Aspen, Colorado — a mecca for skiers and nature lovers — is a small city of about 6,000 permanent residents. But that number swells to more than 20,000 during the day, as commuters and tourists pour into the city.


Perl: “Aspen is really most vulnerable because as we see climate change change our surrounding environment, that’s going to directly affect the number of people that want to come here and thus our whole economic system of our town.”

That’s Ashley Perl, Director of the Canary Initiative — the carbon pollution reduction program for the City of Aspen. She says rising temperatures and other climate change related impacts have city officials preparing for a warmer future. Officials are therefore asking residents to identify local vulnerabilities and propose solutions.

PhotoPerl: “We know that the solutions are going to be hard. They could be controversial. They could require a lot of creativity. We really feel like the community could bring a lot to the table.”

Ultimately, community members will be the ones living with the changes. So Perl says city officials will be gathering feedback from residents in the coming months. They hope to release Aspen’s first resiliency plan by the end of the year.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

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City of Aspen/Pitkin County Canary Initiative

Lisa Palmer is a freelance journalist and a fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC, in Annapolis, Md. Her writing covers the environment, energy, food security, agriculture,...