Protecting resources focus of Earth Day

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— The No. 1 reason why Jen Seidenberg of the Colorado Wilderness Network is so passionate about energy issues can be found by heading west on U.S. Highway 40 into Moffat County.

"There's a place called Vermillion Basin," Seidenberg said. "It's full of ancient artifacts and rare plants, but the Bush administration is pressing to drill there. Anyone who goes there agrees that it's a magical place."

Even if you haven't visited Vermillion, energy issues still affect you, she said. "It's so local. It's about sitting in traffic and smelling fumes."

And it's about the times we live in, when the Bush administration points to our dependence on foreign oil as reason to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, she said.

"This is a good time to reflect and think about it," she said. "It affects our life, our health and our recreation."

Maybe, she proposed, instead of drilling for oil in protected areas, drivers could find alternative transportation and car companies could find alternative energy sources.

That proposal will be the focus of next Tuesday's Earth Day celebration.

The day will begin at 10 a.m. on the Routt County Courthouse lawn with a free breakfast and community clean up. Volunteers will be given garbage bags and gloves and sent around town to clean up parks and the Yampa River Core Trail.

After the clean up, an open discussion of environmental issues related to oil and natural gas drilling will be held in Willett Hall on the Colorado Mountain College campus.

Professors John Saunders, Sylvia Dennis and Tom Delancey will lead the conversation about alternative energy, moderated by ethics professor Bob Baker.

At 7:30 p.m., the conversation will continue in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill with the short film, "French Fries to Go."

The documentary follows former Telluride resident Granola Ayatollah of Canola (Charris Ford) as he fuels his 1980 International Scout truck.

Ford's truck doesn't run on gasoline or electricity or solar power. His truck is powered by grease, all drained from restaurant deep fryers.

Ford is on a mission to save us from petroleum addiction.

Ford is charming, confident, and charismatic. The15-minute film about his recycled French-fry grease passion premiered at Telluride's Mountainfilm Festival in May 2002.

After the screening of "French Fries to Go," a speaker from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) will lead a discussion about energy future and show her hybrid car to anyone who is interested.

Call Jen Seidenberg at 871-7186.

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