Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Understanding a green reality

Auden Schendler reveals hard truths

Express Staff Writer

Auden Schendler

The Community Library in Ketchum had a full house of eager listeners on Thursday, Feb. 19, for Auden Schendler's lecture "Getting Green Done," a title borrowed from his new book, "Getting Green Done: Hard Truths and Real Solutions from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution."

"My book is about what happens when we try to solve what goes wrong," he said.

The charismatic and witty Schendler, executive director of sustainability at Aspen Ski Co., spoke on the reality of living consciously, addressing the global green movement and mountain-town living.

"In a sustainable world there probably is no role for Aspen or Sun Valley," Schendler said.

However, he expressed optimism that such communities can change.

"A wealthy community should be on the forefront," he said.

Schendler said cycles of droughts and other catastrophes have become more frequent since human-caused global warming began. He said the entire U.S. should be a leader on addressing climate change, but it is not.


Schendler said climate change is a marketing problem and the government is "a big, sloppy, messy tool." Schendler addressed programs being discussed on a government level, including carbon credits, which he called a "questionable practice," and a carbon tax, which would tax industries and individuals for polluting, but which he said would be tough to implement.

Eliminating taxes is another idea for taking green seriously, and has been proposed by former Vice President Al Gore. However, Schendler said that could make gas and heating costs exorbitant for consumers. Another energy solution, which was offered by an audience member, is nuclear, but to build new plants take 10 years, which Schendler said is too late.

"What matters most is how we walk through the fire," Schendler said, quoting poet Charles Bukowski. "Why wouldn't we attack climate change? It's our problem, and if it's not solved in a decade it doesn't matter."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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