Ullr Festival is here, and since we’re praising the Norse god of snow, it seems like we should also be extra mindful of our personal environmental impacts. With climate change threatening the future of the ski industry, is there any hope for an environmentalist during this celebratory week?
— Lauren, Breckenridge
Ah, Ullr Festival! A time when locals come out of hibernation, reclaim the town and celebrate the gods for supplying us with ample amounts of snow. When else can you see women and men in furry bikinis partaking in the longest shot ski in the world? Is there nothing better?
Well, Lauren, if you ask my opinion, the only thing better would be for the great people of Summit County to come together to recognize the positive impact that we have as a community on environmental issues. Our community has a love for the outdoors and a respect for nature. We have a great public transportation system, we value recycling and we even have an industrial composting facility. Making headway on these issues is a great offering to Ullr.
As an individual, there are a lot of steps you can take to lessen your environmental impact during the Ullr festivities. First, take public transportation into Breckenridge. Doing so means you won’t have to worry about parking in town (or driving home later), and you will also reduce the amount of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. Next, bring your own cup and shot glass to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Klean Kanteen makes great reusable steel pints and shot glasses, and the pints are just the right size to fit a koozie so your hand will stay warm. You could also bring your own water bottle, and refill it every time you need to hydrate. Finally, take some time to pick up any litter that you run across in the streets. Doing so will keep this trash away from wildlife and out of waterways. Be sure to put any recycling you come across in the proper bin. These steps will ensure that you are doing your part for Mother Earth while paying your respects to Ullr.
If you’re looking to engage in environmental awareness on a deeper level, check out the Wild and Scenic Film Festival — the final event of the week. This film festival features environmental and adventure films all designed to inspire action. This festival also serves as a fundraiser for two environmental organizations in the county: High Country Conservation Center and Continental Divide Land Trust. Both organizations work to conserve natural resources in Summit County.
So, yes, there is hope for an environmentalist this week! You can take direct action to create a greener community. And by participating in charitable events, you have an indirect impact on your community and on the environment. At events like the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, you will be able to make face-to-face connections with the board and staff of the host organizations and work with them to figure out how you can get involved in their work. In addition, your ticket purchases contribute financially to the organizations, giving them the means to continue the programs that benefit the local environment and community. As a bonus, the door prizes at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival this year are amazing — men’s and women’s skis, a half-day guided fly-fishing trip, a season pass to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and more.
The Wild and Scenic Film Festival takes place on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Doors open at 6 p.m. for happy hour, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are just $15 in advance and can be purchased online at HighCountryConservation.org or by calling (970) 668-5703. Tickets are also available the night of the event for $20. Volunteers are also needed. This is a great way to give back to the community, and you will receive free admission in exchange for your hard work.
The Wild and Scenic Film Festival is a family-friendly event, so the whole Steward household will be attending. We look forward to seeing you all there. This week, let’s praise Ullr for an amazing season of powder, and acknowledge the importance of environmental awareness and activism in our local and global communities.
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.