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Ask Eartha Steward

High Country Conservation Center
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I am so excited to announce that in Friday’s Summit Daily News, the first ever Eartha Steward’s Guide to Green Living in the High Country will be released! This long-awaited publication will highlight simple ways to walk lighter on our earth ” with a special focus on our local community.

Developing this guide was no easy endeavor. It is an ongoing challenge to sort through claims of eco-ness these days. It seems that everyone is jumping on the green bandwagon now that our environmental crisis is getting mainstream attention.

It’s even more difficult to determine what’s green and what’s not for our local community. Products that are considered sustainable on the East Coast often don’t make sense for our central Rockies environment, and issues that are important for urban areas may not even be on the radar for our rural mountain community yet.

So, much of our focus for this guide was about what makes sense locally for our community, with a focus on the global impact of our choices. We focused a lot on recycling and reuse, because we believe that the more we can keep in the loop and out of our local landfill, the better our future water quality, climate and local communities will be.

We also focused on choices and products that help conserve energy. There’s no doubt about it, the new energy frontier is the biggest challenge we have for a sustainable future. From fuels and transportation to solar power and home energy efficiency, if there’s one place to invest your money and time these days, energy conservation is it.

Organic and Fair Trade products, which are abundantly available in our local community, are a very important way to make a difference on the global scale. Fewer chemicals and more family-owned farms help support a healthier planet across the board. And Fair Trade products ensure that the people and places producing our consumer goods are treated with respect through guaranteeing a safe work place and livable wages.

We looked for choices and products with low toxicity because, though we are still learning about the effects of many chemicals, we do know that many of the chemicals we use today are persistent and pervasive in our environment. You’ll find some of my tried and true homemade green cleaning recipes scattered through the guide. Go ahead and try them!

Finally, we focused a lot on locally made products and locally owned businesses. Keeping dollars in our community and supporting the individuals and families that call this special place home is essential to sustainability. Supporting our local economy is a critical way to keep our home alive and our culture vibrant. Plus, when you look at transportation costs (both in dollars and environmental costs), any time we can keep production and use in our region the better off we’ll be ” financially and environmentally.

Through this process of analyzing the shades of green of our local options, it was heartening to see how many products and choices we have locally that help support a better future for our children and our planet.

But, this is the first of what we hope will be an annual guide, and we know there may be products and services in our community that we weren’t aware of. So, please let us know if you have a local product or service that we should include in future guides. We’ll be happy to help get the word out in the meantime!

As we researched this guide, it was reassuring to see again that good business decisions and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. We even found out that our local newspaper, the Summit Daily News, the very one you’re holding in your hand, is printed with an average of 30 percent recycled paper. And, Eartha’s Guide to Green Living in the High Country is printed on 30 percent post-consumer recycled content paper ” meaning that the recycled paper came from consumer recycling programs, like the one we have here in Summit County.

So, be sure to save the Green Guide in Friday’s paper for easy reference on recycling sorting guides, options for reuse, and inspiration and information to help you make choices that support a cleaner, healthier environment.

From riding the Summit Stage to buying organic coffee, the choices we make every day have environmental impacts both locally and globally. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to make a big difference in our community. And, regardless of what Kermit says, in Summit County, it is easy to be green.

Eartha Steward is written by Carly Wier, Holly Loff, and Beth Orstad, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Eartha believes that you can walk gently on our planet, even if you’re wearing stylie shoes.

Submit questions to Eartha at recycle@colorado.net with Ask Eartha as the subject or to High Country Conservation Center, PO Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.


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