Students join the battle against climate change
ASPEN – The kids in Susan McKellar’s second-grade class might not see an immediate connection between the T-shirts they painted Thursday and global warming, but it’s a start.
“The message is pretty basic for these young kids, as we don’t want to get too heavy,” said Rebecca Weiss, head of the Aspen School District’s Sustainability Committee. “But we do want to bring awareness around the issue of climate change, because their future is all about climate change.
“They will have to solve or deal with the problems we’ve made, whether they realize it or not.”
This afternoon’s Climate Impact Day events at the Gondola Plaza, under the theme “Connect the Dots,” is one step toward that goal.
Connect the Dots is part of 350.org’s worldwide effort to “shine a spotlight on the connections between extreme weather and climate change. We will use those connections to issue a wake-up call for our communities, the media and our politicians,” the organization’s website states. (According to 350.org, to preserve our planet, scientists say we must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million to below 350 ppm, “but 350 is more than a number – it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.”)
And while Weiss acknowledged that one fun-filled afternoon – the local Connect the Dots event includes kids activities, music, food, a “snowless” ski race and more – isn’t going to solve the climate-change problem, it will bring attention to the issue.
It’s an issue that hits very close to home, too.
“Our mountains are feeling the effects of climate change more than a lot of other ecosystems,” Weiss said. “And our economy is so dependent on this – that we hope a lot of people will join us and take a stand.”
A “Climate Dot” group photo – with the students in their T-shirts painted with an inverted white dot – wil also help.
“We are literally going to connect the dots,” Weiss said, noting that communities around the world will do similar, localized events to raise awareness. “If we can get a lot of people out there for the photo, it will speak loudly and clearly to politicians and lawmakers that we can implement real changes that can make a tangible difference.
“So the more turnout we get, the stronger the message.”
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No official vote has taken place, but the Dillon Town Council has decided to push forward with an ordinance at a future meeting despite a contentious debate that clearly divided council members on the issue.