Recreation district adopts climate plan to increase energy efficiency
EAGLE COUNTY — The Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District Board of Directors unanimously adopted the Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community at their regular Dec. 21 meeting following a presentation by local environmental and sustainability professionals.
Kim Langmaid, vice president of Walking Mountains Science Center, along with the organization’s sustainability and stewardship team led the process that began in January. More than 30 community members from towns, county services and businesses participated in meetings that included education, discussion of policy and global targets and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Community conversations hosted by county commissioners in the spring and open house events throughout the fall also helped to engage residents and shape the plan.
What is the plan?
“The constituent-led part of this plan is critical,” Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry said. “Also, that the plan comes from a community, science and education organization puts it on sound footing.”
The plan outlines targets and milestones, including a goal to reduce countywide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Strategies include expanding energy efficiency programs for buildings, developing new public transit options and increasing renewable power supplies.
“With federal climate policy and actions now in question, state and local climate action plans are even more important,” Langmaid said. “The most direct solution to the climate problem is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by burning less fuel.”
Studies don’t lie
Studies show rising concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from burning coal, natural gas and oil are warming and changing climates around the world. In Eagle County, winters are getting shorter and warmer and summers are getting hotter. According to a 2015 study led by the University of Colorado and Colorado State University, there are now 23 fewer days of freezing temperatures than in the 1970s. Precipitation, river flows and water supplies are changing and are less predictable as carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow.
“The Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District serves a large part of Eagle County and is concerned with the health and well-being of not only the people who recreate at our facilities but of the overall health of the surrounding environment and the impact it has on the district and residents,” board member Mikayla Curtis said. “We look forward to exploring what this means for (the district), integrating innovative ideas and approaches, and joining other local forces in achieving this goal.”
For more information on the Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community, go to http://www.walkingmountains.org/cap.
Vail Mountain has transformed a forgotten shack atop Chair 4 into its new Legacy Hut, a warm-up area designed to celebrate the mountain’s history.