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WalMart Wilderness

Wal-Mart to Fund Wildlife Habitat

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, pledged Tuesday to spend $35 million compensating for wildlife habitat lost nationwide beneath its corporate "footprint."

Acre for acre, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would buy an amount of land equal to all the land its stores, parking lots and distribution centers use over the next 10 years. That would conserve at least 138,000 acres in the United States as "priority" wildlife habitat.

-- via the Evangelical Ecologist

This certainly strikes me as a step forward. It's a bit hard to judge the conservation utility of the preserved land from the information given -- its precise location and the nature of the restrictions that will be placed on its use will have a big influence.

What would be really exciting, though, is if WalMart made a big committment to incorporating green practices into the building of its stores rather than just replacing that land. Things like solar cells on those giant roofs, recycled building materials, and redeveloping brownfields rather than contributing to sprawl would all help to cut through this idea, seemingly central to WalMart's conservation proposal, that development and conservation are separate activities.


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