Community Agriculture Alliance: The climate is in our hands
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in October and the National Climate Assessment in November, it’s been a deluge of depressing information on the impacts of climate change on the global economy, human welfare and the environment. It’s clear that immediate action is needed.
Locally, 2018 has been a year of climate action for Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. Our community has made real progress to not only reduce carbon emissions but also to build economic and community resilience in the face of climate change. That is something we can all be proud of and continue into 2019 to keep the momentum going.
2018 by the numbers:
- 102 local businesses signed a letter urging the city of Steamboat Springs to act on climate change.
- 1,100 children and adults signed the Sustainability Council’s pledge to curb their carbon emissions.
- 66 tons of hard-to-recycle materials such as electronics, mattresses, lightbulbs and more were kept out of the landfill through the Sustainability Council’s spring and fall Recycling Drop-Off events preventing significant greenhouse gas emissions.
- 127 people reduced their carbon footprint by using alternative transportation — bike, bus, walk or carpool — during the Sustainability Council’s month-long Commuter Challenge.
- Sustainability Council ReTree volunteers planted 320 trees along the Yampa River, which will provide shade and help control rising river temperatures.
- The Sustainability Council helped 27 low-income families make their homes more energy efficient.
- 1,400 people attended the Stand for Our Land rally to speak out on public lands issues.
But, there’s much more to do if we want to safeguard everything that makes the Yampa Valley such a special place to live and to visit. In 2019, the Sustainability Council has ambitious plans to engage even more people in climate action and reduce our community’s climate pollution.
We’ll be developing a rooftop solar cooperative; facilitating affordable energy efficiency for all; making our A-Z Recycling Guide a searchable mobile app to recycle it right at home, at work and on-the-go; bringing in prominent environmental speakers and timely films for free Talking Green events; and improving our community’s resilience to climate change through advocacy and education, particularly around tourism, drought and wildfire.
Since its founding 10 years ago, the Sustainability Council has operated on the idea that sustainability is a community effort. With the increasing threats of climate change, it’s all hands on deck if we want to leave a legacy of a healthy and resilient Yampa Valley for future generations.
If you’ve been thinking about how to take action, make it your 2019 New Year’s resolution. You can sign the Sustainability Council’s climate action pledge and commit to just two simple actions — from eating local to avoiding single-use plastics; volunteering for a Sustainability Council service project like ReTree or the Recycling Drop-Off; or supporting the organization’s efforts with a tax-deductible donation before Dec. 31.
Climate change can be daunting, but climate action is doable. Go to yvsc.org to get started.
Anne Mudgett is the communications and development director for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When the Routt County Conservation District, with organizational roots that extend to 1942, reconstituted in spring 2019, the top priority was soil health.