Bill Wallace: Sustainability issues

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As a Green Team member, I'm saddened but not surprised to learn that in the Steamboat Pilot & Today's view, the sustainability coordinator position isn't needed. Saddened because the Pilot & Today apparently did not understand our recommendation; not surprised because, in retrospect, we didn't do a good job of selling.

For Steamboat Springs, the real sustainability issue is this: As the symptoms and consequences of nonsustainable behavior increase (e.g., spiking fuel prices, dwindling water supplies, air and water quality problems, rampant and ungainly development, to name a few), are we going to take charge of our own future (charging bulls), or are we just going to sit there and ignore these trends (boiling frogs), tossing them off as inevitable consequences of modern day life? The boiling frogs metaphor, by the way, comes from the urban legend that if you put a frog in cold water and slowly heat it up, the frog will cook, unable to sense and react to slow but ultimately fatal increases in temperature.

Let's take a look at what the city has in place to address these issues. First, we have the official Green Team of eight city employees, organized to implement the city's Sustainability Management Plan. That plan is limited in scope (just stuff that falls under city jurisdiction) and limited in vision (basically lead by example). Then there is the other Green Team, many of whom are listed in the plan as "interested community members." We are the locals who show up at the monthly Green Team meetings, bringing an understanding of the bigger sustainability picture and the desire to do something about it. Interestingly, these meetings are packed with locals, while only sparsely attended by the city's official Green Team members. Fortunately, the meetings are led by Gavin Malia, an energetic and very competent city employee whose day job is GIS coordinator. Gavin volunteers much of his time organizing the meetings, gathering ideas and doing whatever follow-up he can.

Not surprisingly, the city's actions along the sustainability theme have been limited. They are looking at energy efficiency in buildings, water conservation, waste recycling, use of biodiesel and the like. All of these actions will have some impact, but none take into account the full breadth of opportunities and threats that are currently before Steamboat Springs in the realm of sustainable development. Recognizing this, the other Green Team recommended that we get a full time sustainability coordinator, someone who could go beyond the city's limits of authority and figure out how to take advantage of opportunities and deal with the threats.

Other cities and counties have figured this out and are taking charge of their future. Yuma County in eastern Colorado has decided that it wants to be a center for renewable energy and has a full-time person working on its behalf. Places in Florida are getting control of development by ranking land by its natural capital value and steering development accordingly. My personal favorite is the Poudre School District in Fort Collins, which is building schools using more sustainable technologies. They achieve around 10 percent savings on design and construction and 30 to 40 percent savings in operating costs, not because of some "magic bullet" technologies, but by smarter project management.

We saw the coordinator position funding as temporary, seed money until the position could spin off into a nonprofit organization funded by grants and donations. In any event, we expected the person to find opportunities and savings that would more than compensate for the cost. Sadly, this may not happen.

Golly, it's getting awfully warm in here. Wait! Are those bubbles I see?

Bill Wallace

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Bill Wallace 6 years, 10 months ago

Not a problem. The idea of a city-funded position came up in our "other Green Team" discussions because in the past the city has set up positions and/or provided seed money for activities that benefit the Steamboat Springs community as a whole. I understand Strings in the Mountains received some sort of initial funding. Others have as well.

We figured that if the city was really serious, then they ought to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.

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Jon Casson 6 years, 11 months ago

Bill-

While I understand the concern and the issues at hand. Couldnt a non-profit be formed first? Couldnt this group advise the city on these issues? I dont understand why the city needs to hire an employee at 80-100k per year to address this issue. If a non-profit advisory committee is the ultimate goal, why not just start there at no expense to the taxpayer?

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beentheredonethat 6 years, 10 months ago

The Steamboat Pilot got it right in their editorial. Every City department and employee should be instructed to think "green" in their projects.

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Gadfly 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree that the community -- not just the Cty -- needs to get serious about sustainability. I also agree with the Pilot/Today that the timing of this request was unfortunate. But don't give up yet. There's time before the 2008 City budget is voted to brainstorm all of the possibilities for finding a guiding hand or hands for our sustainability efforts. The people I've talked to about the full-time position just reject the notion of the City spending money that it hasn't budgeted. City Council is already doing much too much of that. I wonder if there's a local business that might "lend" a suitable employee to the City for a year or so? It's a practice that has worked well elsewhere.

