The 9th annual Amereican Renewable Energy Day (AREDay) Summit, Expo and Film Fest. took place in Aspen this past weekend. AREDay brings together energy efficient thought leaders, educators, entrepreneurs, government officials and more in one forum for discussions, panels, dialogue and networking.
Click 4 pix: CALL TO ACTION
Experts such as Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), Bill Ritter (former Governor of Colorado), 4 Star General (ret.)Wesley Clark, Admiral (ret.) Dennis McGinn, best selling author Thomas Friedman, actress and activist Mariel Hemingway and almost 100 other speakers took the stage in an effort to save the planet.
For the first time in history a majority of Americans (60%) believe that climate change is a reality. Perhaps the fact that this past July was the warmest month in recorded history in America has something to do with it. Perhaps the measurable increase in natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, typhoons, forest fires and droughts have opened people's eyes. Here in Aspen we see the effects of climate change first hand. Last Winter was the worst snow season in Aspen in recent memory. We've seen incredible variations in weather...zero degrees one day...over 50 the next...that didn't used to happen. Remember last March and April...more than 30 days in a row over 60 degrees...and how about that "snirt" we received in 2010 and 2011 from the dust and super-high winds in the Utah desert that dropped a layer of snow mixed with dirt on Aspen...that never happened before.
The environment just might be the most crucial issue in our upcoming Presidential election...but no one is talking about it. The environment could be more important to our future than the economy and jobs and Medicare and college transcripts and tax returns. Yet neither candidate addresses Climate Change. That makes me MAD.
While I enjoyed AREDay and it was very informative, I couldn't help but to read between the lines. It's great that all the speakers shared their exhaustive research and their power point charts and promoted their books, patted each other on the back and alluded unfavorably to our "addiction to oil". Yada Yada Yada. Where's the beef? Who is moving the needle? It's clear that there is an URGENT need to improve the way our world works and THE TIME is NOW.
Obviosly some progress is being made with solar and wind power, natural gas and other new and improved technologies...but it seems like a drop in the bucket. The Federal Government apparently is willing to ignore the issue. The change must come from the State and Local level. Gov. Ritter who helped form the Center for New Energy Economy at Colorado State University has visited 33 States in the past year. He made it clear that the people of America want an energy policy that reduces the risks of climate change and makes the U.S. independent of foreign oil. Can it happen? No one knows.
I came away from AREDay feeling scared and frustrated. There is no clear solution. Education and awareness have taken hold...but the planet Earth needs results--- ASAP. It may sound like baby steps, but I urge all individuals to change their behavior starting today. Everyone needs to recycle. We all need to reduce consumption. I know...life goes on...but every little bit helps. The Earth is like a giant National Park... "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints". One more thing...leave a footprint that you can be proud of...if not for you...for your children and your children's children.
I'm not a scientist, I don't have all the facts...and unfortunately I don't have a simple solution...but I do know that the environment is wasting away before our eyes. The people in Aspen do a pretty good job of protecting the planet (relative to other places) and that's important. We need to think and act locally to preserve our own environment. We in Aspen are lucky to live in paradise...let's work hard so that future generations can enjoy it too.
I'm not a super-duper climate hawk, I drive a car, I fly commercially, I use paper and plastic. I'm just another guy, but I can see into the not so distant future and I'm very worried. What I heard from the AREDay experts strikes a real fear in me, in fact it scares the sh*t out of me. Climate change, gloabal warming, the enviroment...(maybe it needs a better name), but it's an URGENT Problem.
The only thing standing in our way is Politics and Money.
Do your part...start today. Live a more "GREEN" lifestyle. Turn down the A/C, take a shorter shower, turn off the lights when you leave the room...the planet earth depends on it.