Being green requires action, awareness |

Being green requires action, awareness

Bennett Bramson
Aspen CO, Colorado

Sitting on the lawn at Miami Beach High School for the very first Earth Day in April 1970, we enjoyed informative speeches about environmental and energy awareness and efficiency, and ways to save the planet. Most of my classmates have little recollection of that day because of the volume of pot and other mind-altering drugs they were consuming.

So here we are 38 years later and a light bulb (energy efficient, of course) is finally going on in the collective heads (no pun intended) in Aspen and around the country.

As recently as two years ago, we installed a fire hearth in the center of town, which is now at the center of controversy. Strange thing is, the amount of gaseous emissions and hot air being expelled by the politicians and political pundits about the issue far exceeds the actual emissions from the hearth.

As a certified EcoBroker®, and one who has been involved in numerous environmental organizations, it strikes me as a bit comical to see all these Johnny-Come-Latelies like Al Gore, who’s flying around the planet in his private jet, consuming massive amounts of fuel, and trekking to sites in his massive, bulletproof SUV to deliver his message of doom. Notice a conundrum there?

I always got a kick out of seeing the old cover of environmental icon and rock god John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” LP (yes, I still have albums), where one of his band members wears a shirt that says, “Be Kind to Animals,” with a lit cigarette in his hand. What’s wrong with that picture?

How about that entrance to Aspen issue? Twenty-seven votes over 38 years has wasted more paper and gas on people filling out ballots and driving one block to the polls, and there’s another one on the way this fall.

The real resolution is one that requires someone with the intestinal fortitude (or cojones) to, as W.C. Fields once said, “Take the proverbial bull by the tail and face matters squarely!” When will we realize that the solution is not building more highways to increase the number of cars, or even taxing and increasing parking fees until no one can afford to work and park in Aspen, but the answer is limiting the volume of traffic coming in by eating some crow, building a new intercept lot outside of town (such as at Buttermilk) and requiring all cars (except those who actually reside in town) to park there (where the traffic jams start) and shuttle into and out of town? Less cars equals less emissions, more use of high-occupancy public and private transportation and a reduction in emissions (except the same political spewing we are always subject to).

Even the concrete to build a four-level lot won’t have the negative impacts of all the cars that trek in every day (especially during the high seasons).

Now, new predictors are indicating that we may be in store for another mini-ice age, which is the equivalent of being sort-of pregnant or of a partially blocked kick. Just on the cusp of the global warming fears comes the worst winter in a century and most prolific snow season since … the last most prolific snow season, which according to all accounts was … who knows when? Weather and weather trends, sorry to tell you folks, tend to run in cycles.

So, which is it? Global warming or ice age? Massive impact of chlorofluorocarbons and ozone, or solar flares? Meteor impact or nuclear explosion? Natural disasters or manmade catastrophes, or a sign from God (most of you die-hard right wing Republicans probably subscribe to this last ridiculous premise)?

Personally, I think we have more to fear from simple ignorance. Aside from renovating our entire homes, we can try some of these simple solutions: regular recycling. Sharing a ride. Improving indoor air quality and water quality. Educating our children in ways to help save the planet. Unplugging unused appliances. Adjusting thermostats. Making use of passive solar energy. Purchasing more energy-efficient appliances (when it’s time). Making our homes more airtight and insulated. Composting. Natural gardening. And more!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just fell off my holier-than-thou pedestal and need to drive in my SUV to go make a serious carbon footprint somewhere. See ya’ there!