Climate Friendly Practices

John Day Fossil Beds Painted Hills Unit

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument received an Environmental Achievement Award for their zero-net energy ranger unit.

NPS/M. Rose

Though adapting to climate change is the core of National Park Service strategy, it is far easier and more cost effective to prevent aspects of climate change from happening in the first place than to manage their effects. The National Park Service recognizes that many of our activities, decisions, and plans have impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and storage. Therefore, responding to climate change begins with limiting our own emissions and incorporating climate-friendly practices into our management and culture.

Minimizing the causes of climate change is often called mitigation, and it involves reducing our "carbon footprint" by using less energy (or shifting to renewable energy) and appropriately altering our land management practices. Mitigation is also achieved through carbon sequestration, a process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is taken up by biological and physical processes. The most common form of sequestration is photosynthesis in plants (e.g., tree trunks and roots, grasses, algae), which converts CO2 into biomass. The giant sequoia trees in California and the mangroves along the Gulf Coast are critically important as they pull large amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere. The National Park Service manages much of the lands that these two species are found on.

The National Park Service is quickly becoming a model of thoughtful and environmentally sensitive climate stewardship. We are doing our part to become climate friendly by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions within park boundaries and at NPS offices and encouraging low-cost efficiency and conservation measures that mitigate climate change.

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  • Clean Cities National Parks Initiative

    The National Park Service and U.S. Department of Energy "Clean Cities National Parks Initiative" supports alternative transportation projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and educating park visitors about the environmental benefits of reducing our dependence on petroleum. Read more

  • Climate Friendly Parks program

    The Climate Friendly Parks (CFP) Program is one component of the National Park Service Green Parks Plan, an integrated approach to address climate change through implementing sustainable practices throughout our operations. Read more

  • Cherry Blossoms at the National Mall

    The National Park Service is investing $29 million in 81 individual energy efficiency and water conservation projects at national parks throughout the greater Washington region. Read more

  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks shuttles

    The National Park Service presents Environmental Achievement Awards to teams and partners who demonstrate exceptional accomplishments toward the overall goal of preservation and protection of the resources under our stewardship. Read more

  • My Green Parks

    Through "My Green Parks," National Park Service staff pledge to reduce the NPS carbon footprint by reducing energy, water and fuel consumption, and waste generation. Read more

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