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March 10, 2022

OSCAR Newsletter | March 10, 2022

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March 10, 2022

Welcome to Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resilience (OSCAR) newsletter. This newsletter contains stories and information about our work and ways the public can get involved in sustainability and climate action initiatives.


Susie Strife

Director of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience

It's been one of those weeks where climate justice activists, practitioners, and worriers alike lie awake at night agonizing about both the world at large and climate change. Many wonder when, and if, the rest of the world will actually ‘wake up’ to act. The loop of questions in my mind goes something like this: ‘Is it morally justifiable to ignore climate change when our children will inherit a much harsher planet?’, ‘why aren’t we deploying solutions as rapidly as humanly possible?’ and, ‘what can I do now, tomorrow, this week, this month to instigate systems change?’

Eventually, the sky brightens, the birds sing their daybreak songs, and my girls (oh, sigh, and our puppy) jump on me; it’s my morning dose of joy and relief.

But what keeps tormenting me are the findings in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. This is the sixth report since 1990, authored by more than 200 scientists across the world, and based on more than 14,000 individual studies. It's the most comprehensive review of climate science and climate impacts.

Here are some key takeaways (spoiler alert: the first four are downers):

  • There is ‘unequivocal’ scientific evidence that climate change is a threat to the health of our planet and to human wellbeing;
  • Climate change is causing dangerous disruption to our ecosystems and this is affecting billions of people around the world;
  • As we have seen right here in Boulder County, there are profound human, ecological and economic costs that we are already paying for — the climate driven firestorms, heat waves, droughts, and floods are expected to worsen;
  • Climate change is the ultimate justice issue: Rich countries have been dumping their carbon waste into the atmosphere and the subsequent impacts are hitting the poorest nations the hardest. It's an egregious inequity. Additionally, the emissions generated during my lifetime will greatly impact our children’s lives and their ability to thrive. This is a disheartening generational injustice;
  • All climate actors, including local governments, must now invest in and adopt CO2 removal strategies, in addition to existing emission reduction actions in order to align goals with the stark scientific realities of the climate crisis;
  • The good news. We know what we need to do:
    • Rapidly replace coal, oil, and gas with clean energy for electricity, transportation, industry, and buildings;
    • Appreciate the true value of our natural systems as climate solutions. Protecting, restoring, and regenerating our ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, and soils will safeguard us against the worst climate impacts and absorb carbon dioxide;
    • Take climate change adaptation seriously to withstand the impacts we are currently experiencing.

Many solutions are well-known, feasible, and already in motion. And even better, these solutions provide additional social and environmental gains beyond their positive climate benefits; less air pollution, clean water, shade, and nutritious food.

I wrote in a recent op-ed that here in Boulder County we are doing everything in our power to reverse the trajectory of this climate crisis: from leading statewide policy efforts, managing longstanding energy efficiency programs, and supporting carbon drawdown efforts, to a potentially precedent-setting lawsuit against fossil fuel giants to pay their fair share of the costs associated with climate change impacts.

Local governments like Boulder County can lead the way in our communities, but we cannot do it alone. We need systems change across all sectors at state, federal, and international levels to prevent the worst trajectories of the climate crisis.

The new IPCC report is yet again informing us that we are ruining our planet; hurting each other and our children in the process. We need all of us working together to collectively and systemically fight this crisis right now. If we wake up, we'll be able to sleep better through the night.

— Susie

As our community rebuilds, we have the opportunity to build back better. The Marshall Fire Resilient Rebuild Assistance Fund will help impacted homeowners construct high performance homes that use less energy, have lower utility bills, are more resilient to future disasters, and produce lower climate emissions.

Learn more and make a donation here.

Marshall Fire Resilient Rebuild Assistance Fund

Webinar for Marshall Fire-impacted residents — Building Resilience: How to be Firewise

The Colorado Green Building Guild (CGBG), with support from Boulder County, is hosting an information session, “Building Resilience: How to be Firewise”, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 for Marshall Fire-impacted residents in Boulder County. This online community meeting will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. via the Zoom platform.

In the wake of the Marshall Fire, there are hundreds of families in Boulder County in need of practical, useful advice as they take steps toward the rebuilding process. This event is the second in a year-long series of conversations and trainings hosted by the CGBG and sponsored by Boulder County intended to connect high performance building professionals and members of the public looking for expert advice and live Q&A about the ins and outs of building a high-performance home.

Andrew Michler, author of 'Hyperlocalization of Architecture' and co-founder of Passive House Rocky Mountains, will discuss how low-energy, low-carbon construction benefits not only fire resistance, but resilient design in general.

