Conservation Colorado: Think Globally, Act Locally
Back in March I was fortunate to have attended a private dinner where guest speaker Pete Maysmith, spoke of the organization he is Executive Director of, Colorado Conservation, the largest state-based environmental group in Colorado.
Driving to the dinner I was mesmerized by the pastel winter evening colors of the sunset as they radiated through the clouds. Traveling along the Scrub Oak and Pinon lined quiet country road I felt the awe that never leaves me in the 27 years that this Massachusetts girl has lived in Colorado. Out of cell range and not exactly sure where I was going, I told myself that if I never actually made it to the party, the drive alone would be worth the excursion. Thankfully I did make it and was able to hear Mr. Maysmith speak about Conservation Colorado.
Sitting across from Maysmith was Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company. Schendler focuses on big scale solutions to climate change, primarily clean energy and activism and is the author of Getting Green Done — Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution, purported by Andrew Jones to be about “real-world anecdotes about reducing the environmental impact of the Aspen Skiing Company”. With a playful banter between he and Schendler, Maysmith spoke of Conservation Colorado’s efforts to protect Colorado’s air, land and water with a theory to build political power and use that power to protect our environment; to ensure that water flows free, protect public lands and manage our open space, and to transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels, and to inform others of what we need to do to stop the worse possible effects of climate change.
[su_box title=”Conservation Colorado”]President Trump recently signed an executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, along with a host of other Obama-era policies designed to protect our health and environment from climate change. While Trump claimed this action was to promote energy independence and bring back coal jobs — both of which are not likely to be influenced by this — in reality it is a clumsy attempt to bolster the fossil industry at the expense of our health and our climate. Fortunately, Colorado and the West will keep making progress in spite of the president’s backward efforts. This is evident because of popular sentiment, market forces, and the opportunities that exist in our state.[/su_box]
“I very much believe that even though we are in a dark moment from a national perspective, I have hope because I think Coloradans and Westerners are with us.”
WHAT DO WE DO TO CONSERVE COLORADO?
Maysmith emphasized that we must resist all we can coming out of Washington that is hurting our environment and endorse the candidates who are going to be good on the environment (60 at state legislation level). He also stressed the importance of supporting and joining local resistance groups on a local and state-wide level, and marshall that because they are making a difference. He also encouraged us to do the higher order acts that are a little bit more work; picking up the phone, writing a letter, showing up to the rallies, marching, attending townhall meetings and throwing house parties.
Talk to people! Talk to your colleague, your spouse, your co worker your neighbor. Get outside your comfort zone. Make sure we take that momentum and that we build it moving forward. People want hope and heroes.
In an overview passed out to guests, Maysmith states, “There’s no denying that the fight to protect our environment became more difficult following last year’s national elections. We’re facing a new era of outspoken attacks on our environment, not to mention fundamental American values. The president has denied climate change, and congress is looking to open up energy development on our most valued public lands and pledging to undo bedrock environmental laws that keep us safe and healthy.”
[su_box title=”Conservation Colorado”]The very best way to make sure your voice is heard on the issues you care about the most is by paying close attention and weighing in on the local, state, and national levels. If that sounds like a lot of work, it is — but that’s exactly what Conservation Colorado is here to do. We’re your eyes and ears on the environmental and social justice issues that affect Colorado. We keep track of what’s going on and ask you to get involved at the most critical moments. Whether it’s thanking a lawmaker for running a bill, attending a city council meeting, or joining us at an event, your voice becomes more powerful when you stand with Conservation Colorado and our 26,000-strong member base.[/su_box]
While it’s true that many of us feel bereft and hopeless, Maysmith’s positive attitude and energy left me feeling empowered and motivated to continue on that path of resistance that I have been following. If you too feel like you want to step up and take action to protect our lands, our people and our planet, I encourage you to support Pete Maysmith and Conservation Colorado in their efforts and take action.
Join Indivisible Aspen, Indivisible Roaring Fork and Indivisible District-3 Colorado
You can also become a member of our local Indivisible Groups. Committed to gathering together to create action plans as advised by The Indivisible Guide, the Roaring Fork Valley Indivisible groups, although separate in local activities, are joined together in action steps and send out weekly newsletters with calls to action such as; calling, writing, and visiting Scott Tipton, Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett in order to demand they represent our voices. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Local Colorado Environmental Organizations
There are also many local organizations needing our support who are working hard to protect our environment such as; Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Protect Our Winters, ProgressNow Colorado, Community Office for Resource Efficiency, Aspen Valley Land Trust, American Renewable Energy Institute, Energy Smart Colorado, Wilderness Workshop, Women for Wild Lands, Aspen’s Green Drinks, Aspen T.R.E.E., Aspen Canary Initiative, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, EverGreen ZeroWaste, Clean Rivers Initiative, and many more.
