Roger Marolt: The world would be better if Aspen sucked (a little)
The Fourth of July stand-still parade was a bust. It was boring. It didn’t do diddly to reduce global warming. Despite their reputations as excruciating assaults on the senses noise, smoke, hard candy face shots, and firehose blasts of cold water on hairdos and sunglass lenses are fun at approved times. The national celebration of independence is one of those occasions. I missed the chaos of our small town parade. It’s tradition. A few times a year orchestrated mayhem for fun and profit is fine.
Here’s the thing, though: recognizing that the poorly concocted static version of the big parade, in and of itself, failed in its mission to contribute to the climate change solution is the kind of hot air blowing that got us in trouble with the air we breath to begin with and keeps us scratching our sunburned scalps for ways to reverse this huge problem. Writing-off the idea of purposefully making the parade as dull as a parking lot is about like saying, “Since we can’t fix this thing today, it only makes sense to put off making a plan until tomorrow.”
Some reasoned that the standstill parade should be nixed because the amount of burnt fossil fuels saved compared to the regular parade is paltry, and especially relative to the jet fuel burned to get here by wealthy visitors who refuse to jetpool. That is like connecting dots across different pages of the coloring book. Instead of a decipherable picture to study, we get a Rorschach inkblot test.
Here’s my interpretation of it: Us enticing people to fly their private jets here is like lumber-jacking the rainforests — we reap the financial benefits while the rest of the world pays the price. Love thy neighbor?
Picture this instead: On one page we have a unimaginative display of vintage cars parked along the street next to bored real-estate agents giving away hot dogs in white bread buns. A lonesome fire truck sits in front of the station. There are a few street performers, but no sword swallowers. It’s a quiet scene. On the page that follows, we see an airport with plenty of jet parking still available, and traffic is light on Highway 82 as folks are celebrating the holiday in their backyards.
Imagine an Aspen with dandelions growing in the parks, the mall without managed flower beds, and kiboshing the Fourth of July parade. In short, turning it into a place fewer think is worth firing up the jet turbines to come check out. Now, there would be a statement on how important we think climate change is!
But we know the jets will land somewhere else if we do this, probably in places that sell escargot and decorative candles at their farmers’ markets set up synergistically in front of quaint stand alone versions of trendy department stores. Meanwhile we will be left with only knots to fill our stomachs. Principles don’t buy groceries.
Let’s not be hasty! Meaningful actions are the easiest to put off. It’s so beautiful here in the mountains that we couldn’t possibly be part of the problem. Our landfill isn’t even overflowing yet. Yes, the smoke in the air is hell on my sinuses, but …
The three big balls we all juggle concerning global warming are maintaining a livelihood, creating quality of life, and preserving someone else’s future. Two out of three of these are personal. Two-thirds of these are immediate. Sixty-six point seven percent of these things consume most of our waking hours to accomplish. One is an urgent topic of discussion at cocktail parties.
Carpe diem! Live in the moment! Be present! Mind, body, and spirit. The power of four. Relax it’s Aspen. And you think branding has no influence on us? If we just paved our streets with yellow bricks instead of gold, fewer people might visit Aspen. Just do it!
Global warming is an infuriating jigsaw puzzle. The electric car companies are working on the edges. Wind turbine scientists have the grassy field covered. Solar panel technologists are gathering all the blue tinted pieces to put together the sky. What’s left is our section in the middle where the cute little house sits behind the pond. Pardon my French, but this part is a bitch! There is sooo much detail! We suspect a piece is lost. What a shame if we get this all together and only the front porch is missing. Ah, don’t worry. It’ll turn up. It’s got to be here somewhere.
Roger Marolt is not suggesting Aspen roll up the red carpet or even put a few wrinkles in it to deter some visitors, only that it could if it got super serious about climate change. firstname.lastname@example.org