Aspen can have large voice in addressing climate change |

Aspen can have large voice in addressing climate change

Aspen and Pitkin County should lead on climate by leveraging our privilege to model scale-able solutions for other communities to follow.

In May, the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners passed resolutions endorsing the “Campaign to Protect 30% of US Lands and Waters by 2030” and “President Biden’s Temporary Pause on Oil and Gas Leasing on Public Lands.” These are big wins towards that aim. These resolutions demonstrate that protecting public lands crucial to our economy can also contribute to solving the climate crisis. These are systemic, win-win solutions. I celebrate the BOCC for their actions.

The Campaign to Protect 30%, commonly called “30×30,” is a bold conservation vision, backed by science, that seeks to address both the climate and biodiversity crisis. Pitkin County is an important contributor to make this vision a reality and the city of Aspen should be a strong partner and support these efforts, similar to past initiatives such as Wilderness and Roadless, the Thompson Divide, and the creation of Open Space & Trails and Healthy Rivers & Streams. The urgency of climate change requires the city and county to continue working together to improve these programs.

In the early 2000s, Aspen provided an example and road map for 100% renewable power. The challenge for the next decade is to become a zero net-waste community. The average Aspenite is six times as consumptive as their European counterpart, and 60 times their Pakistani. These goods bleed carbon into our atmosphere no matter the source of our electric grid. Buying ourselves out of the problem is not scale-able. Our opportunity and responsibility is to maintain our high standard of living without waste. When we do, we will have made the single biggest contribution to combating the global climate crisis.

I look forward to working with my fellow city councilors, county commissioners, community members, nonprofits, and others to ensure these resolutions live up to their potential and that we collectively do everything in our power to reach this ambitious goal and protect tomorrow.

Skippy Mesirow

Member, Aspen City Council