Matt Zalaznick: Not green enough?!
Vail, CO, Colorado
I swapped out a bunch of my light bulbs for compact fluorescents and switched to reusable cloth grocery bags (and even remember them most of the time).
I bring my own mugs to Starbucks and haul every No. 1 or No. 2. bottle or can, cardboard box, newspaper and piece of office paper to the recycling bins.
But it turns out I’m not going to save the world by myself.
Turns out I’m not doing enough to save the pika, which is a mousy little Rocky Mountain creature that loves the cold and therefore has been chased farther and father uphill by global warming. Soon, its only roost will be the tippy-tops of fourtneers and the poor, almost-endangered thing will be faced the threat of being punted off the peaks by hikers taking pictures of themselves on the summits.
Who wants a rat in the background of their new Facebook profile photo?
The pika also does its part to maintain the ecological equilibrium of the Rocky Mountains: It feeds on energy bar wrappers, cigarette butts and dog poop that less-than-conscientious hikers leave behind while getting back to nature.
Alas, it turns out the ice caps are melting even faster than they were when I started washing and reusing Ziploc bags until they disintegrated.
Turns out, buying juice boxes in bulk from Costco is speeding up the rate at which Aspen, Colorado, is turning in Abilene, Texas, climate-wise. Turns out, buying four-dozen 8-ounce juice boxes is as bad for the enviroment as pouring gasoline straight into the Eagle River.
So I’ll try not to buy anything that comes in any kind of package. Next time, I’ll bring a horse trough to Costco and ask them to get out their industrial hose and fill the trough up with juice. They can feed the boxes to the pikas, and I’ll figure out a way to get the trough home other than transporting in the back of an SUV (I hear U-Haul has made some aerodynamic new trailers that can be towed by bike).
Turns out we human beings are getting way too used to luxuries like clothes driers, heating and electricity. Some tyrannical tree-huggers suggest we all go back to using clotheslines. That’s all very pratical, especially during winter time, but a study done by the Alliance for Tiny Stupid Birds shows a drastic drop in the population of hummingbirds where the use of clotheslines has increased.
Clotheslines, it turns out, provide a grave decapitation risk for hummingbirds as they go speeding toward the feeders we animal lovers have put out for them – which is good for those strange birds because there is nothing they like to eat in the wild.
Driers actually are good for the environment – they allow us to wear the extra layers of clothes more frequently as we all agree to set our thermostats no higher than 30 degrees in winter.
But no matter how concerned all of us are with our carbon footprint, we’ll always have feet (and be carbon-based). And our feet will need shoes that are probably mass produced at some toxin-spewing factory that devours a small-country’s-worth of electricity for every pair of running shoes it churns out.
It turns out that a living, breathing human is just not sustainable. We can never be green enough.
Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 970-748-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.