Summit Daily letters: The environmental cost of a ski trip
November 16, 2018
The environmental cost of a ski trip
For the first time in years, I decided not to buy a ski pass in Summit County. I have been a Colorado resident and outdoor enthusiast for many years now. Each fall I have eagerly awaited ski season, reminiscing about hitting the slopes with my friends and exploring local restaurants. As an environmentalist living in Denver, I have always felt lucky to be close to amazing wilderness.
But each year, I have grown increasingly more concerned about how my 120-mile weekend trips to the mountains negatively impact the places I love. Traffic along I-70 has become a disaster. I pass through towns with signs saying, "protect our health, please no idling" and I can't help but cringe. Feeling terribly implicated for contributing to air pollution and climate change which are both greatly threatening Western Slope communities, I finally decided to hang up the helmet this ski season. But I understand that the powder is too enticing for most people to resist, and if we all called it quits in the name of environmental stewardship, the economies of ski towns would crumble. That's why I'm calling for some long-term solutions to our gas-guzzling problem.
Firstly, Colorado needs to adopt Low Emission Vehicle Standards. These standards would ensure that all new cars sold in our state emit less pollutants. They would also save car owners money at the pump. That's less money spent on driving to the mountains and more money spent in the mountains. More importantly, less vehicle emissions means communities will be protected from the health impacts of air pollution and Summit County's booming outdoor economy will be protected. As a Denver resident who is deeply invested in protecting all the wonders that western Colorado has to offer, I am asking your community to make your voice heard and support LEV standards.
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Don't blame Wellington residents for troll's removal
In response to Brandon Quevado's scathing letter to the Wellington community, his blame seems misplaced. It should be noted that prior complaints from residents to the board resulted in a 5-2 vote against removal. Instead the town attempted to address their concerns with mitigation. Signage was increased and trash cans were installed, although it has been a bit cold lately for the local youth to stand outside selling hot chocolate. I suspect resident complaints contributed to, but were not the chief cause of the troll's removal.
Because the troll is located on town property, any injuries resulting from visitation to the troll could result in litigation brought against the town. It is not the same as being injured on national forest land as with a hike on the icy trail to Mohawk Lakes. Trail traffic resulted in such icy conditions and erosion on the edges of the trail that closure was the only recourse for restoration and safety. Seeing that minor injuries had already occurred with the onset of winter, it seems removal may have been the town's proactive solution to preventing a potential lawsuit.
The well-publicized concerns of Wellington residents have made them a convenient scapegoat.
Pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving
While President Trump is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us can exercise that same presidential power by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving observance.
And here are some other good reasons:
• You can brag about pardoning a turkey — like Trump (or not).
• You will stay awake for your entire favorite football game.
• Your sensible vegetarian kid won't have to boycott the family dinner.
• Plant-based holiday roasts don't have to carry government warning labels.
• You won't have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family out of the hospital.
• Your body will appreciate a holiday from the fat, cholesterol and hormones.
• You won't sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.
• You won't spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.
Seriously, this Thanksgiving, let's give thanks for our good fortune, health and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of a plant-based holiday roast, vegetables, fruits and grains.
Our own dinner will feature a store-bought, plant-based holiday roast, mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. An internet search on "vegetarian Thanksgiving" is getting us more recipes than we could possibly use.
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