Smith Hymes: Do your part to combat climate change | VailDaily.com

Smith Hymes: Do your part to combat climate change

Sarah Smith Hymes
Valley Voices

If you attended last week’s “Getting to Zero: From Radical to Rational” lecture at Battle Mountain High School, I’m guessing you didn’t leave it kicking up your heels or fist-pumping in triumph. Dr. Robert Davies, a physicist and climate science expert, laid out the sobering reality of the science behind climate change, the urgency of the threat, and the dire consequences of inaction.  

Even if you weren’t there, you likely know the gist of it: global warming poses an existential threat to human civilization, and it’s accelerating faster than scientists predicted. Even the U.S. Defense Department views global climate change as the single largest security threat facing our nation. 

No doubt, it’s a frightening scenario. You aren’t alone if you feel powerless, overwhelmed by the challenge, and guilty about your leaky house, hamburger habit, and rusty bike. But there is good news.

It isn’t too late – but we’re getting close. Dr. Davies calls the next decade “the most important any of us will ever live through.” If that’s not a call to action, what is? Start today.

The choices you make every day do have an impact. Visit the website of the Climate Action Collaborative of Eagle County and go to the Climate Action Resources – Take Action tab. You can also take “the pledge” which has simple, practical ways to reduce your personal carbon footprint. There is also a link to sign up for Holy Cross Energy’s PuRe program to switch to 100% renewable electricity with the click of a button. Take advantage of all the community resources available. 

Smart people have figured out what needs to happen and it’s easy to find out how you can help. Visit Project Drawdown’s website at drawdown.org – or better yet buy the book “Drawdown” by Paul Hawken — to peruse the 100 most substantive ways we can reverse global warming. There are diverse solutions in addition to those associated with clean energy. It’s a fascinating and inspiring read, good for science geeks and casual readers alike.  

You have way more power than you think: Use your voice, your wallet, your vote, your pen, your time, and your feet. Go to local town council and county commissioner meetings in person and insist on aggressive action to reduce emissions and sequester carbon. Call your state and national representatives and do the same. Vote for climate candidates. Invest in new technologies, support nonprofits that are fighting the fight and creating solutions. Share what you do with friends and coworkers and participate in community action events to build momentum and critical mass. Support businesses that support your climate goals!

The Avon Town Council and town staff is committed to climate action. Search climate action at avon.org to learn about all the town’s initiatives, and sign up for notifications about future events.

Sarah Smith Hymes is the mayor of the town of Avon and the chairman of the Climate Action Collaborative. Email her at shymes@avon.org.