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Letter: It’s going to hurt, but world needs a reset
Patrick Hunter


Give Auden credit for keeping a sense of humor. (“Schendler’s List, RFWJ, March 14, 2019). I read the Fox article in the New York Times. The good news is that the level of the discussion about climate change, and the number of people participating in it, is increasing.

The big question is what is going to happen in the years to come. Science is providing more and more information about that by the day. With each new report things look worse. But seeing the kids around the world skipping school to protest the stupidity of their adults is encouraging.

It looks like the world’s economy has to be reset. Imagine the world’s largest aircraft carrier at full speed and we have to turn it on a dime and head back where we came from. Not easy.

The world has failed to make an accounting of what is currently happening (not the GDP), and decide where the changes have to take place. We are doing some improvements piecemeal, like electric cars, solar panels and making  buildings more efficient. That’s fine, but it is not nearly enough. The world is on a diet of a quadrillion calories a day, and we need to get to zero. It has never been done. It is going to hurt. 

There was a little bit of this in the 1930s with the Great Depression. Countries destroyed by war had to find a way to live and rebuild. Cuba had to reset when all of its trade was cut off. 

After the save-the-world accounting is done and a budget is drawn up, many things will have to go. Entertainment will have to go. This is not personal. Would you continue NASCAR racing that celebrates the burning of gasoline? Would you encourage people to drive all over the country in gasoline-burning vehicles to ski at areas that accept the IKON pass? To ski at resorts that can’t exist except by burning fossil fuels? Probably not. 

People’s priorities have to change. What will we do for jobs if the recreation industry is canceled? Not to mention so many other things to stop. Beto O’Rourke was asked what he thought of Universal Basic Income, about which he punted; skillfully. (Typical trouble-making reporter.) Switzerland considered it. The WPA was a make-work program to put money in people’s pockets. Unemployment insurance doesn’t have that kind of cash.

Auden is in a tricky spot. He knows better than most the size of the problem. He can leverage the situation from where he is now. Still, many people, myself included, think the ski business needs to quit. That’s not in the DNA of large businesses. They are like coal companies looking at stranded assets. I’m surprised to see Skico continuing to invest in more lifts and facilities. Not to mention the new conglomerate. I had read years ago that European banks had stopped lending to low-elevation ski areas that wanted to buy snowmaking. Skico doesn’t need the banks. Vail can sell stock, as it is now. That could change in a hurry. 

Public opinion seems to be moving, probably because of the disasters. Need to keep pushing. 

Thanks for doing that article. 


Patrick Hunter