Sustainability director for Aspen to speak in Steamboat on Tuesday

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Talking Green series: Pete Marczyk

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— For people wondering how their own small efforts toward living more sustainably will ever save the planet, Auden Schendler has some answers.

Schendler, the executive director of sustainability for Aspen Skiing Co., will be the featured speaker Tuesday night at the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s first Talking Green lecture of 2012.

Sustainability Council coordinator Kim Kline said her organization intends to issue a call to action to the community in this year’s lecture series and get the point across that the Yampa Valley can learn from other mountain towns.

“Our community is lacking in direction, and we have a chance to learn from others who are further down the road,” in terms of sustainability, Kline said.

Schendler said there is good news in the realization that the push to live more sustainably can enrich the lives of everyone in society.

“People have always looked for some way to make life useful and dignified,” Schendler said Monday. “Nothing quite wraps it up like climate change. It almost brings meaning into whatever you care about.”

Whatever a person’s inclination — from religion to education, combating poverty or promoting economic development — sustainability is a fit, he added.

“We’ve got to do this; it’s the everything issue,” Schendler said. “And it’s an unprecedented opportunity.”

Schendler, the author of the 2009 book, “Getting Green Done: Hard Truths From the Front line of the Sustainability Revolution,” is well-prepared to challenge his audience.

Very early in the book, he makes it clear that only government action on a global level has the potential to reverse climate change. However, he also provides a rationale for putting on one’s work gloves and pitching in at the micro level to effect change.

“It’s fine for people to buy a Prius and use canvas bags at the supermarket,” Schendler wrote in “Getting Green Done.” “But we can’t afford the delusion that such individual action is enough.”

However, Schendler contends that isn’t sufficient reason for individuals to throw up their hands and resort to simply lobbying their elected officials. Why is that? For one thing, he said, we don’t have time to wait. But more practically, he asserts that grassroots efforts can inspire government to put policy into action.

“Government needs examples of how to be environmentally progressive and case studies from which to build public policy,” Schendler wrote.

And it can be individuals acting within the structure of the workplace who can show government the way.

Schendler urges businesses that aspire to become more sustainable to find their biggest lever. That is, the part of their business where they have the most opportunity to influence peoples’ behaviors and effect outcomes.

Sponsors of the event include Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., Mountain Resorts, NewPowerFund.com, Vector Group and Homelink magazine.

Comments

sedgemo 2 years, 3 months ago

Are these Mr. Schendler's exact words?

"It almost brings meaning into whatever you care about.”

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ybul 2 years, 3 months ago

--“It’s fine for people to buy a Prius and use canvas bags at the supermarket,” Schendler wrote in “Getting Green Done.” “But we can’t afford the delusion that such individual action is enough.”--

Unfortunately the delusion is that a hybrid car or solar panels have any effect. Most of the solar manufacturing facilities off gas chemicals far more potent in warming the climate than CO2. Hybrids probably have almost zero impact as the batteries consumed a lot of energy to be produced themselves.

A better technology - yet little promoted is hydronic geothermal which has a pay back of 5 years (compared to propane heat) and the loop field has an expected lifespan of hundreds of years whereas Solar electric has a payback near 20-30 years with a lifespan of not much more.

As far as CO2, the way to fix that issue is to eliminate government grain subsidies which have promoted an unsustainable model. Maybe getting government to stop trying to fix problems and we would be better off. If there were no subsidies most livestock would be pastured and a net carbon sink. This is compounded when one utilizes new high-low tech approaches and high density grazing practices coupled with sub soil tilling which has been shown to increase topsoil quickly unlike the "educated opinions" of the day.

Throw in the governments benevolent hand in encouraging saving in 401k's and IRA's and you have a system which benefits the corporations and puts the small business owners at a financial disadvantage as their cost of borrowing is 4 times as high and in todays lending environment very difficult to find as the corporations can't fail. Oh yeah Kodak just went belly up and we lent trillions to those banks to keep them solvent.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Ybul, would you consider writing a column in this paper to expound on your ideas? I would like to know more and you have so much to say. Like, I've never heard of sub-soil tilling. What the heck is that?

How can we get your words more public? I'm not much for hero worship but I've admired nearly everything of yours I've read in this paper. Keep on keepin' on!

BTW, I attended this presentation tonight, Schendler is a very funny and humble, and practical man. I'd love to see more of his writings as well.

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