Thursday, March 21, 2013

Adapting Our Community to Climate Change

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
This is the second year in a row that the weather has caused us to move Saturday's Frozen Dead Guy Days events to Sunday. Time to give some thought to climate change. Charles Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

Nederland is in a good position to adapt, because we are among the few places that have escaped the homogenization of American suburbia, and we've evolved in our own way. It is partially due to being geographically tucked in a pocket, and partially due to our small size. We have the advantage of being nimble for adaptation.

Charles Darwin went on to say, "In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed" So, it's not only that we are able to adapt, but that we have to collaborate, agree, and sometimes compromise.

At our last meeting, the Board of Trustees (BOT) reviewed a proposal for spending $15,000 to lock-in fireworks for the Fourth of July. After careful thought, we determined that fireworks are unsustainable, both environmentally and financially. We have less snow-pack than last year, which resulted in forest fires across the state, and the governor banning fireworks last June. Public Works is already planning for low water levels this summer. Given the data, the BOT decided to reject the proposal to lock-in a commitment.

Taking this grim outlook into account, the BOT also decided that if we are to adapt to climate change, we need to create a new way to celebrate Independence Day, come up with a new tradition, and have a contest of ideas. Therefore, the criteria for the Nederland Fourth of July Celebration Contest:
  • It must occur on the Fourth of July, at dusk (sunset is at 8:30pm)
  • It must be located near the shores of the Barker Meadow Reservoir
  • It must celebrate independence in a Nederland way, or be somewhat patriotic.
  • It must not be flammable.
  • It must be sustainable and adaptable to climate change.
There's extra points if it expresses a higher moral standard than glorifying war and blowin' up stuff.
    The BOT had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas like playing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon to the Wizard of Oz, but quickly realized that better ideas would come from our community. Please submit your ideas in the comments section of the 'Fourth of July Celebration Contest' post.

    Along these same lines, I met with the Nederland DDA on the NedPeds project to increase the walk-ability in town. One of our Envision 2020 statements reads:
    "In 2020, Nederland continues to focus planning and economic development activities on efforts that address; non-motorized travel in town, alternatives for building and the use of sustainable materials, and connections to the outdoor environment providing active, healthy lifestyles for people of all ages."
    More details of the NedPeds project can be found on this NederMayor blog, but mostly on the Nederland DDA website. Construction is scheduled to begin in August.

    [Here is a Video Valediction] The Dark Side of the Rainbow on YouTube. [What is a Video Valediction?]
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