May 6, 2008

If I were Mayor of Boulder.

Waylon Lewis: Interviewing Dr. Weil in Denver, at Origins / Pekoe Sip House.

In a recent Sunday magazine (which prominently featured our brau, Ryan Van Duzer) the New York Times published the zillionth relatively superficial article about how in Boulder, Colorado—elephant’s hometown—everyone bicycles, recycles and drinks lattés. The author referenced one of Boulder’s many epithets: “25 square miles surrounded by reality.”

I beg to differ. Boulder is 25 miles surrounded by largely tasteless sprawl, where once farmland and the Great Plains rolled. Reality is living in harmony with our earth. Reality is, as it’s said, that we human beings need the earth far more than it needs us. Reality is that global warming experts predict all coastal areas will be underwater within 50 years, and we’re busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (a recent popular editorial criticizing the “green trend” said, “I need to commute 70 miles a day, I need to keep my various appliances plugged-in, and C.F.L.s interfere with my cell phone calls!”)

Secondly, we’re hardly “the eco-capital of the world,” as the Times said. If we’re the best the world’s got, god help humanity.Boulder is far, far from living in harmony with itself. We’re a lush green town set in a desert, essentially. When you see a mile-wide plot of grass, such as at North Boulder or Scott Carpenter Parks, it’s ’cause we water the thing night and day. We don’t even have a friggin’ recycle bin outside the North Boulder Rec Center (a LEEDS certified building). We don’t offer recycling by the many trash cans on our historic Pearl St. Mall.But we do a few things right: our Green Points program, also writ up in the recent conventional-paper-printed “Green” NY Times’ Sunday Magazine, is more aggressive than national building-green certification programs. We’re implementing a carbon tax. And now, our nationally-owned local paper reports, we’re (finally, years after Halifax, where my ma lives) implementing a city-wide curbside composting program.Did you know composting at home and at the office can reduce landfill waste by 85%? That’s an awful lot of karma, nullifed. Yay!

If I were mayor of Boulder, I’d double our gas tax—unlike the pandering, B.S. plans floated by Senator McCain, and then Senator Clinton in recent weeks. I’d outlaw the watering of lawns during daylight hours, when up to 90% of water evaporates. My Buddhist barista would make all traffic lights powered by solar, and all city greenspaces would be xeriscaped. We’d start a Zip car and bike program, so folks could transport themselves zero-emissions-style. We’d legalize graywater systems. There’s a lot of common sense stuff we could do, just as my Depression and WWII-era grandparents’ generation did (Victory Gardens=Food Not Lawns).A final note: recently, one of our main supporters and leaders in the green fashion movement went under. Our condolences. We have no idea why it happened—they say because they couldn’t get sufficient additional investment in the current economy—but we agree that, as they say, it’s an idea whose time has come, and we look forward to seeing another Nau emerge in the future.

~ Waylon Lewis, editor-in-chief

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