Perl to head Canary Initiative |

Perl to head Canary Initiative

Asbley Perl has been named climate action manager for the city of Aspen’s Canary Initiative, the city said in a statement Monday.

Also, the city said its Environmental Health Department has been reorganized, for two reasons: to increase efficiency and to include greenhouse-gas-emission programs. The new department is called Environmental Health and Sustainability.

“This is an exciting new development in the department,” Perl said in a prepared statement. “It not only reflects a name change but a new focus on partnering with the community and more publicly inviting them into the effort to help reduce Aspen’s emissions footprint.”

Perl previously served as senior environmental health specialist in the Environmental Health Department. C.J. Oliver, director of the formerly named and newly reorganized department, could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

The Canary Initiative began in 2005 as an effort to aggressively reduce Aspen’s carbon footprint. The latest figures show Aspen has reduced its emissions by 6 percent from a 2004 baseline, the city said.

However, to reach the goal of a 30 percent reduction by 2020, greater community-wide efforts are needed, the city said. Involving the community will be Perl’s focus with the Canary Initiative, the city said.

“We will be taking a new approach of inviting the community, businesses and visitors to take ownership of the 2020 goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent,” she added. “We are in this together and can only make these big strides working as a team. Although this is a city-initiated program, it came out of feedback from the citizens about the desire to do more about climate change. So this goal is Aspen’s goal, and we plan to provide the resources and assistance to see it achieved.”

Perl replaces Lauren McDonnell, who formerly managed the Canary Initiative. Perl was hired for the new position at a salary of $65,000 annually, the city said.

In recent years, Perl helped to implement the Aspen Tap program, which encourages residents and visitors to obtain city water from various filling stations around town in lieu of buying commercial water in plastic bottles; and the bag ban, which prevents Aspen grocery-store shoppers from obtaining free plastic bags at checkout and encourages the use of reusable bags.

Perl also has been involved with compost programs and recycling measures.

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