[su_box title=”Conservation Colorado”]a recent poll found that 82 percent of Coloradans support increasing the share of energy from renewable sources like wind and solar to create jobs and economic opportunity in rural Colorado. That’s not a partisan divide — Coloradans from both sides of the aisle understand that we should lead on renewable energy, both because it is a linchpin for clean air and because it means economic growth, including in rural areas. The impacts of climate change on our forests, rivers, and air are becoming more evident in Colorado. These changes threaten who we are as Coloradans, from wildfires in March to extreme drought predictions for the Colorado river. The evidence is clear and cannot be ignored, and the public is realizing that more and more. Across the U.S., concern about global warming has reached a three-decade high.[/su_box]
Calendar at a Glance
Tonight 4/19 – Earth Day Celebration & Green Drinks Kick-off. Head to Hallam Lake to meet community members interested in environmental issues, explore the nature preserve, and enjoy locally sourced snacks from Rock Bottom Ranch and libations, including a bike-powered blender station where guests can create kinetic energy to make margaritas for the adults and pink lemonade slushies for the kids!
Thursday 4/20- with or without Gardner town hall in Ridgeway
Friday 4/21- protest and Pink Out in front of Gardner fundraiser at Hotel Colorado
Sat. 4/22- science marches in Aspen, Carbondale, Denver
Sat. 4/22 joint town hall for state reps at Basalt library (or Eagle County bldg in El Jebel)
Sat 4/29-climate marches in Carbondale, Aspen, Grand Junction and Vail
June 28th: Wildfeast: A Special Evening at the Caribou
July 1st Wildfest.
US Senator Cory Gardner Protest
April 21 5-7 p.m. Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs, CO. Let’s stand in solidarity with other Roaring Fork Valley resisters in protest of Cory Gardner’s unwillingness to hold a town hall in our neck of the woods. He will, however, attend fundraisers. Let’s show him how we feel.
Click here to learn the flash mob dance.
Saturday, April 22nd: Schedule of events at Paepcke Park 1pm – 4pm
1:00 Meet at Paepcke Park
1:30 March (or Rollerblade, Bike, etc) through town with signs*
2:30-4:00 Earth Day Celebrations: speakers, science activities, information booths, and music
*There will be an opportunity to craft constructive, creative signs for this March Wednesday April 19th 5-7 PM at Hallam Lake during the ACES and City of Aspen Earth Day + Green Drinks kick-off.
Our community will celebrate Earth Day emphasizing all things Science and the importance of the Climate. This collaborative, non-partisan event will include a peaceful march through town as we join thousands around the world to raise awareness about the importance of science in our daily lives along with what we can do individually to combat climate change.
Join us as neighbors, friends, and members of local organizations, nonprofits and student groups throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. We will be celebrating with amazing organizations such as: Aspen Science Center, Wilderness Workshop, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), Aspen Global Change Institute,Indivisible Aspen & Roaring Fork, Aspen High School’s Earth Club, Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, Protect Our Winters, and many more.
The “Aspen Earth Day Climate & Science March” is one of five hundred marches happening across the world on Earth Day.Given recent science-related budget cuts, censorship of researchers, disappearing datasets, and threats to dismantle science-based government agencies — our health, food, air, water, climate, and jobs are at risk. Therefore, the goal of this Earth Day March is to take the first step in defending the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and government. Marchers are advocating for evidence-based policymaking, science education, research funding, and inclusive and accessible science.
Please join us for this important family-friendly community & worldwide Earth Day event — and take a public stand for science!
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Capital Watch is a rapid response advocacy tool to defend public lands and bedrock environmental protections. It is designed to help you hold Congress and the Trump administration accountable and stop in their tracks any attempts to sell off public lands, gut bedrock environmental laws, or roll back significant progress already made on climate and protections for wildlife and wildlands. Citizen activism has never been more important. Act today! (To receive important alerts, sign up here)