Record editorial: Park City Climate Fund grants will make a difference here and in other mountain towns
With the spectre of climate change looming, and the acknowledgement that it could one day serve as a wrecking ball to Park City’s ski tourism-dependent economy, most Parkites are enthusiastic about doing their part to combat the warming temperatures.
So it was a joyous occasion Tuesday when the Park City Community Foundation named the first recipients of its Park City Climate Fund grants, an initiative started in the fall that is meant to encourage creative local solutions to the climate crisis.
In total, the Community Foundation doled out more than $175,000, a significant outlay that makes clear the nonprofit is serious about supporting organizations that have new ideas to limit our community’s carbon footprint.
The largest grant went to Utah Clean Energy, awarded $75,000 to facilitate the community’s access to carbon-neutral electricity through the Community Renewable Energy Act, a landmark piece of state legislation passed last year making it possible for municipalities to tap into renewable energy through Rocky Mountain Power. Recycle Utah was given $50,000 to fund a two-year education program aimed at reaching zero waste community-wide by 2030, while TreeUtah wants to use its $50,000 grant to, in part, plant more than 2,000 trees throughout Summit County in locations like restoration sites, public parks and schoolyards.
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And showing once again that our youth are among those most committed to curbing climate change, the Park City High School Earth Club was given $6,000 to help students create a school composting club, reduce the use of styrofoam in the cafeteria and educate their peers about environmental issues.
It will be exciting to watch the organizations make progress toward their goals in the coming months. Parkites ought to roll up their sleeves, lace up their boots and look for ways to get involved — because making the initiatives successful will take contributions from all of us.
But what’s perhaps most encouraging is the effect the grant program could have beyond the borders of Summit County. The Park City Community Foundation announced the Climate Fund during last fall’s Mountain Towns 2030 event that brought in leaders from around the region to discuss climate change, and the nonprofit sees fostering solutions that can be replicated in other mountain towns as a core tenet of the initiative.
That’s an intriguing prospect because, try as we might, Summit County cannot tackle climate change alone — though, as the Park City Climate Fund proves, we’re eager to lead the charge.
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Our view: Against a once-unimaginable backdrop, and with little margin for error, county officials have made painful but prudent decisions in an attempt to spare us from the worst of the pandemic.