With Donald Trump winding back climate action at home, seeking to reopen coal mines, restart offshore drilling and withdrawing from the international climate agreement, many US states and cities are stepping up and taking action to reduce their emissions.
There are many inspiring stories from across the USA that have emerged since Trump’s election. But there are also decades worth of excellent and determined work in many cities and towns. The recent decision by the Town Council of Telluride in Colorado to “adopt a goal for the entire community of becoming carbon neutral” comes on the back of more than a decade’s efforts to reduce emissions.
Telluride is a former mining town in the south west of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It is located in a remote part of the state, in a dramatic canyon surrounded by peaks and is now famous for its skiing. Resort towns are often famous for extravagant lifestyles, but permanent residents often live with a much lower carbon footprint than ‘fly in, fly out’ visitors. It has a permanent population of about 2,500 and a large amount of tourist and holiday accommodation (you might enjoy the mockumentary ‘The Lost People of Mountain Village’, which takes you through the ‘lost landscape’ of the purpose built Mountain Village, located very close to Telluride, which is often largely deserted outside of peak holiday season).
Telluride has a long history of working to reduce the impact of it’s carbon emissions. Recently Alec Jacobson of Mountain Independent, wrote an excellent summary of the town’s efforts since 2006, which is available here.
With the growing number of regional towns in north eastern Victoria working to reduce their emissions through community action and good policy, I wanted to share some of the learnings from the Telluride story as I understand them.