Climate 2020

It's already February, 2020. Hi.

This year is, in my opinion, the year of Earth's reckoning.

Who we, Americans, elect as President may determine how quickly the U.S. acts or fails to act on the climate crisis.

It's not just our President. Who we elect as Representatives, Senators, City Council Members, Governors – these are the people who will decide whether 1) to elevate climate policies, from climate justice to renewable energy subsidies to public lands protections or 2) to continue to ignore Earth's warming, granting fossil fuel companies free reign to destroy our planet.

Now to be clear, this blog isn't about trails and koalas. The fossil fuel lobby and the fossil fuel subsidies our government gives away aren't just destroying the planet, they're killing people.

The human death tolls from air pollution impacts (asthma, heart attacks, strokes) and climate disasters (flooding, forest fires, heatwaves, to name a few) are increasing. Without action from our President, and other elected officials, companies hellbent on short term profit will continue to pour toxic chemicals into the Earth, fracking its core with few to no repercussions, while Laintx kids endure elevated levels of benzene and while our air fills with more toxins daily, impacting air from Fresno to Salt Lake City to Denver without remorse.

So, what am I going do about it?

Racing

In 2020, I'm not racing outside the U.S.. I've forgone international race invitations, aside from a long-standing commitment in Chamonix this spring to help with air pollution awareness around Europe. I'll also run Running Up For Air in my home state, Colorado, hopefully raising awareness about our horrible air quality on the Front Range. Consider joining!

I will race. Lake Sonoma 50 and Western States 100, but other than that, I have no plans. I want to run in swing districts. In places where a few hundred votes for someone who will acknowledge and elevate the climate crisis could mean the difference between winning or losing.

Colorado

I plan to run long and hard in the Western Slope of Colorado, which is currently represented by Scott Tipton – who didn't even vote for one of the most broadly and locally supported Colorado-specific public land bills in history, the C.O.R.E. Act.

I plan to run far in Colorado in general, which is represented by Senator Cory Gardner, one of the notoriously worst Senators for our land, air, water and general public service in the history of the state and a staunch defender of the oil and gas industries. He hasn't held a town hall in 2 years.

This isn't meant to be doom and gloom. I believe that climate, public lands, clean air, and clean water should not fall on partisan lines. Thus, I'll work to make sure these people, from Gardner to Trump are not people I want representing my voice and my values.

Canvassing

In 2020, I know I'll experience more climate anxiety than I likely have than ever before. It gets worse every year.

But, in lieu of anxiety and depression, I'm committed to choosing action.

This will be the first year I canvass. After tearily watching videos of burned koalas in the Australian bush fires, I realized, HOLY SHIT. What scientists have been telling us for decades, it's happening. Heck, I witnessed this while studying coral reefs almost 10 years ago, but something hasn't really clicked in my brain until now: I need to ACT. Join the movement. I need to be a cog in the grassroots wheel. I must to vocally support the most climate-driven Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. I will knock on doors and sacrifice some of my free time to really put my feet where my heart and brain are.

I'm asking my friends who they're voting for in the primaries, initiating discussions about values, none of which I've regretted. I'm attending grassroots events from Colorado Rising to 350 Colorado when I can and staying in touch to primary volunteer opportunities with Boulder for Bernie. And of course, I pledged to vote.

Action over Apathy

Some people might find me annoying, noisy or alarmist. Well, I firmly believe that staying apathetic and quiet during 2020 is something I'd grossly regret on my death bed. Life's too short to be apathetic. