A Case for Action
Crested Butte is a mountain town dependent on snowpack and the continuation of cold winters. Not only do we need winter for continued Nordic skiing, Alpine Skiing, and Snowboarding, but we also depend on the snow that blankets our Valley all year round. It’s like a bank account for water, for us and every community downstream. Winter snowpack protects our perennial wildflowers from frost and provides needed moisture to sustain the diversity of species that make us the Wildflower Capital of Colorado. Moisture in our forests protects us from the out-of-control wildfires that have raged across the West in the last decade. Snowmelt fills our creeks, rivers, and reservoirs in the summer months, allowing for rafting, fishing, and other outstanding recreational opportunities. The wild animals with whom we share this Valley are just as reliant on that snow to live full lives.
Recognizing our intense need to protect the planet and to preserve our way of life, Crested Butte’s Town Council set a 5-year goal in 2018 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Town’s operations by 50% and reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by 25% vs. 2017 levels. As a small community, these significant reductions for us will only have a small direct impact on global emissions, but we hope to serve as a leader and show other communities what is possible with enough political will and commitment to bringing about change. If communities around the world followed our example, the reduction in emissions would be staggering.
In order to achieve these ambitious goals of reduction, the Town spent several months in 2019 developing a Climate Action Plan (CAP). Given our role as the organization promoting sustainability in the Gunnison Valley, the Town invited us to the table as the plan was being developed. We were honored to be involved and look forward to leading several of the initiatives that came out of the program, including supporting local event organizers with Waste-Free Events.
Climate Action Plan Community Toolkit
Achieving our goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require the work of individuals as much as that of the government. Many resources exist to make your home and your lifestyle more green, but putting the pieces together can be a challenge. We created a toolkit with information about the different options available to make your home or business more sustainable to make the process easier for you.