  • What: Information session for impacted Marshall Fire residents: Building Resilience: How to be Firewise
  • When: Tuesday, March 15, 2022
  • Time: 6 - 7 p.m.
  • Where: Zoom; register online

CGBG Social Post

Restore Colorado Chef Pop-up at Subway Sandwiches

Join Zero Foodprint (James Beard Humanitarian of the Year) and visiting chef/restaurateur Anthony Myint (Mission Street Food, Mission Chinese Food, The Perennial) as well as Chef Daniel Asher (River & Woods, Ash'Kara) for a unique and restorative lunch featuring Subway's menu + chef "power-ups."

Myint will be serving a Tingling Dip with Sichuan Hot Pot Broth and chili crisp. Daniel's chef power-up will be announced via Zero Foodprint's Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Each sandwich will be served with a side of regenerative agriculture as Boulder Subway restaurants are helping lead Restore Colorado, a program where participating food businesses send a portion of proceeds to Colorado farmers to apply compost, plant cover crops, and restore the climate by building healthy soil.

Where: Subway, 2480 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO

When: March 11, 2022

Time: 12 - 1 p.m.

Restore Colorado Chef Pop-Up

Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience is seeking to hire a Business Operations Manager to lead the department's financial accounting, contract management, reporting, office management, and administrative duties.

Learn more about the role and apply here by March 20, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

Recent News

high performance home

Opinion: High-performance homes are the smart rebuild choice for Marshall fire victims

Two months after the Marshall fire burned through nearly 1,100 homes and structures in Boulder County, impacted residents now face the daunting task of rebuilding. New rebates and incentives are offering residents an affordable way to build back better after the Marshall fire

Read more in The Colorado Sun.

Resilient Rebuild

There are new financial incentives for Marshall fire victims to rebuild greener homes

Xcel Energy announced a new package of incentives on Thursday, which would provide fire victims $7,500 to $37,500 to rebuild homes to a range of green building standards. Solar company SunShare has also guaranteed Marshall fire victims access to a planned community solar garden.

Read more at Colorado Public Radio.

Marshall Fire

OSCAR builds sustainable resilience in the wake of Marshall Fire

"We're living with climate change now," said Zac Swank, built environment coordinator for Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience. "It's clear that climate change is fueling disasters like these. What we're trying to do now is to reduce continued contributions to climate change."

Read more in Patch.

Meet the Team

Collin Tomb, Climate and Health Strategist

Collin Tomb square

What do you do at OSCAR? I’m the Climate and Health Strategist, which means I draw on Colorado’s amazing science and public health expertise to support climate programs and policy. Since air pollution and greenhouse gases don’t stop at the county line, I work with my OSCAR teammates to connect their work to action at the state level and across local governments. Because air pollution and climate change have the first and worst impacts on those already affected by racial and socioeconomic disparity, I work to prioritize equity in all that I do.

What do you like most about your job? My team. They are proof that it’s possible to work all day on wicked problems in a way that’s optimistic, tough, compassionate and fun.

Hometown? Salt Lake City, Utah. I still miss it and can’t stop talking about it.

Hobbies? Hiking, skiing, biking, drawing, writing, dancing, sewing, making stuff, fixing stuff, making messes and cleaning them up.

Favorite author? E.O. Wilson, Octavia Butler, Yuval Noah Harari – I’m not great at picking favorites.

Favorite movie? The first Back to the Future. Because you made me choose.

Favorite quote? This one from my college advisor, E.O. Wilson, who left us in December: "Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give."

Favorite musician? Bela Fleck. Or Dexter Gordon. Or…

What are you reading right now? His and Hers Obama books. Puts my little job stresses in perspective.

Events Calendar

Restore Colorado Chef Pop-up at Subway Sandwiches

March 11, 2022

12 - 1 p.m.

Subway Sandwiches, 2480 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO

A unique and restorative lunch featuring Subway's menu + chef "power-ups" from Anthony Myint and Daniel Asher in support of Restore Colorado and regenerative agriculture.

WEBINAR: Building Resilience: How to be Firewise

March 15, 2022

6 - 7 p.m.

Andrew Michler, author of 'Hyperlocalization of Architecture' and co-founder of Passive House Rocky Mountains, will discuss how low-energy, low-carbon construction benefits not only fire resistance, but resilient design in general.

Register here.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Bilingual Climate Equity Specialist

March 20, 2022

11:59 p.m.

Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience is hiring a Business Operations Manager.

For more information and to apply, visit the Boulder County careers website.