International Crane Foundation

 
Promoting Clean Energy

Promoting Clean Energy

The rapidly increasing production and distribution of energy worldwide poses serious challenges for cranes and numerous other species. To name just a few examples:

  • Landscapes important to Blue Cranes in South Africa are being mined on a massive scale for coal and natural gas.
  • East African peat lands, where Grey Crowned Cranes breed, are being removed for biofuel production to meet short-term energy needs despite permanent destruction of productive ecosystems.
  • Vast, highly toxic tailings ponds resulting from tar sands excavation in Canada are appearing along the migratory route of Whooping Cranes, and one of the most heavily used flyways for waterbirds in North America.
  • Across the world, overhead power lines near breeding and roosting sites are leaving cranes highly vulnerable to collisions.

There are no easy solutions to these challenges, but the International Crane Foundation is harnessing the influence of cranes to inspire innovative approaches to energy:

  • The stunning lakes district of Chrissiesmeer, South Africa, supports three species of threatened cranes, but is under increasing threat from coal mining. Our work is focused on securing protected area agreements with local farmers as an alternative to mining. We are also identifying and training community leaders to take action to solve environmental problems affecting wetland and grassland biodiversity in this region.
  • Our long-term collaboration with power companies in Africa balances hydropower production with downstream water releases for cranes, other wildlife, and thousands, of farmers and fishers who are negatively affected by river regulation.
  • In other regions, our research is informing and mitigating the impacts of “environmentally friendly” sources of energy, such as wind turbines, to minimize their impact on cranes and other biodiversity.