Recognition that’s long overdue |

Recognition that’s long overdue

The company in this town is setting an example that deserves our attention.The Aspen Skiing Co. last week became the first ski resort operator in the United States to rely on renewable energy sources to power its entire operation. Think about it – 100 percent of the electricity used to power the Skico’s ski lifts, ticket booths, restaurants, hotels and offices will come from wind-generated power. The company estimates its commitment to using earth-friendly energy sources to power operations will keep 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming, out of the air per year.That’s a lot of coal, oil and natural gas that won’t be burned to produce electricity. That’s a lot of pollution that won’t be spewing into our atmosphere.There are other very specific examples of the Skico’s commitment to the environment. Its use of biodiesel to power everything from snowcats to chairlifts is one. Another is the ski patrol hut on Aspen Highlands, made mostly of recycled materials and partially powered by solar energy.Though small compared to companies like General Dynamics, Ford and Microsoft, the Aspen Skiing Co. is a giant of industry when it comes to environmental stewardship. Other American companies should take note and make a similar commitment to the environment.Here at home, we as individuals can follow the Skico’s example, as well. Pay an extra $5 or so a month to purchase wind-generated electricity from Holy Cross and Xcel. Turn the heat all the way down in your second home when you return to your first. Buy a Prius instead of a Hummer. Ride the bus.As yet another ski season melts away in early March instead of in early April, it’s difficult not to think about the threat that global warming represents. Since the mid-1940s, Aspen has defined itself around winter and all the activities it affords. Our livelihood largely depends on winter business.Aspen as a community is perfectly positioned to set an example for the rest of the country in finding ways to reduce greenhouse emissions. We owe it to ourselves and our environment to follow the example the Aspen Skiing Co. set.

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