Guest commentary: Starting to turn the tide on global warming |

Guest commentary: Starting to turn the tide on global warming

Jacquelyn Francis
Guest commentary

You can tell when the tide is turning by the way questions change. When it comes to global warming, the questions have changed from “What can we do?” to “How are we doing it?” It’s thrilling to see people everywhere speaking up and pitching in to repair our planet.

I was in seventh-grade science when I first learned about the greenhouse effect. I remember that light-bulb moment, when I first understood that human activities were causing global warming, and people could mitigate it. I remember feeling that I had just learned something very significant. I wasn’t wrong: The greenhouse effect is the engine driving humanity’s biggest challenge.

Today, kids walk out of school to protest inaction on climate change. Young leaders like Greta Thurnburg are finding their voices. Increasing numbers of executives are considering climate when they make business decisions, and everyday choices by consumers are being made with the climate in mind. There’s an increase in accurate climate journalism, and more stories about how a clean and equitable future will look. We live in a moment that the future will build on.

Because of its vocal citizens, the Roaring Fork Valley stands out and continues to progress as a leader in environmental and climate concerns. It’s encouraging to be surrounded by so many talented, committed people. We were honored to see the quality of many great local organizations who applied for the 2019 Keeling Curve Prize, which recognizes projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or promotes their uptake.

This year, our diverse group of finalists includes startups like Opus 12, a young team whose project to convert CO2 emissions into other in-demand chemicals originated with a process they developed during their time at Stanford University. It also includes large groups like The World Council of Churches, a collective of over 345 member churches that supports young people taking action on climate, from Sunday school to summer camp.

As our well-informed Aspenites are aware, climate solutions are all around us. People from all over the world are becoming more resourceful, more decisive and more committed to effective and productive climate action, both professionally and in their personal lives. Any reason to stay enthusiastic is a reason to celebrate, and we encourage everyone to engage climate action not only from a place of urgency, but also from a place of optimism. The more we remind each other that we can do it and we are doing it, the more people will be encouraged to join the fight and turn the tide.

To that end, as the executive director of the Keeling Curve Prize, I’m happy to extend an invitation to all our climate-smart friends to attend the 2019 awards ceremony, starting at 4:30 p.m Friday at Scarlett’s restaurant. Be inspired by stories of climate action from all over the world, and enjoy drinks and appetizers. Visit for more information and to RSVP. Join us, and help turn the tide on global warming.

Jacquelyn Francis is founder and director of the Keeling Curve Prize, which spotlights the world’s most promising projects for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or containing carbon.