How green is our valley?
CARBONDALE – Local businesses in Basalt and Carbondale can find out if they have what it takes to be included in the Roaring Fork Valley’s first “green map,” a free publication set for publication in early 2007 that will highlight sustainable businesses.”The first green map will assist visitors and locals in supporting local businesses and making healthier choices,” said Dr. Will Evans, an organizer of Sustainable Tomorrow Today (STT), a nonprofit group taking on the green map project as well as other efforts to localize the economy.Businesses qualify by answering a simple checklist that includes everything from buying wind power, recycling, using recycled materials and use of renewable energy, to paying a living wage (at least $15 an hour) and providing health insurance.Evans and local mapmaker Jason White have enlisted the support of about six local high school students who are genuinely concerned about their future and plan to spend their summer doing more than perfecting their tan.”We’re kind of in dire straits as a civilization. I think everyone should be concerned,” said Yampah High School Junior Kara Gibson, who met with STT at a meeting of Carbondale Economic LocaLization (CELL), a group that has formed recently to come up with ways to relocalize the economy. “I’ll be going around contacting businesses to see if they qualify.”The emphasis of the green map is on regional localization, said Evans, who is a practicing doctor in Carbondale concerned mainly with the maintenance of a healthy heart.”We hope it will motivate other businesses,” Evans said. “The criteria is not always obvious. Kara’s visit is going to be an educational experience. If a business doesn’t qualify, this program might empower them (to be more sustainable).”Evans said the map will make visible the potential that already exists locally.”We want to manifest those connections and link these things together so that it will grow and increase in number,” he said.So, how will a green map help the green business community grow? Imagine that a neighboring business qualifies for the green map and yours doesn’t, and all you have to do is buy some wind power or change out some light bulbs and your business would qualify. The payoff for those minor changes will result in some free marketing in a publication that will be distributed throughout the Valley.White studied Geographical Information Systems, or mapping, while in college and was working on constructing a green map for Boulder a few years ago before he moved to Carbondale.”When I moved here I decided to attempt this again,” said White who was an intern at Rock Bottom Ranch for a year. “This is an international system, they give you the icons to use so it is standardized worldwide and you just tweak the map to your community.”White will be working with another mapmaker and illustrator, Mike Shook, who publishes Mountain Parent Magazine and has written several guidebooks. The Roaring Fork Valley’s green map will be modeled off of other green maps created in areas like Durango and Santa Fe. According to the Web site http://www.greenmap.com, there are 248 published green maps worldwide and 351 more on the way. The green map system is a global eco-culture movement, energized by local knowledge, action and responsibility. If the effort is successful in Basalt and Carbondale this year, the map will be expanded to include the entire valley from Aspen through Glenwood Springs the following year.”Although we are calling it a green map, sustainability is really the big umbrella. The students from STT are interested in creating change in our consciousness to help the planet,” said Lorrie Carlson, who was involved in creating Durango’s green map in 2003 and is now working with STT.The project is supported by the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) and other private donations, which are always being accepted to help defray the cost of production. If you would like your business considered for the first edition of the green map, e-mail your request for an application to ValleyGreenMap@PeaceMail. com, or call the green map hotline at 384-7900. Call Evans at 704-0124 for more information. Worthy organizations may be nominated, but all applications must be received by Thursday.
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.