Sustainment Incentives

Throughout our class discussions the topic of incentives for those that begin or continue sustainable practices has been brought up. While I fell it a cynical thought that we, as those that inhabit the earth, should have to be “incentivized” to conserve it for ourselves and future generations, it might just be the only way to persuade these practices to be implemented. And without generalizing, unfortunately, there is always that “what’s in it for me mentality” that predominantly gets initiatives going in the first place.

One such initiative/project that The Illinois Conservation and Climate Initiative (ICCI) has incentivized through the sale of greenhouse gas emission credits. These are primarily aimed at farmers and landowners in the hope that they will contractually commit to conservation practices. There are several practices such as No-till farming, strip-till farming, grass plantings and afforestation/reforestation. In laymen’s terms these are practices that will cultivate land by not disturbing the soil and increases the amount of water in the soil and its organic composition. This farming technique actually makes for more productive crops. And even thought this seems like a win for the farmers, it actually puts them at odds with the tilling that has been historically always used. And as we read in Beth Waterhouses’, “A Sustainable Future?”, the farming community already has many pressures, economic and otherwise.

Reforestation is the quintessential opportunity of give and take. Take down a tree put one up. We know that this practice creates a better eco system to combat pollution, global warming mitigation and make human life more sustainable.

To me these all seem pretty straight forward no nonsense practices that should be a given in an effort to continue to make our planet inhabitable. However, it strikes me as sad that in the ICCI brochure the first “FAQs” question is, “When will I be paid and how frequently?”.



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