What are Nature-Based Climate Solutions?

There's no doubt that our climate is changing. Our summers are getting hotter, our winter storms more unpredictable. Climate change is having an enormous impact on the natural systems around us. It is making our region drier and threatening native species of plants and animals.

We can slow these trends by supporting living systems. This approach is called nature-based climate solutions.

Cool Boulder logo placed on an aerial photo of the Boulder valley

Cool Boulder: Connecting People to Climate Solutions

Cool Boulder is a campaign that equips people with the knowledge and tools needed to take affordable, impactful climate action. From neighbors to nonprofits, the campaign connects a network of local leaders excited to create a climate resilient future for all.

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Explore Cool Boulder's Action Areas

Pollinator Pathways

Pollinator pathways are corridors of diverse plants that support cooling temperatures and foster biodiversity, especially for native pollinators. Creating and expanding an interconnected network of these corridors on both public and private land will provide important habitats and help manage carbon and water in ways that reduce the impacts of climate change.

Connected Canopies

Connected canopies efforts include major investments to both maintain the health of the existing tree canopy and plant thousands of additional trees, most of which will need to be located on private land.

Absorbent Landscapes

Absorbent landscapes hold more carbon, water, and thermal energy, helping to cool our city as well as prevent dangerous flooding that Boulder is prone to. This effort is focused on improving carbon sequestration, soil health and water retention through regenerative agriculture, and sustainable grassland and turf management.

Why do Nature-Based Climate Solutions Matter?

Addressing the Causes of Climate Change

One of the main causes of climate change is land degradation. By clear-cutting forests, destroying grassland ecosystems and draining wetlands, humans have disturbed natural systems. These practices have released millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere and driven global warming.

By reversing these practices, we can actually use the natural world to absorb carbon and slow climate change.

Protecting Boulder from the Impacts of Climate Change

Nature-based climate solutions not only reduce emissions, they also make Boulder more livable. In the face of a warming climate, improved land practices can protect Boulder from excessive heat.

For example, planting more trees helps our community in several ways:

  1. Trees absorb carbon in their cells, reducing emissions.
  2. Tree shade cools the area around it.
  3. Trees change water from liquid to gas, increasing local humidity and cooling the area around it.
  4. The water vapor that trees create eventually becomes rain.

Nature-based climate solutions tap into nature's ability to absorb carbon and stabilize climate extremes.