At Outdoor Retailer panel, Park City official touts climate goals
Luke Cartin says city’s efforts can be an example to other municipalities
January 13, 2017
When it comes to sustainability, Park City can be a shining example for the world.
That was the message Luke Cartin, environmental sustainability manager at City Hall, delivered to the outdoor industry Thursday during a panel on climate change at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City. Cartin told the audience that Park City's goals to function on 100 percent renewable energy and have a net-zero carbon impact by 2032 are ambitious, but illustrate the type of progress communities can make if they identify sustainability as a top priority.
He said officials from around the country are looking to Park City as a model and have contacted him for advice. He's stressed to them that even cities in red states can achieve similar goals by garnering support from the business community. If you show businesses how cost-effective renewable energy can be, giving them more money to spend elsewhere, they will rally behind your effort.
The mission is even easier for communities, such as Park City, where residents are eager to fight climate change, he said.
"Once you put this out there, it's amazing to feel that groundswell," he said.
Cartin was joined onstage by Chris Steinkamp, executive director of the climate change advocacy group Protect Our Winters, and Anne Kelly, a director for the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy program. Steinkamp spoke about POW's efforts to organize a coalition of winter sports athletes, CEOs and ski resort owners to mobilize communities to pressure elected officials to address climate change.
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He said getting more corporations involved in the fight will give cover for Republican lawmakers, in particular, to be in favor of progressive climate change policies.
"That's really when we're going to see the movement, and that's going to be a big focus of ours," he said.
Kelly agreed with Steinkamp, adding that she sees small and midsize businesses in red states playing an increasingly important role in pushing action on climate issues. She sees reasons for optimism, even as many businesses remain hesitant to take a public stance on the controversial, politicized topic.
"As important as those big brands are, I'm excited about this next wave of participants that are from businesses of all sizes," she said. "… We really need to have new voices and not simply defer to the big companies."
In an interview with The Park Record, Cartin said he was pleased to speak about Park City's efforts on such a large platform. He hopes his message helps people, and other cities, move past the "doom and gloom" attitude that often surrounds climate change and aim for meaningful action.
"You can start taking action today," he said. "A lot of places think we're nuts with our climate change, but we're on track. We're crushing it."