Do Parkites think climate change is a hoax, or does it influence their habits? City Hall survey seeks feedback
Park City has posted a survey seeking to learn about attitudes toward the environment and the behavior of people regarding the environment, a set of questions that inquires about what people see as the important issues as well as what might motivate someone in the community to become greener.
The survey was posted at a time when City Hall continues to press its environmental platform. Energy, an important component of the wider environmental platform, is one of the municipal government’s critical priorities as officials pursue the overarching ideal of creating a sustainable community.
The 29-question survey includes several key queries. One of them asks what someone sees as the most serious issue for the environment in Park City. The survey lists 10 answers from which someone may choose. Some of the answers include air pollution, climate change, the danger of fire and the “disappearing snow pack.” Answers also include water pollution and the long-term supply of water in the region.
The broadness of the answers to the question about the most serious issue illustrate what leaders see as some of the gravest concerns about the environment of Park City. The answers touch on some of the issues City Hall regularly addresses through a variety of efforts.
Officials have long linked the issues of climate change, the potential of a reduced snow pack and fire danger. They say a warming climate could lead to reduced snow, particularly at lower elevations, as well as devastating wildfires.
Another question attempts to learn what sorts of factors would motivate someone to practice environmental or sustainable behaviors. It is another important inquiry as City Hall tries to craft a plan that would be acceptable to rank-and-file Parkites.
The answers to the question about motivations include saving money on water, electric and waste disposal bills, the possibility of health benefits, the prospects of health benefits for the community and “if I knew I was leaving a better planet for future generations of my loved ones.”
The survey, meanwhile, asks whether someone sees themselves as “doing enough in your own life to address climate change.” There is a range of answers, including:
• “Yes, I make the most energy-efficient, least polluting and least wasteful choices I can everyday.”
• “I don’t understand climate change or the environmental impact of my lifestyle.”
• “I feel like I am doing all I can, but I don’t know if it is having any impact.”
• “Climate change is a hoax, and I’m not falling for it.”
It also inquires about steps someone has taken in an effort to cut the amount of energy they use, such as installing renewable energies, using buses, carpools or bicycles and purchasing appliances that are energy efficient.
Other questions center on weatherizing residences, someone’s knowledge of their home energy use and someone’s knowledge of City Hall’s goals for the climate and energy.
The survey was posted amid the municipal government’s ongoing environmental efforts. Leaders say the green program is important in a community where a changing climate could someday threaten a ski industry that drives the local economy.
City Hall considers its goals toward combating climate change as some of the most ambitious in North America. Officials want to reach net-zero carbon emissions for municipal operations by 2022 and reach that level citywide by 2032. Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council recently indicated they may consider an accelerated timeline for the net-zero goals. Detailed discussions about an accelerated timeline could be held shortly, as officials respond to a recent United Nations report that detailed what the international body determined to be the timeline and consequences of climate change.
The City Hall net-zero goal is not designed to eliminate emissions. The municipal government instead wants to reduce emissions through a range of methods and offset those that remain through a variety of options, such as perhaps through a sequestration program.
The survey’s introduction says City Hall is “leading the charge against climate change” and officials designed the questionnaire to better understand “how to best mobilize our community to make the shift to net-zero carbon emissions.”
City Hall plans to keep the survey posted through at least the end of November. The results will be made public, and report detailing the results will be forwarded to the elected officials. Personal information gathered as part of the survey will not be publicized. The City Hall survey, which is not scientific, is available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5BQKKMK.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.