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beentheredonethat 6 years, 10 months ago

"The people I've talked to about the full-time position just reject the notion of the City spending money that it hasn't budgeted."

Gadfly, please talk to more people, because many believe the City should not spend the money on a full time position regardless of budgeting guidelines.

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Bill Wallace 6 years, 10 months ago

Good comments, everyone. Thanks! In our green team discussions, city spending on another position wasn't characterized as the "third rail" issue it's turning out to be. However, after reading the comments and attending the City Council meetings, I can understand people's frustrations. At the next Green Team meeting (scheduled for June 6th, at 1:00 pm in Centennial Hall) I'm sure this will be a major topic of conversation.

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Bill Wallace 6 years, 10 months ago

To upstream: Normally, I don't spend any time with folks like sbvor, who apparently have too much time on their hands. However, I felt compelled to say something when he/she took a undeserved swat at one of our green team member's earlier letter to the editor. Furthermore, its been my experience that these sorts of rants, if left unchallenged, tend to be taken as fact.

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Bill Wallace 6 years, 10 months ago

It must be exhilarating to live in a conspiracy-laden world.

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Bill Wallace 6 years, 10 months ago

For more than 10 years, I've researched, written and spoken all over the world on the issues of sustainability, including climate change. On the issue of climate change, the people whose opinions I've learned to respect have concluded that the reports produced by the IPCC present a sound case that the world climate is changing as never before, and human activity is a strong contributor. These reports have been extensively reviewed by well-respected scientists throughout the world. As such they have become the most intensively peer-reviewed documents in history, precisely because of the seriousness of the issues at hand and the expected controversy.

Furthermore, the "consensus" reached by the IPCC represents conservative conclusions, conclusions that all can strongly support, not necessarily the ones that postulate other and more dire consequences.

You seem intent on proving the negative. It's all a hoax, a great conspriacy. Nothing's going to happen. What if you're wrong? The concern over climate change is is not based on some rock-solid theorem, but on the combination of significant probability that global climate change is real and the dreadful consequences that could result.

So far, all of your "proof" of the global warming "hysteria" is formed from cherry-picking stuff provided by the skeptics. Reputable scientists, engineers and others have labeled documentaries such as "Climate of Fear" and "The Great Global Warming Swindle" as a lot of nonsense.

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upstream 6 years, 10 months ago

mr. wallace, in all due respect, let it go (the back and forth with sbvor, i mean). sbvor is clearly a nutter of epic proportion and requires no further response. "I pity the fool..." ugh. carry on with the good fight- the victory is in the struggle.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

Wawallace2- You'll find that the majority of people don't even bother with SBvor any longer. Still stuck in the stone age with outdated ideas. SBvor will be the last of the fossil fuels still hanging around when the rest of society moves on.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

sigh Q: How many times can you vote in Pilot polls?

A: Depends on how many computers (or individual Browsers on a single computer) you have. Ex: if you have 1 computer and use Internet Explorer and Mozilla separately, that's 2 votes on 1 computer.

  Now, if you are in a workplace that has multiple computers, take that amount and multiply it by the amount of browsers per computer, it should come out to equal...a bunch. ***what's that line in there? Oh yeah- "do the math."***

Hell, I've voted up to 8 times on one poll. You are pulling skewed (screwed) statistics, so therefore, they are not valid as proof positive of anything except that someone's computer is working. Plus, there's no qualifier for local vs non-locals voting; there's no qualifier for registered voter vs non-registered voter. A coin flip is more scientific.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

No, nobody takes the challenge because with the exception of your new "padawan," nobody takes you seriously. Debating you just allows you to release more CO2 into the atmosphere, depleting the ozone even quicker. Plus, you don't actually debate people- you just repeat, repeat, repeat and call anyone who disagrees a liberal leftist, Marxist, Socialist, and any other word you believe to be derogatory toward that person. It's like trying to tell a 3yr old that the fire is hot and will burn over and over again. Eventually, you have to let the child touch the flame so they can experience it themselves.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

Now it's not global warming, but those pesky neighbor galaxies. LOL! Maybe they'll move...oh yeah...if they are like our galaxy, they are constantly moving....maybe in a completely different cycle than compared to ours. So how's life in your new home in downtown Left Field?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

See??? Only a parrot repeats over and over again. Can't even pretend to get the dates correct any longer. So was Day 13 on the 10th or today? Timing is wrong...hmmmm...

