Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com
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Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
Aspen, CO Colorado

Thanks to the considerable efforts and talents of Kitty Boone and Deborah Murphy, the Aspen Ideas Festival is, once again, an unprecedented hit.

From far and wide, speakers have winged their way to Aspen via both public and private aircraft (have you seen the heavy metal at the airport?) to address the credentialed and the connected about the ills of the world and the cures that are available.

As has been the case in the previous Ideas Fests, there is much conversation about the environment and how we, as a species, have affected it negatively and how we, as a species, can improve it going forward.

I won’t quibble with the obvious here by suggesting that the use of the aforementioned transportation options may have some negative impacts, but I will suggest that there are things that can be done right here in this valley by many of the privileged Ideas Fest pass-holders to improve the lot of the land.

For starters, let’s all just take a look around and recognize what a beautiful place that nature has given us. It seems that some of us in this valley have more dollars than sense and simply can’t comprehend that one doesn’t improve upon the bounty and the beauty of the Rockies by bulldozing them, fencing them in, building artificial ponds or erecting self-congratulatory monuments to our existence. That should be obvious.

Since it’s not, may I suggest a separate, more local, corollary conference be introduced. We could call it the Aspen Get-A-Clue Festival. It could retain the exclusive nature of the Ideas Fest by allowing in only those folks who have property with 1041 development permits that allow the construction of homes of 5,750 feet or more. We could also make attendance for those folks mandatory.

We could have esteemed thinkers come and speak on issues like “LEED Certification for Private Homes,” “Small Living in a Big World,” and “Adjusting to the Environment Without Destroying It.”

Of course, it would be too late for the guy who built the new lake with the walking path outside his Tuscan-style home on McLain Flats; or the couple that ground up the top of Watson Divide, constructed what appears to be an entrance to a golf club with a pair of lakes and a wooden “Berlin Wall” surrounding the entire road; or the guy who has had a crane pointing like a middle finger to the sky in Wildcat for the last year while he clears the earth and builds what has been rumored to be a 40,000-square-foot temple to excess.

Yes, it would be too late for all of them and many others whose properties we pass daily on our runs, rides and drives throughout this formerly pristine place. But for others, an Aspen Get-A-Clue Fest may be just the thing.

Perhaps it will open an eye or two to the beauty that already exists and convince potential developers of means that there is more to both the good of the land and personal happiness than simply walking into the office of the hot architect and saying “Make it massive and I want stone and timber.”

That’s my good idea.


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