Mapping out a future for eco-friendly businesses
Shopping at midvalley businesses that offer “green” products and services or follow environmentally friendly practices could soon be as easy as reading a map.A coalition of volunteers and students is creating a green map for the Carbondale and Basalt areas. The nonprofit organization plans to have more than 100 qualified businesses and sites on its first edition. If the concept catches on, co-founder Jason White hopes to expand coverage throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.The goal is to highlight products and services tied to cultural and eco-resources, he said. It serves as a guide for environmentally concerned consumers, both local and from out of town.”People will realize there are things here that they don’t have to drive to Glenwood for,” said Will Evans, another founder of the group.Evans and White, both from Carbondale, discovered by happenstance that they were both interested in bringing the green map concept to the valley. They are using a highly successful green map of Santa Fe as their model. They enlisted help on the project from students in local high schools, including several from the environmental club coordinated by Basalt High teacher Seann Goodman.White said the group will make sure the map is a bona fide guide to eco-friendly businesses and not simply a tool for businesses to make themselves look good.”The term ‘green’ gets used a lot these days,” he said.Businesses and service providers who think they qualify must fill out an application to be included on the map. It includes an essay question on why the business or entity should be considered, as well as a list of criteria that qualify an organization as a “green business” or “sustainable practice.”Evans said the students will review the applications and likely visit the applicants as well.The benefit of the map is two-fold: It awards businesses for green practices by placing them on the map, while motivating others; and it educates students about environmentally friendly efforts in the community, Evans said.Green maps use a standardized system of symbols to represent everything from organic food stores to community gardens. They use similar criteria to determine who qualifies.Businesses and service providers who qualify will be added to the map free of charge. It also will include cultural and environmentally significant sites. Copies of the map, which should be out before the end of the year, will be distributed for free.The group is seeking donations to help with creating and printing the map.Businesses that want to apply or people who want to help can leave a message at 384-7900 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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