

Ownership & Funding

There are many ways to own, share, or otherwise control the use of land and protect it from abuse. These include...

• Create or join a land trust (2), easement, conservation easement (2), or other alternatives to public and private ownership (2).

• Seek funding to create a charity, nonprofit or citizen's group to purchase or otherwise secure the land.

• Work to keep the land in public ownership and protected by effective legislation. – Public Land | Links | Conservation and Stewardship Groups & Organizations | Public Space | Parks & Wilderness | How to be an Advocate

• Be an advocate, activist or campaigner for sensible land use and preservation.

• Purchase the land. Real Estate | Real Estate Links, Organizations | Buying Rural Property (Back Home Magazine #30 - 9/1997 $3.75) | Buying Country Property (Back Home Mag. #32 - 1/1998 $3.75) | Links | More | EcoProperty Canada

• Other approaches & legal structures for protecting the land (article from )

For Future Generations

• What will happen to the land after you run out of money, move away, or pass on? By creating or joining a land trust or nonprofit group, you can help ensure the land is preserved for future generations. See the section on ownership, above. Consider setting up a bequest for when you pass on. Many land trust and environmental organizations have bequest programs – call them and ask.

The Big Picture...

• If you want to preserve nature, wilderness, agricultural lands, or urban public space, consider joining a group or organization that reflects your concerns. Every member makes a difference, whether or not you choose to participate in the group. – Gateway to Environmental Groups & Organizations | Conservation, Stewardship, and Land Trust Groups & Organizations | Wilderness Links

The commons is the land, air, water, soil and ecosystems that we all share. Together, we must learn to protect them from misuse and abuse by individuals, corporations and government. According to Paul Hawken, author of the Ecology of Commerce, "globally we lose 25 billion tons of fertile topsoil every year, the equivalent of all the wheatfields in Australia". We need to prevent the destruction, or humans and nature together will face a bleak future.

Land Quotations

We did not inherit this land from our fathers. We are borrowing it from our children. – Amish Proverb

Man thinks of himself as a creator instead of a user, and this delusion is robbing him, not only of his natural heritage, but perhaps of his future. – Helen Hoover

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. Aldo Leopold (2)

The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

In less than 20 years at the current rate of loss, approximately half of California's cropland will no longer be available for production. – David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel, 1997

If a man cheats the land, the land will cheat his belly. – Chinese Proverb

So-called modern property is not, as convention would have it, public or private. It is a mix of both. And the same can be said for pre- and post-modern property. . . Public and Private are, at best, clumsy pigeonholes that compress and cramp our thinking.Property and Values: Alternatives to Public and Private Ownership, p 284.

The question is not 'can you make a difference?' You already do make a difference. It's just a matter
what kind of difference you want to make, during your life on this planet. Julia Butterfly Hill (2)

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. – Goethe

The future will be what you contribute to and create. – Greg

More Quotes | Links & Organizations | How to Organize, Campaign, Lobby, be an Activist...