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Why Aspen is special

Dear Editor:It was a great privilege on Wednesday night to attend the talk by the inspiring author Terry Tempest Williams at the Paepcke Auditorium at The Aspen Institute. Williams spoke about the need to remain engaged and to resist the urge to become numb because of all of the disheartening things occurring in the world. She recently wrote an in-depth article about the Gulf oil spill that brings the disaster closer to home (www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/5931).I have some times felt the urge to “tune out,” but I always find myself compelled to tune back in. It is my belief that we are a global family existing on a living planet; it seems incomprehensible to turn off that connection. While watching the talk with Williams, I felt proud to live in a town that turns out en masse for such events. I felt extremely grateful to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Aspen Writers’ Foundation for hosting such an event and even more grateful to be sitting in such an awesome venue – that of The Aspen Institute – that has seen so many inspiring “game-changers” on its stage. To me, Aspen is special because of these important institutions, places where people come to connect and learn and to stand up for what they believe in. On Tuesday I was at the P&Z hearing regarding the fate of Aspen’s Given Institute, and I heard many people stand up for another important Aspen institution. As a community we need to take it upon ourselves to encourage and support these great organizations. I have not lived in Aspen for long, but I can tell you it is certainly not the snow that makes this place so compelling; it is the people and the places that represent that illusive Aspen Idea that the Paepckes envisioned that make Aspen something special. Gina M. MurdockAspen


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