“Yes, and is it enough?”
That was the challenge laid down by organizers of last Friday’s POW: Action Summit. The packed house of citizens — most of them trending young, all of them uniting around climate action — laid bare their suggestions to tackle what has been called “the issue of our time.” And still the facilitators pressed: “Is this enough?”
The event was the brainchild of four young Aspen go-getters who either grew up in the valley or, like so many before them, found it and fell in love: Reuben Sadowsky, Gretchen Bleiler, Joey Stokes and Nicole Lindstrom. Working with Protect Our Winters on the fundraiser that followed, the group corralled the valley’s climate action players (including CORE, Aspen Skiing Company, the Canary Initiative, ACES and many more) for a climate think tank in advance of the party. The event drew a capacity crowd to BLK MKT in downtown Aspen.
“Aspen can be a really powerful tool in global change, but in order to be that, we need it to be a bit more tied together and aligned for us to spread a consistent message,” said Sadowsky, who along with Stokes co-founded and directs Gravity Productions, an Aspen-based eventmaker focusing on creative, community-based gatherings.
“We did it also because we’re very concerned about climate change. We don’t know the answers personally, and so we wanted to reach out to the most knowledgeable people in the community to learn more. And we can do a lot more when we work together.”
Scribes filled white boards with action ideas, giving visual form to the messy diversity of community organizing. Ashley Perl, City of Aspen’s Canary Initiative Director was one of many trying to channel the room’s exuberant energy into a specific task: “Be loud with City Council about the value you place on the environment. They need to hear from you.”
There was no shortage of ideas. “Use our relationships with influential visitors to move national levers of power.” “Educate young people to become activists.” “Promote our clean mountain environment as the true luxury.” “Compost more.”
The energy was not to be contained, but that was not the point. Auden Schendler, Aspen SkiCo VP of Sustainability and one of the event’s stewards, walked away enthused. “I think it was good, and I measure that by the fact that I don’t see a lot of young people gathering up to think about wonky climate issues on a Friday night all that much.”
Stay tuned for more from Sadowsky and company. The group is working on how to bottle the passion and turn it into action. Climate, stand by. Aspen’s coming.