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Mountain News: Writer gets message of climate hope in NY Times

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ASPEN, Colo.—Among writers with opinions, especially those who bend just a bit left, it gets no bigger than the op-ed section of the Sunday New York Times. On Sunday, Auden Schendler of the Aspen Skiing Co. was there.

"It's unlike anything I've experienced in writing. I've written for the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post. The Post has a circulation of 700,000, and the LA Times even more. But the New York Times is the paper of record. It's a big deal," said Schendler on Monday as messages continued to be posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Schendler, the vice president for sustainability with the Aspen Skiing Co., and his co-author, Andrew P. Jones, wrote an essay headlined: "Stopping Climate Change is Hopeless. Let's Do It." The Times added this subtext: "It begins with how we live our lives every moment of every day."

The op-ed was prepared with advance notice of a new report from the International Panel on Climate Change. The report, said the New York Times in a news story on Monday "paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and said that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has no documented historic precedent."

Anticipating that news, Schendler and Jones asked "how do we even get out of bed in the morning?" The answer, they said hopefully, is that "if the human species specializes in one thing, it's taking on the impossible." They go on to outline their approach, concluding with this: "Perhaps the rewards of solving climate change are so compelling, so nurturing and so natural a piece of the human soul that we can't help but do it."

Schendler said he usually gets messages attacking him when he is published. In this case, the message of hope produced comments of support.

Among those endorsing the essay was Bill McKibben. "As these folks point out, the climate fight—like every movement for justice—is a long daily grind against strong foes. The work can't be avoided," he wrote on Twitter.

Homeless allowed to stay

DURANGO, Colo.—Homeless people have been in the headlines in Durango lately, as they have been periodically for the last several years.

In one story reported by the Durango Herald, a homeless man believed to be 55 years old was found deceased on the bank of a local creek. He was believed to have died of natural causes. The homeless man was said to make his home along the creek.

Elsewhere, eight homeless people refused to take down their tents while camping on designated open space in Durango. They had been charged with trespassing on public property, but city prosecutors have dismissed the charges.

The dismissal, explained the Herald, came after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found it unconstitutional to prosecute people for sleeping or resting on public property when no other shelter is available. The Herald said the American Civil Liberties Union prodded the city into dropping the charges and stopping its enforcement of the ban on homeless camping.

The city in September said it had stopped issuing citations to people sleeping outside on public grounds, excluding parks and sidewalks.

Where is cannabis use OK?

JASPER, Alta.—Jasper's elected officials have adopted laws governing cannabis within the townsite located within Jasper National Park in advance of Oct. 17, when cannabis officially becomes legal in Canada.

Next comes a process for determining in which public areas smoking and vaping will be allowed. This will include proposals for marijuana zones at events, reported the Jasper Fitzhugh.

"We recognize that designated cannabis areas may be desired, and we've provided a process to consider such requests," said Mayor Richard Ireland.

The new law allows private property owners who want to designate a cannabis area within a public place on their properties to write a letter to the mayor and council requesting an exemption.

In Canmore, at the gateway to Banff National Park, elected officials in mid-October will decide whether to restrict public consumption of cannabis.

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