Take a look in the mirror, Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Take a look in the mirror, Aspen

Dear Editor:

I just read in the Denver Post the desire of many in the Aspen community to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because it has opposed climate legislation that purports to limit the effects of man-caused climate change.

While the Roaring Fork Valley should be commended for its efforts to build more energy-efficient buildings and promote a lifestyle that reduces its residences’ carbon footprint, that same community must be honest with itself. The Aspen-Snowmass economy is based on attracting the world’s 1 percent to fly to the Colorado mountains in carbon-spewing jets, both private and public, and to ride energy-gulping lifts to slide down hills on “snow” often made by pumping scarce water uphill and then expelling it into the cold atmosphere under pressure.

And when those same people are finished skiing, they go back to their ultra-luxury homes, condos and hotels, all built with materials brought in from all over the world at great expense of both money and carbon. The homes and condos are usually second, third and fourth residences that your clientele maintain throughout the world and are paid for by the very commerce that the national chamber supports and is trying to keep from being killed by poorly thought-out regulation.

If you really want to reduce the carbon footprint, shutter the entire downhill ski industry and support low-impact outdoor recreation like hiking, whitewater sports and telemarking. Sure, it won’t support the “Aspen lifestyle,” but it doesn’t contribute much to man-made climate change, either.

People, you need to be honest with yourselves. Trying to reduce your impact by building LEED-certified buildings and buying subsidized windmill-generated electricity to support 10 times more building and utility infrastructure than is needed by Aspen’s permanent residents is great. But it does nothing to address the real issue, which of course is: How much does Aspen, by its very unnecessary existence, contribute to the growth of carbon in the atmosphere by encouraging excessive and unnecessary building and use of carbon-based fuel by its guests traveling to and from Aspen, necessitating the supplying of Aspen with food, drink and its every material need?

Gordon Streich

Colorado Springs

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