Climate Action Collaborative: Love the world you’re with
By the time these words hit the page it’ll be Valentine’s Day — or somewhere close to it. This means you’ve recently heard the word “love” in about a million different forms: Love is a rock. Love is a battlefield. Love bites. Love is all around you. All you need is love. La la la, la la la, love, love, love.
Love is a funny word, one that can be used in a deeply meaningful message to your lifelong partner, and then a few minutes later to describe how you feel about a really good burrito.
As much as the word’s flexibility may blur its definition, there is one thing we can all agree on about love: When you love something, you’re supposed to take care of it.
Riding the bus the other day I heard someone say: “Man, I love it here.”
OK, I can go along with that: I love this place, too. Chances are, if you’re reading this, so do you. It just so happens that, as I write this, I’ve got that euphoria that only comes after a hard-charging morning on the slopes. When this snow melts, we’ll ride it again on the rivers, we’ll fish in the streams, we’ll benefit in exponentially expounding ways from the snow, the water, the mountains, the wilderness around us, and we will continue — for as long as we can — to live the life the Rockies so generously provide us.
I don’t think I can put into the brief words of this column just what it’s like to live here, to visit here … just to be here. Let’s just say that if you know what I’m talking about, you know what I’m talking about.
With this thing that we’ve got comes another thing: responsibility. It seems like common sense to me that if you are provided something by someone, that you try your best to provide something back, in turn. If you love someone, you might go even further and say that you’ll do even more than they could ever pay back.
The same goes for our surrounding environment. This place around us sustains us. It brings us joy, a place for repose, and its fundamental beauty draws people from all over the world — therefore it is the root of our economy. Every day, we rely on this incredible place in order to live our lives.
That means we should give back. We should take care of it.
Over the past few generations, we’ve noticed that we may not be doing very well at that. Things aren’t quite the same as they were. Yes, it’s growing: the human habitat is larger, the wild habitats are smaller, but the climate patterns are also changing. Our planet is warming. Our region is warming. Those hard-charging ski days may be fewer, the seasons shorter, as temperatures climb through the decades.
So maybe that guy on the bus is wondering what he can do about it. Maybe he feels helpless, like so many of us do, about a problem so big, when we are so small.
What can this relatively tiny squarish thing on the map, known as Eagle County, do about a problem that is so monumentally big, and encompasses the entire planet?
Big, complex problems require big, complex solutions. But the answer of what WE can do is simple: around the globe we are seeing small townships, states, provinces, cities and counties sign up, one by one, to a plan that can lower greenhouse gas emissions and help us avoid the dangerous experiment of climate change. Individuals are deciding, one by one, to make a change … to show some love, if you will, back to the planet that sustains them.
Eagle County has joined this plan. We’ve done it via something called the Climate Action Collaborative, and it’s populated by people, businesses, and organizations who know that bit by bit, one by one, we can correct the course and do what’s right for our little corner of the world.
I agree with the guy on the bus: I love it here. I’m pretty sure that means I have a responsibility to help take care of this place that I love.
On Valentine’s Day this year, I invite you to do the same: Take the Climate Action Pledge at walkingmountains.org/climatepledge.
It will show you, step by step, how to show a little love back to the place that you love. Perfect for a happy valentine.
Tom Boyd is the director of public relations and the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater for the Vail Valley Foundation, a member of the Climate Action Collaborative. Learn more at http://www.climateactioncollaborative.org.