Andersen: An embarrassment of riches |

Andersen: An embarrassment of riches

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

I recently had the privilege of guiding a group of Aspen Institute seminar participants amid the beauty of early springtime in Hunter Creek, then down the Hunter Creek Trail into Aspen.

On the valley floor, the blight of two monster homes under construction turned pleasure into pain. With no rational explanation for such wasteful excess in this age of climate change, I could only apologize to these young and aspiring leaders for the gluttony apparent in the embarrassment of riches for which Aspen remains a shameless icon.

Where plutocracy is rule by the wealthiest, a “pollute-ocracy” is pollution by the wealthiest. Aspen revels in its pollute-ocracy with scores of mostly vacant monster vacation homes that fecklessly squander energy and natural resources.

Land-use swaps and legal manipulations paved approvals for these carbon-intense monoliths whose owners, contractors, and land-use planners share the shame for embarrassing this community.

Aspen should know better than to continue doing harm to the biosphere for the sake of conspicuous consumption. If there were any activists left in town, these projects would have been picketed. Sadly, no one seems to care.

Paul Andersen