Talking Green column from the Steamboat Pilot & Today | January 12, 2020

by Anne Mudgett for the Steamboat Pilot & Today
The new year is a time to set goals. Maybe you’ve been thinking about how you can reduce your carbon footprint in 2020. Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs are partnering to create a climate action plan for our community this year. Have you thought about your own personal climate action plan?

While some people dismiss individual action as inconsequential, many small actions spark big change. When you take action to curb your carbon emissions in your own life, you send a signal to friends, family, elected officials, businesses, manufacturers and utilities that you care about the climate and the future of our valley, and they should, too.

Here are a few suggestions from Yampa Valley Sustainability Council to get you started on the path to a low carbon future:

  • Vote: Make your voice heard by voting for candidates who will champion transformative government policy and industry change.
  • Stop wasting energy at home: Get an energy assessment to find out where your home leaks, unplug devices when not in use and upgrade to LED lighting.
  • Eat a more plant-based diet: Start with meatless Mondays and see if you can add days as the year goes on.
  • Skip the car (and the gym): Research shows that building activity into your day by trading car commutes for walking, biking and taking the bus can lead to weight loss. Try switching up your commute once a week to start.
  • Recycle right: The Yampa Valley Recycles app provides detailed information about where to recycle all kinds of items locally. Download it for free at
  • Avoid single-use plastics: Bring your reusable water bottle, coffee mug, spork and metal straw everywhere.
  • Travel smarter: Avoid air travel, consider a staycation or stay closer to home. Make 2020 the year you finally visit nearby national parks and wilderness areas.
  • Stop buying new stuff: Buy used, if necessary, and repair items.
  • Reduce your food waste: Make this your year to plan menus and shop accordingly.
  • Take the plastic bag ban a step further: Invest in reusable produce bags and bring your reusable bags everywhere you shop, not just grocery stores.

If you feel overwhelmed reading this list, putting it in writing is one way to hold yourself accountable. Sign the Sustainability Council’s Climate Action Pledge at

 If you go

What: What’s new with water conservation in Steamboat Springs and Colorado
When: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14
Where: Library Hall, Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.

What: Our climate opportunity
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21
Where: Albright Auditorium, Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs, 1275 Crawford Ave.

To learn more and get inspired, join us for two upcoming events on water conservation and climate change with visiting expert speakers. More information about the events and climate action resources can be found at

Anne Mudgett is the communications and development director for Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.