RAINIER, Ore. -- An initiative founded in Oregon's Willamette Valley tries to tackle a growing problem: Aging timber lot owners can't pay their medical bills.
Their kids don't want to inherit the land. Their health care bills are stacking up.
Desperate for quick cash, they chop down their trees or sell the land to developers.
That's a problem for the environment. Downed trees don't absorb carbon. Neither does developed land.
The solution proposed by Oregon's Pinchot Institute is to get the timber lot owners money for the pollutants their trees absorb.
The key is carbon credits. Companies seeking to offset their pollution will pay timber lot owners for the carbon their trees suck out of the atmosphere.
The money goes on an "ATreeM" card that lot owners can spend on health care bills.