What’s your climate action plan, Commissioner Poschman?
During his year as chair of the Pitkin County board, Commissioner Greg Poschman has made it a habit to ask regular citizens, business owners and just about anyone else who appears in front of him if they have a personal climate action plan.
“I ask, ‘what is your climate action plan?’ to inspire and encourage and demand we pay attention to these pressing issues,” Poschman said in a recent interview. “What’s fun is people start talking about what they do.”
So as his chairmanship comes to a close at the end of the year, we wondered about Poschman’s own climate action plan, what exactly such a plan entails and why it’s important to have one.
“I don’t want anyone to feel guilty (if they don’t have a plan),” he said. “But it’s important to look at how you can improve your own footprint.”
Mona Newton, executive director of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, said she has noticed Poschman’s penchant for asking people about their climate plans.
“It puts people on the spot,” she said. “But I also think it’s a good idea to get people thinking about it.”
Commissioner Patti Clapper tends to give Poschman a bit of a hard time about his recurring climate queries, but also gives him credit for keeping the issue of climate change at the forefront of the local conversation.
“I appreciate his passion and fortitude for the issue,” she said. “Bringing it up on a consistent basis makes people think about it more.”
So what exactly is a personal climate action plan?
“It’s figuring out what actions I can take to reduce my impact on the planet,” Newton said. “(Ask yourself) where is the area I have the biggest impact on the planet?”
For Poschman, his wife and their two daughters, like many families their climate action plan is a compromise, he said. For example, he said his wife didn’t like the light put out by LED bulbs until recently, while the entire family is becoming “compost maniacs.”
The Poschmans also recycle and recently installed a new lighting system that cut the family lighting bill by 90%, Poschman said. Beyond that, he installed solar panels on the roof of their Brush Creek Village home two years ago, which means they pay no electric bill from April to October, he said.
Between November and March, the electric bill is about $175 less than before the solar panels were installed, Poschman said.
And while he takes the bus when he can, his next goal is an electric car, he said. Clapper teases him about driving a 1997 Jeep Cherokee, he said.
“I say, ‘Patti I have two kids to get through college,’” Poschman said. “It sucks when you want an electric car but you can’t afford one yet.”
Newton said there are myriad ways to decrease personal impact on the planet, including carbon offsets for airplane flights, focusing on reducing plastic waste and participating in Pitkin County’s robust compost program.
There are online carbon footprint calculators for those with a more analytical approach, though Newton said others might want to figure out their largest personal impact and focus on reducing that.
“Do what lights you up,” she said. “If it feels good to buy an electric car, drive an electric car. But you need to do more than just recycling. We’ve got to get really lit up about what we’re doing for climate action.”