Written by Megan Kienapfel, ESLLC 2017-2018
While there are people that argue climate change is not real, there is evidence that it is occurring in the environment all around us. The winters back home, in Ouray, CO, have been either more severe or unseasonably warm. In the winter, we must rely on the cold weather for our outdoor recreation which brings in tourism.
Every year Ouray hosts an ice fest which attracts people from across the world. This is how the city makes a lot of its revenue in our off season. With the increased temperatures and shortened season this last winter, the city was forced to shut down the ice park a month early. The unstable conditions were making the ice climbing dangerous and could not be maintained properly. To avoid the dangers of frail ice on the walls of the canyon, as well as over the river at the base, the park ended their season.
Having the ice park close, as well as the local hot springs for renovations, caused Ouray to lose a large amount of money. Some of the local businesses such as Ouray Mountain Sports rely on the winter season to make a decent portion of their income.
With the rising temperatures, not only is it affecting the environment, it is also affecting the lifestyles of people. To help reduce the impacts of the higher temperatures, people can help by doing little things to reduce their carbon footprint: turn off lights and water sources, such as sinks and showers, as much as possible, unplug electronics that are not being used, take other forms of transportation such as walking, biking, carpooling, public transportation. Little things such as those, combined with the efforts of others, can help save the environment. Even if you do not consider yourself an outdoor person, losing what we have will and an effect in the end whether it be economically, socially, emotionally, heath wise. Doing what we can to reduce our negative impact, now, will help preserve the land we are already fighting for.