Progress, worries on environmental issues
Bike commuting from necessity
Cindy Torres bikes to work every day.
Every day means every day in her case.
“I live in Mapleton Mobile Home Park. I don’t travel far, 1.8 miles each way,” said Torres, who works as a custodian at the University of Colorado. “I go to work at 4 o’clock in the morning, every single day – rain, snow, shine, food.”
Torres is among the 4 percent of Boulder County residents who commute to work by bicycle, often for environmental reasons combined with enjoying the ride. It’s probably safe to say, though, that many bike commuters might take the occasional snow day off.
The advantages of working at home
Shannan Reese is one of the 12 percent of the Boulder County population who works at home.
“I love the flexibility. I feel like I also get more work done, because I’m by myself,” said Reese, who is senior account director for Denver-based Feed Media, which specializes in clients that include restaurants and other food and cocktail providers.
She also likes that skipping the commute to Denver from her Superior home saves not only money and car wear and tear, but also time.
“I like being a little more accessible to my family,” she said.
Donors connect to impact environment
The Community Foundation’s Environmental Affinity Group (EAG) provides connections and inspiration to donors who are passionate about protecting and promoting our shared environment locally, regionally, nationally, and worldwide.
Grade on ozone pollution – a big, fat F
The American Lung Association released its annual air quality report on Boulder County in April of 2017, and the results aren’t pretty. The report, which pulls from three years of data, 2013, 2014 and 2015, gave Boulder County an F on the number of high ozone days. A bright spot is that the county received a grade of B on particle pollution over a 24 hour period and that it recorded five fewer high ozone days compared to 1996.
Save our precious water
In so many ways, Boulder County is a land of natural abundance – plenty of sunlight and breathtaking scenery at every turn.
One thing there isn’t a lot of, though, is water.
Boulder County per capita water use ranges from 76 gallons a day in Louisville to 86 gallons in Longmont and Superior. The national average is about 80 to 100 gallons.
Boulder, Xcel in protracted fight over municipalization
Who will provide electricity to residents of the city of Boulder in the future? It’s a question that remained unanswered as of this writing.
The city of Boulder set a goal to use 100 percent clean energy by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 and has taken several actions to that end.
Voters in 2006 passed a carbon tax, and the city began negotiating with Xcel Energy. The city decided not to renew its contract with Xcel in 2010.
Fracking at the forefront of environmental debate in Boulder County
Some communities are looking for ways to further regulate drilling as oil and gas interests push to ramp up drilling operations, especially when they’re close to housing developments and schools.
Teaching a love of nature
If you live in Boulder County, a reverence for nature seems intuitive. All you have to do is turn your face to the west where the foothills of the Rocky Mountains beckon.
Turns out, it’s more complicated than that. Limited family finances, parental work hours or simply a lack of tradition are barriers to nature for many of our community’s youth.
Preserving land for the public
Boulder County has nearly 64,000 acres of Open Space of which 61 percent is open to the public, 30 percent is preserved for agriculture and 9 percent is closed for various reasons. Nearly 40,000 acres of privately owned land are protected by conservation easements.
Much of the land west of the Peak to Peak Highway to the Continental Divide is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service. Parts of the Roosevelt National Forest, Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park are in Boulder County.
Many of us here are determined to protect the environment, both locally and globally. Yet, many of us are still addicted to our cars, and not everyone is out enjoying the Great Outdoors.