Sounds like Wallace already won since you can't seem to keep your dates straight. So: are we sure about this "cycle" period your links discuss? If you can't get those pesky dates correct, can we trust the science behind it...especially when there is nobody alive today to corroborate temperatures except through guestimation?

I know my answer already.

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fish 6 years, 10 months ago

Have you ever thought that you are simply being ignored. Most of us have stopped reading your --it long ago just every once in a while will see something that catches their eye. The man just refuses to debate an anonynous person in this forum. If you posted your real name it might be different.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

Funny ending. I challenged you so many times to out yourself because debating a faceless person doesn't work. YOU won't take that challenge (because you're SCARED).

I just enjoy making fun of you. Thought it would get old, but I guess I just needed it to become "fresh" again. LOL! Yep! I still enjoy it!

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fish 6 years, 9 months ago

"Posting on the internet is now called "spoken around the world" ha,ha, Wait here while I get my Atlas out and I will walk across the United States.............done.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

Pattern? Yes! You have OCD, ADHD, and probably hemhorroids from sitting at a computer waaaaay too much.

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innovated 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes...I see a pattern. Mental Illness. You are stuffing your opinions down everyone's throats. Please stop. You are very annoying and we are all just scrolling past you. Enough said.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

SBvor- Answer muscleman's question:

Do you pay for your healthcare completely out of pocket? In fact, do you collect or intend to Social Security?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Soooo...afraid to admit to using Socialist programs? All it took was 1 simple question to show your hypocrisy. Why didn't I think of that question earlier? LOL!

SBvor uses the exact Socialist programs that SBvor posts against. Very nice!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

BTW: "SHOW ME THE SCIENCE" behind your not having to use any Socialist programs!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

In fact, you're so full of $h1t, you just plain WON'T admit to using it, since that will out you as the hypocrite I keeping saying you are. I love the dogde: "All others, See my previous post." Why should anyone listen to a word you say when you bitch about things you take advantage of? "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" Or is that paraphrasing the mighty Oz?

You can't even bring yourself to lie about it (since with a wave of my magic wand, I can tell everyone who you really are) so as to "hold your head high" while railing against the exact systems you use. We all know the majority of U.S. citizens pay into and collect Social Security. This is an indiputable fact. Show us all how you aren't part of that majority. What about Medicare? Using that of late, aren't you?

The Great and Might SBvor laid low by 1 simple question! Classic!!!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

So what's the harm in admitting you either use them or don't? Afraid it set your world ablaze? You and I both know you use them. Admit it here for all to see, hypocrite.

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fish 6 years, 8 months ago

sbvor are you waiting for al gore to debate you on the pilot web site?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

SBvor- How are Social Security and Medicare treating you? Got your checks this month?

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fish 6 years, 8 months ago

Oh I just figured that was another link to some random site that you always plagerize, I just assumed that you talk to al gore all the time in your head. I always knew right wing nut cases had no sense of humor and you prove it.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Day ??? of the Non-Vigil:

Show us your Social Security checks! At least now you don't even bother to cover up your parroting ability. All you seemed to do was cut and past your old post with a new date of vigil. Sooooo sad!!! :-(

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oofcboy 6 years, 4 months ago

Is it true that earth cooled down between the years of 1941 to 1945.and if so could it be cause of the number of people killed in the WWII theater less people less heat?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 4 months ago

SB- I think Bill Wallace might already be married. You can come in from your Widow's Walk now.

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outsiderlookingin 6 years, 4 months ago

Bill W. Why not hire Donna Howell she seems to be good at getting jobs here in town and may have a spare moment or two on her hands.

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