Shaping a response to the county’s Climate Action Plan
- There are now 23 fewer days with freezing temperatures than before the 1980s.
- Scientists predict we’ll have 30 more days annually without freezing temperatures by 2060.
- With every 1 degree increase in temperature, we’ll see a 3- to- 4-percent decrease in water supply.
- Scientists predict more extreme events — wildfires, droughts and floods.
- Snow is melting 15 to 30 days earlier than it was 25 years ago.
New survey to provide critical next step in community effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Written By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by the Climate Action Collaborative
Warmer winters and fewer powder days put a crimp on our fun, but climate change will impact fish and wildlife populations, water supplies, our economy and all that we rely on in Eagle County. What are we willing to do about it?
In 2016, community stakeholders completed the Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community, which recommends reducing local greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050.
Now, it’s up to the Climate Action Collaborative to bring the plan’s recommendations to reality.
But the Collaborative can’t make headway on these aggressive goals until it hears from the community. It launched an online survey this week in order to gather the input needed for a true, community-wide effort.
And if you don’t believe in climate change, this survey is for you, too.
“We want to know where the community lands on this issue,” said Kim Langmaid, Ph.D., founder and vice president of Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon. “Taking a survey might not sound like much, but it’s very useful in terms of how we’re going to organize and implement various actions. We want our strategies and projects to be aligned with what the community wants.”
If you think that taking a few extra steps in your daily life isn’t enough to make a difference, imagine if everyone thought that way. The collective power of community action has the ability to literally change the world.
“We want to know how the community wants to take action and how they feel about climate change,” Langmaid said. “And if they aren’t taking action, what are the barriers?”
Here are three more reasons you should care about taking the Collaborative’s survey in order to influence life in this valley and beyond.
Local impacts matter
It takes a village to have an impact to reduce the effects of climate change. To think globally and act locally involves more than recycling your wine bottles (but don’t stop doing that, either). It’s about simplifying things for the greater good, which often creates less complexity in your life, Langmaid said.
Things you can start doing now include: Buy local food and products (instead of ordering online), turn off lights, unplug things that are not being used, drive less, switch to more energy-efficient lighting and appliances, take the bus and walk more. Visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/cap for more energy-saving tips.
Our economy and ecosystems are at risk
Climate change has the potential to change all aspects of winter and summer recreation as we know it, potentially devastating tourism and quality of life in Eagle County.
“We have a lot to lose,” Langmaid said.
Skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, fishing, rafting, hiking — it’s all at risk. The Climate Action Plan aims to do our part as a community to help stop the warming trend in order to protect local jobs, quality of life and tourism.
The Climate Action Plan notes increasing changes to the flows of our streams and rivers, earlier snowmelt and more wildfires. Increases in insect-borne diseases like West Nile virus, Lyme disease and the length and intensity of allergy season could have major impacts on health.
If warming continues on the current path, the lack of snow means water will be too low to sustain cold water for fishing and aquatic life will suffer.
“Climate change impacts our air, water, landscapes, wildlife, economy and health,” Langmaid said.
To prepare for the future
The population in Eagle County is expected to increase from about 53,000 to 94,000 people by 2040, according to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
“The growing population will result in more cars on the road, more homes being built, and more support services such as schools, stores, water infrastructure, and other utilities—all of which consume more energy and generate more (greenhouse gas) emissions,” according to the Climate Action Plan.
One of the most impactful ways to prepare for this future growth is to increase the energy efficiency of local homes, commercial buildings, facilities and vehicles.