Eco-sense: As we go forward

Every election year, whether mid-term or presidential, investors worry about the economy. Some pull their money out of the stock market, driving values down, and proving them “right” to do so. Housing markets always fluctuate as home-buyers try to guess the pursuant economic trend, based upon who they believe will win the coveted elected positions, and what they believe will be done once these individuals are in office.

Of course, this year, that was exacerbated by the recent rise in interest rates and accentuated by the yes/no questions on the ballot. The passage of 6E will effect the housing market, most likely, in my opinion, increasing the comparative profitability of the full-time rental, and making it more possible for people who work here to live here. Do we still need VRBOs to rent to ours visitors and give them the opportunity to experience Estes? Of course! We want to be sure that potential Estes residents understand our unique community and want to join, not change, the atmosphere that keeps Estes a village, regardless of size.

A huge part of that quality is our volunteer community. At National Philanthropy Day last week, I watched individuals moving table to table to visit friends with whom they already interact for the improvement of local conditions, and those whose board or committee might be next year’s endeavor. It seems that volunteerism is an integral component of Estes and anyone “who is anyone” contributes time, treasure or talent to some worthy cause.

Disaster, in some parts of the world, makes individuals more self-centered. In a village, it brings people together. Whether flood, fire, pandemic, plummeting economics, or the need to increase available workforce – Estes is an inter-supportive unit that works together to resolve the crisis. A more difficult “sell” is the need to act proactively to prevent the not always defined cause of some of these emergencies. Floods, fires, and droughts are not, in my opinion, visited upon us by a vengeful god. They have sound, scientific causes, with predictable results, that we could, if we would, do something to minimize, if not abolish. Yes, we must address resiliency to be prepared for the next upheaval in our daily lives. However, we must also eliminate the greenhouse gases (ghg) caused by burning fossil fuels and the methane from our extensive wastefulness. One of the reasons that people move to Estes is the ability to breathe fresh air, except during pollen season or wildfires. However, recent tests have discovered a rise in particulate matter in the air over Rocky Mountain National Park. Also, testing equipment has measured rising levels of ghg in our Estes Valley atmosphere, not like the newly chastised Font Range and certainly not approaching the density of the Denver air, yet, but – do we really want to wait that long?

A very large part of our economy is built upon the coal, oil, and natural gas used to heat and light our homes, and to generate the electricity that operates all that computerized equipment we depend upon today. While there will still be uses for gas and oil, we are depleting these resources far more quickly than they can be replaced. If we continue to act as if there is no limit, we will find ourselves without – and what will that do to the economy? Consider all the legitimate long-term uses for plastics, from water pipes to computer cases to medical equipment, such as plastic parts or blood bags, that might be a more valuable use of limited resources than fabricating packaging destined to be landfilled once opened.

From where you are right now, look around and count the plastic items that could just as easily be made from something truly recyclable, like glass, metal, or paper.

Learn to recycle right. And speaking of recyclability, only #1, #2, #4, and #5 are really recyclable. Plastics marked, #3, #6, or #7 are not profitable enough to attract companies that recycle. The Residential Recycling Center in Estes Park does recycle some plastic: shaped like jars, jugs, bottles, and certain kinds of tubs. They do not have the capability to recover black plastic, plastic bags and other flimsy plastics, or “clam-shells”. Odd shapes and more permanent plastic {toys, laundry baskets, flower pots, etc.) cannot be placed in single stream, which is designed only for prolific packaging. All these extra-curricular items must be taken to a source-separated recycling yard like Timberline or Eco-cycle.

Over the next 5 years, as plastic packaging gradually rises in price and disappears, our recycling systems in the USA (which recover 34%) will gradually grow to be more like European systems. (Germany is at 65%.) But, for now, we are stuck with what we’ve got.

Agree? Disagree? Comments RRRcyc@signsandwishes.com.

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About Pep Dekekr

Pep loves Estes Park, he lives here with his family and hopes to bring people to Estes Park and Estes Park to the people. Along with his wife Paige, they own EstesPark.com.

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