Canary Initiative: Aspen’s answer to warming |

Canary Initiative: Aspen’s answer to warming

Alex Miller

ASPEN – The city of Aspen recently announced a plan to reduce its own contributions to global warming. Dubbed The Canary Initiative – a nod to the old miner’s practice of carrying a canary into the mine to detect deadly gases – the plan recognizes Aspen’s fragile environment and looks to involve a variety of different organizations to address the problem of global warming.In addition to the city of Aspen, The Canary Initiative involves Aspen Skiing Co., the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Global Change Institute and other local environmental groups. The goal is to create an Aspen Global Warming Alliance to offer solutions to what city officials say is a growing problem that concerns everyone.”City council has said environmental issues are the No. 1 priority,” said Lee Cassin, Aspen’s environmental health director. “We really want to be leaders and walk the talk.”Aspen’s efforts go from simple measures like using reclaimed water for irrigation to larger-scope ideas, such as joining the Chicago Climate Exchange – a trading program where members agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain percentage. If they don’t achieve their goal, they can buy credits from other members who’ve exceeded theirs.Cassin says the city believes it can make a difference locally by using environmental “best practices” – and on a larger scale by leading.”What we can do here can be magnified by the fact that, if we succeed, others can learn by it,” she said. “We all cause global warming by the little things we do, so we’re all part of the solution by the little things we do. Our philosophy is that we need to do our part.”Beyond Aspen, Cassin said the members of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns have displayed interest in combining forces to arrive at solutions to the global warming problem.”There’s a common interest and goal since these are all places with fragile environments,” she said. “Many voices speak more loudly than one, and there are enough people in the state of Colorado to benefit by understanding global warming. We don’t all have to reinvent the wheel.”Vail, Colorado

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