Boyd: Climate Action Collaborative taking steps to reduce emissions 25 percent by 2025 (column) | VailDaily.com

Boyd: Climate Action Collaborative taking steps to reduce emissions 25 percent by 2025 (column)

Tom Boyd
Climate Action Collaborative

How important is climate change to Eagle County?

We asked that question, and found that 86 percent percent of 1,100-plus local respondents are "alarmed" or "concerned" about climate change. Other evidence supports this finding, and it's now clear that Eagle County not only considers climate change a serious issue but is ready to do something about it.

Good news: More than 30 local businesses, organizations, nonprofits and governments are doing something about it, and that something is called the Climate Action Collaborative.

You can take part, and you can make a difference. For anyone who feels as though something needs to be done, but isn't sure exactly what that "something" is, the collaborative is a group of locals that has banded together to start tackling this challenge.

It's a big one, and one that a large portion of Eagle County feels is one of the most important issues of our generation. Perhaps it's especially clear to us here in the mountains, where much of our economy rises and falls with snowfall totals and the precious water that runs through our streams and rivers.

It feels good to be on our way. It didn't happen overnight. The Collaborative grew out of the Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community, which was built by a collaborative effort of organizations throughout the county and took more than a year to draft and ratify. A plan is one thing; putting the plan into action is another.

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It can feel overwhelming. Climate change is global in scale and can sometimes seem more complicated than a college calculus textbook. That's because climate interweaves with almost every aspect of our lives: the cars we drive, the food we eat, the homes we live in and the building we work in. Even the garbage we throw away releases greenhouse gasses.

Waves of change

So how are we supposed to tackle this Earth-sized issue?

First of all, we are not alone. Communities around the state, the country and the world are signing on to similar climate action plans. Small ripples, when joined together, create waves of change.

Second, we'll work to inform readers each month in the Vail Daily about ways you can help and what local Eagle County families and companies are already doing every day to help our collective cause.

And we are all headed toward the same goal: 25 percent reduction of emissions by 2025 and 80 percent reduction by 2050. We won't get there in one day, and as they say, even the journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.

Each month, in this space, the Collaborative will take a step with you. Month by month, step by step, we can walk our way toward 25 percent reduction by 2025 — then on to 80 percent by 2050, right in line with worldwide recommendations.

We will start with the easy stuff, and there's plenty of it. New advances in technology, and top-down initiatives from the worlds of science and industry, are paving the way, but we've got to do our part from the grassroots up.

Solving this issue is no longer a series of pipedreams, all connected by fantasy. The solutions don't require monumental change to the way we live our daily lives, just small adjustments here and there, and the 2025 goals are already in sight.

So, how do we get there? It all comes down to slices of "pie."

Using 2014 as a baseline, Eagle County has two paths forward: One is to continue emitting at the same rate. The other is to reduce by 25 percent by 2025.

The difference creates a pie-shaped triangle. Divide that triangle into further slices, commonly referred to as wedges, and now you have a roadmap that will make the difference between success and failure in this important project.

Each slice of pie is a different aspect of our emissions: buildings, waste, transportation and energy. Each sector has goals that are custom built for our community. Add them up, and they get us to our goals.

Within each sector are a series of proven methods for reducing our emissions. Each month, we'll focus on one of these techniques, and together we'll take it, one step at a time, to the finish line.

We can't wait to get started. In fact, many of us already have. Join us, take the pledge and let's tackle this one together.

Tom Boyd is director of public relations and communications for the Vail Valley Foundation, a member of the Climate Action Collaborative. Learn more at http://www.climateactioncollaborative.org.