Guest editorial: Time for Park City leaders to act on climate
I’m at the summit, high in the Wasatch Mountains. I click into my ski bindings. Goggles down. Jacket zipped. I take a deep breath of the fresh, crisp mountain air, push off over the cornice, and hit the fall line.
The sensation of giving into gravity takes over. My body gains speed. Small turns, turn into bigger turns. Priceless. Effortless. Life at its finest. Skiing. I love it. I love it by myself. I love it with my family. I love it with my friends. I’m not going to let it be taken away and this is the very reason I am writing today.
Skiing as we know it is changing before our eyes. I have seen the consequences of climate change firsthand. Less snow, higher snow lines, unpredictable weather, and longer droughts. Yes, climate change. According to Protect Our Winters, skiing brings in $18 billion and supports 66,000 jobs in 31 winter sports states. The organization estimates that the North American ski industry lost between 13,000 and 27,000 jobs from 1999 to 2010 due to shortened ski seasons and reduced snowpack. In Utah alone, the winter tourism business is a $1.2 billion industry, one of the largest industries in the state.
However, the good news is that we can be the generation to be a part of the solution, to preserve skiing into the 22nd Century. The technology and solutions are here. We just need the political will power to create long term goals and move to a clean energy economy.
According to The Solutions Project the entire State of Utah can transition 100 percent to wind, water and solar for all purposes by 2050. Their study shows that 40 percent of Utah’s energy can come from wind energy and 51 percent from mixed solar, with the remaining coming from other clean energy sources. This will result in 41,844 new jobs added to the Utah economy. It will also put money in the consumer’s pocket, as energy costs will save each person $127 per year and this is a very conservative estimate. The health impacts will be huge, saving Utahans $7.8 billion per year or 2 percent of the state GDP and will avoid 598 air pollution deaths every year. The annual energy, health, and climate cost savings per person will be $10,173.
With solutions at hand, it is time for our leaders to Act on Climate.
Thursday, Oct. 22 the Park City Council is voting on our future, on our future snow. They are voting for the town’s future carbon goals. This is BIG and we need your support.
As a community, let’s tell city council that we demand they create a 10-percent renewable energy plan to be fully implemented by 2030. To make sure we are on pace, let’s demand the municipality of Park City be 100 percent renewable by 2020 and the community receive 50 percent of our renewable energy by 2025. This is still 15 years later than our friends in Aspen, Colo. and Burlington, Vt., but faster than the worldwide goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable by 2050.
I get asked everyday from folks "What can I do to help solve the climate crisis?" The answer is simple;
Show up to City Hall at on Thursday, Oct. 22, and demand that Park City take this issue seriously and vote on this timeline. This will help the town of Park City and The Greatest Snow on Earth.
To view The Solutions Project 100 percent plan, visit: TheSolutionsProject.org.
A reader involved in addressing mental health in Summit County applauds Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and his wife Elena Amsterdam for their efforts to help mountain towns wrap their arms around the issue.