Earth Day: A time for recommitment
Saturday, Park City will join communities across the nation in celebrating the 37th annual Earth Day. It is a perfect opportunity to tally up our environmental report card family by family, business by business and town by town.
In terms of public policy, everyone gets an A. Both Park City and Summit County have incorporated environmental standards in their development codes, both support recycling programs and both are working toward expanded public transit systems. Park City, in particular, has formalized its commitment to energy and water conservation most notably with its campaign to buy 7.5 percent of its electricity from wind-powered sources.
Nevertheless, most environmental initiatives both individual and commercial are still voluntary. Locally, families can still choose whether or not to recycle things like glass, paper and aluminum. They can still choose to drive fuel guzzling cars and can plant non-native water-needy shrubs.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the environment gets more support in sound bites than in practice. Despite research proving that the ozone is shrinking, the oceans are expanding and weather fluctuations are becoming more severe, it seems that the fundamental relationship between the earth and its human inhabitants hasn’t evolved much since the pioneers first explored its seemingly endless resources.
A lot has changed, though, since the first settlers rejoiced at having cleared enough trees to finally see their neighbor’s homestead. These days, homebuyers are seeking more remote locations on steeper hillsides, deeper into the woods, farther from the highway. Recreators are intruding on natural habitats in greater numbers and those natural resources that once seemed plentiful are now becoming harder to find and more expensive to obtain.
This Earth Day, Parkites and residents throughout the county must recommit themselves to reducing their footprint on the environment in every way they can by conserving water, reducing energy emissions, recycling more and properly disposing of hazardous waste like batteries, paints and motor oil.
Overall, most local home and business owners understand that Park City’s appeal is dependent on its environmental health and they are vocal in their support of maintaining the area’s clean air and bountiful open spaces. But when it comes to day-to-day conservation, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
For more information about the Earth Day celebration at Recycle Utah and other environmental programs in Summit County, log on to http://www.recycleutah.org. For more information about Park City’s wind power program log on to http://www.parkcity.org/getinvolved/windpower/wind_power.html and for information on recycling programs in your area log on to http://www.recycleutah.org/new/collection.html
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Jim Arnold of Jeremy Ranch writes that the community cannot continue to operate without a long-range plan for development.