2022 and Beyond

The future holds promise for our environment, though significant challenges remain. The UN says up to $3.8 trillion is needed annually until 2050 to prevent an irreversible devastating rise in global warming.

Encouragingly, climate investment grew in 2018 to $546 billion according to the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI). Research from the non-profit Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) finds that emissions attributed to banks’ investing and lending activities are 700 times larger than emissions from banks themselves.

It is now more important than ever that we each seek out the greenest financial institutions. Ask about their sustainability initiatives and if they intend to increase their green lending portfolio. Your mutual fund probably holds stock in several banks, so ask your financial advisor what they are doing to help combat global warming.

Once you're done talking to your financial advisor, get your Christmas shopping in order. Shop less, shop local, and shop sustainable. My favorite clothing item is a wonderfully comfortable sweatshirt from Tentree, an ethical clothing producer that sources quality materials with less impact on the environment.

According to the Tentree website, “The fashion and textile industry is considered one of the top polluters, and one of the heaviest natural resource consumers in the world. With staggering statistics of producing 20 percent of wastewater while creating more greenhouse gas emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.”

I personally appreciate the Tentree effort, as a manufacturer of wonderful clothing items. It inspires me to more closely consider all my purchases. In 2022, I'll be looking more attentively at packaging, labor practices and overall sustainable initiatives. The next 5 to 10 years will be crucial for us achieving our goals environmentally. If you are in the market for quality women’s clothes, check out FolcLand in Breckenridge, that sells fashionable women’s apparel from sustainable clothing brands.

Encourage the local business that you work for, or buy from, to source environmentally friendly products: get rid of some of the excess packaging and ask for more sustainable solutions from the supply chain. Each small change helps, as we seek to achieve great things for our environment in the next decade and beyond.

Another area that I'm really excited about with extraordinary potential is land conservation, and the push for healthy soil, water, wildlife and carbon capture. Conservation easements have already taken hold in our Valley while the potential is even greater here and beyond. There is also growing institutional support for organic and regenerative farming practices globally, as it is arguably better for food, fabric and our health.

Patagonia started their regenerative farming process back in 2017, with 165 farmers and 420 acres. Today the program includes more than 2,260 farmers and 5,248 acres. Patagonia committed to 100% organic cotton back in 1996. Recently, they are committing to a regenerative organic pilot program on over 800 farms. This practice aims to leave the soil intact or better than what it was before they started farming cotton. These new agricultural practices seek to capture more water and more carbon and that's a very powerful combination and a model that I think will scale up as we move forward.

Tom Koehler

Sustainable Hiker

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