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Get Out The Map

Traveling In Solidarity To Save The Planet

I spent some time in late September traveling around our beautiful state in an RV with my wife and a couple of close friends. We spent eight days visiting some of our favorite towns, from Telluride to Buena Vista, catching some early-turning aspens, checking out some new breweries and marveling in the beauty of our home state. 

As the RV chalked up miles we entertained ourselves with sing-a-longs courtesy of Pink, the Indigo Girls and John Denver. We were reminded why it is so critically important to get out – out of the city, into the High Country, taking a break from stressful jobs and never-ending political tug-of-wars. 

The RV vacation also allowed me to take a brief break from my climate work. I missed the Climate Strike, the largest such action in history, which drew an estimated four million activists around the globe – especially young people who are fighting for their future. Such large-scale efforts are critical to force our leaders to act swiftly. 

At times the crisis may seem hopeless and too large to undertake. Yet, we each can make a difference everyday, most importantly by acting locally. 

In March of 2018, the group Accelerate Neighborhood Climate Action met for a weeklong forum at the Greater Park Hill offices. The event helped us highlight the work the neighborhood organization was already tackling, including our garden-in-a-box program, beekeeping and classes for building rain barrels and composting. We also set some goals for the next two years:

• Create Community Resilience

• Increase the Urban Canopy

• Promote Dark Night Skies

• Promote Going to Scale

• Lower Footprint with Larger Handprint on our Food

• Water Saving and Protection

• Change Waste to a Benefit

• Increase Solar and other Renewable Energy

We formed groups, designed to tackle six targeted efforts: One group’s goal is to organize and coordinate education and communication efforts, including classes and workshops. Another is focused on building our urban tree canopy, including planting in common spaces. A third group’s focus is on water, namely coming up with creative solutions to reduce, reuse and recycle this precious resource.

Another group is focused on promoting native plantings and keeping permeable land permeable to help mitigate stormwater runoff in flood-prone areas of Park Hill. Yet another has the goal of building on our pool of talent and diversity, expanding outreach to north and northeast Park Hill, 

The “Decrease Footprint, Increase Handprint” group is committed to helping build on the incredible work being done at the Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being, the Denver Food Rescue, and the GPHC food pantry. Our final group is committed to getting people to walk more, and ditch their cars as options allow. 

The groups are in varying stages of making their goals a reality. But the differences are all around. You may have noticed over the last two years that our Home Tour and Street Fair included an electronic recycling event. Please remember to thank Mark Kuhl, a longtime neighborhood sustainability advocate, for making this event happen. (While you’re at it, check out Kuhl’s fantastic recycling tips that now appear every month alongside this column). 

We continue to grow our food pantry and free farm stand. In collaboration with the University of Colorado, rain gardens are being built around Park Hill, and will be demonstration projects to educate the public.

On Oct. 26 GPHC will host another workshop to continue to refine our goals and future work. An announcement will be out soon about the details. Please, mark your calendars and join us.  Help lead Park Hill in becoming the most environmentally and sustainable neighborhood in Denver. 

One final note: As my wife, my friends and I traversed Colorado last month, we sang, loudly, along with an Indigo Girls’ classic: “Get out the Map and lay your finger anywhere down, We’ll leave the figurin’ to those we pass out of town, Don’t drink the water, There seems to be something’ ailin’ everyone.” 

Let’s all get out that map. Let’s take time to travel to our beautiful places and be reminded how much this world must be saved – for the generations to come, and for all who share this beautiful planet. 

Editor’s note: With this last piece of advice in mind, click here for a recommended autumn hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, complete with gorgeous photos of nature and wildlife.

Tracey MacDermott is chair of the board of Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. She was trained as a Climate Reality Leader in 2017, and is currently the Statewide Co-Chair of the Climate Reality Project for the 100% Committed Campaign.

It’s Kuhl to Recycle: Packing It In

Giving A Second Life To Styrofoam

By Mark Kuhl For the GPHN

Styrofoam (EPS – expanded polystyrene), that ubiquitous packaging material, is very recyclable. We now have many options to avoid putting this fossil fuel-based material in the landfill. The following is a list of Denver area recyclers that allow people to drop off Styrofoam that comes in “block” form (i.e. the blocks of Styrofoam that are used to pack appliances and other items that come in boxes). Unless specified, the following sites won’t accept food containers or packaging peanuts.

1. City of Denver:  Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-Off at 7352 Cherry Creek South Drive

2. Alpine Waste and Recycling: 645 W. 53rd Place

3. Atlas Molded Products: 5250 N. Sherman St.

4. SustainAbility Hard To Recycle: 1270 S. Bannock St.

5. The UPS Store at 700 Colorado Blvd. accepts block Styrofoam and packaging peanuts that they re-use to package shipments.

Check out handy tips for recycling household items every month in these pages. Mark Kuhl is an environmental advocate who lives in Park Hill with his wife Nina and their two teenage daughters.

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