CORE presents Imagine Climate to the Roaring Fork Valley |

CORE presents Imagine Climate to the Roaring Fork Valley

Non-profit puts faces and stories towards climate change issue through art

Workers install the mural project on the outer wall of the Colorado Mountain College downtown Glenwood building.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Those who have already driven or walked past the intersection of Grand Avenue and Eighth Street in downtown Glenwood Springs have caught a glimpse of different selfies pasted onto the north-facing side of the Colorado Mountain College building. Lara Whitley, the Director of Brand and Creative Strategy for the nonprofit CORE, said the mural is meant to be an interactive piece of art for those passing by.

“We are teaming up with Clean Energy Economy For the Region (CLEER), they’re another energy nonprofit, and so we’re doing all of this to drive action. And CORE is providing those action services or opportunities in Pitkin County and Eagle County, and CLEER is providing them to Garfield County,” Whitley said. “What we’re recommending people take as a step is do an energy assessment of their space, whether it’s your workspace or living space. So you get baselines, you understand the energy performance of your building, facility or your home, and then you can take actionable steps to specifically target lowering the metric tons of carbon emissions in your space.”

There will also be murals on the CMC buildings based in Carbondale and Aspen as well. Steve Skadron, past mayor of Aspen and current vice president and campus dean for Carbondale and Aspen’s CMC locations, said the collaboration with CORE is a means to engage the community in conversation about climate change and a nod to the Bachelor’s degree program CMC offers students for sustainability studies.

“We have award-winning faculty training students on how to create a more sustainable world…

“I think the principles are around promoting environmental health and economic vitality, and understanding the trade-offs that leave our community healthy for generations to come,” Skadron said.

CORE partnered with different organizations across the valley for the Imagine Climate 2021 program, Whitley said. The intention to debut these multiple projects, all listed here form the CORE website, during March was because it’s a time that tourism dwindles down a bit as the ski season ends and the weather begins warming up. Whitley said the program is bicultural and bilingual, which is reflected in the faces within the mural and the audio stories included both on the CORE website and through a QR code that can be scanned at every mural location.

“I really think the stories, this is so visually captivating right you’re like ‘wow what’s going on with this building?’ But when you hear the stories that really drives it home. And the stories are in English and Spanish, just as our mural is very representative of…The different communities within our community. It was very important to us that this was as inclusive of a process as it was a project,” Whitley said.

Individuals who interact with the mural can participate in a scavenger hunt and submit photos they take to enter a raffle to win an electronic bike. There’s this playful aspect amongst the programming, but Whitley said everything about Imagine Climate was designed to generate more conversations and prompt actions from locals to reduce their carbon footprints.

“So, we give people the opportunity to sign a pledge and say what are the actions they want to do this year. And we have specific items that they can do with the carbon factor next to them…It’s a measurable, meaningful, significant way to take action,” Whitley said.

Skadron said he bikes to work every day in an effort to lead by example for CMC faculty and students. The campuses he oversees use LED lights, recycle and make an effort to dim the parking lot lights at night, a particular pet peeve Skadron has when it comes to easy ways to live more sustainably.

“At the Aspen and Carbondale campuses we’re reviewing our own campus-wide sustainability programs to help inform a broader vision for a college-wide and campus based initiative. Looking at what we’ve done and evaluating it, to do it better, and sharing that information with our fellow campuses,” Skadron said.

CORE is challenging valley residents to use these events as an opportunity to consider how they can change their habits to maximize the longevity of our planet, Whitley said. Imagine Climate 2021 is only through the month of March, but the hope is to engrain the idea into people that combating climate change isn’t something society can afford to give up on or abandon just yet.

“The biggest misconception is to give up because of despair or to think that it’s too late to do anything. What I get out of a lot of the stories, a lot of the people that have come together on this project is this great sense of hope that we can rally. Let’s do it,” Whitley said.


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