Climate Action Collaborative: How do your actions stack up? | VailDaily.com

Climate Action Collaborative: How do your actions stack up?

Paul Abling
Climate Action Collaborative

If we are going to collectively meet our goal to decrease carbon emissions 25% by 2025, as outlined in the Eagle County Climate Action Plan, it is going to take a little bit of action from a lot of people.

If you are like me, you often wonder what the true impacts are from your actions to be more sustainable. Truth be told, not all actions are created equal when it comes to reducing our emissions. Some have small impacts but are easy to achieve. Others need constant attention or can be expensive to fully realize. It can be as simple as keeping the proper amount of air in your car’s tires or as complex as installing a solar PV system on your home.

Luckily the Climate Action Collaborative has conducted and created an impact analysis of sustainability behaviors every Eagle County resident can do that will lower their personal carbon footprint. Better yet, it has also calculated, based on specific conditions in Eagle County, what resulting emission reductions would be for specific behaviors (see graphic). 

Which actions have the greatest impact?

Purchase renewable energy

For various reasons, not everyone can afford or is a good fit for rooftop solar. What if there was a much more cost-effective way to have all your personal energy coming from renewable sources? Potentially at a fraction of the cost of installing and maintaining your own personal solar PV system?

You can elect to purchase your energy from renewable sources (wind, hydro or solar). It is a simple process and takes only a few minutes. I was surprised to find out that for my modest three-bedroom house and a family of four my average monthly increase to be 100% renewable averages out to be about $5.40 per month. That is about the cost of a cup of coffee and the results are 10,030 pounds of CO2 removed from the atmosphere, annually.

Wondering what your cost would be? Go to http://www.REC.climateactioncollaborative.org to easily calculate your costs. You’ll be surprised just how little it costs and how significant the impact is.

Get out of your car twice a week

Large strides have been made to make our local energy grid greener. With Holy Cross Energy and Excel Energy commitments to renewable energy sources, the No. 1 source of carbon pollution in 2017 was no longer from buildings (both residential and commercial). Instead, it was from transportation. The average Eagle County commuter travels 20+ miles to/from work each day. Most often by themselves in a “single occupancy vehicle” (SOV).

Don’t be an “SOV” two times per week. There is a multitude of options to accomplish this and it can be fun. Did you know ECO Transit buses have Wi-Fi and that you can bring your bike? What about trying to ride your bike or walk to work, weather and schedules permitting? How about talking to your employer about working from home or supporting a company ride share program? Maybe you could carpool with a colleague or neighbor that you want to get to know better? All of these options or a strategy that employs multiple options to help get you out of the car twice a week will go a long way toward helping us meet our climate action goals.

Compost at your home or business

As organic materials break down in the landfill, they create methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon. The biggest contributing source of organic material in the landfill is from food waste.

There are a variety of backyard or indoor composting options available to you at your home to reduce your personal food waste. You can also contact Honeywagon Organics and enroll in their new commercial composting service or take your home compost to one of their community drop sites. Download the free mobile app the “Eagle County Waste Wizard” to learn all about how to properly recycle or compost in the Eagle Valley. 


Paul Abling is the marketing and communications director for Walking Mountains Science Cente. Contact him at paul@walkingmountsins.org