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Vail Valley: Slide show sees urgency in climate change

Matt Zalaznick
mzalaznick@vaildaily.com
Vail CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – In your own personal battle against global warming in Colorado’s Vail Valley, there are steps you can take to make your home and your country more environmentally friendly, says Susan Silver Schonfeld, a frequent Valley visitor who is a volunteer in Al Gore’s Climate Project.

Schonfeld will replay a slideshow on global warming that’s an update to Al Gore’s Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Broken Arrow in Arrowhead in Edwards. She has played the slideshow about 15 times, including in Vail last Wednesday.

Schonfeld is one of about 1,500 volunteers who have been trained to present the slideshow that argues that the world’s climate is changing quickly and needs immediate attention from average citizens and world leaders.



“There’s definitely an immediacy – an urgent tone in our message,” said Schonfeld, who lives in Chicago and has long worked with children with hearing impairments. ” We don’t believe climate change can wait or take the back burner to other issues.”

The Climate Project’s message is that there are steps people can take – recycling, conserving energy – in their everyday lives to fight climate change, but Americans also have to put pressure on their elected representatives in government to push for widespread policy change.



“There are lots of things you can personally do, and added together, they can make a difference,” she says. “But unless legislative changes are made and emissions are reduced, then it’s a much harder problem to attack.”

The Waxman-Markey bill now before Congress calls for considerable reductions in emissions over the next several decades. It aims to reduce carbon emissions to 97 percent of 2005 levels by 2012 and 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2050. The bill also sets standards for renewable energy and which sources of energy qualify.

Having the bill passed before the United Nations’ conference on climate change in December in Copenhagen would show America was taking the lead on the problem, Schonfeld says.



“Throughout history we’ve really been leaders in the world, like abolishing slavery and like desegregation,” she says. “We want to go to Copenhagen and be leaders.”

The slideshow also attempts to educate people who may have heard buzzwords like “carbon footprint” and “carbon sequestration,” but not know exactly what they mean. It also attempts to show how many world problems are connected to hotter weather and how both the world’s wildlife and economies are being pressured.

“A theme throughout is that all this change is not linear like we’re used to, but it’s happening very quickly and in rapid spurts in a way that really has not happened historically,” she says.

The response to the slideshow has been positive wherever she’s given in it, she says.

“Here in the Vail Valley in particular people are so aware of their environment and so appreciative of the magnificence of the environment that I think they’re somewhat more attuned,” she says.

• Waxman-Markey bill: visit http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2454.

• Climate Project: http://www.theclimateproject.org.

•-UN Climate Change Conference: http://en.cop15.dk/


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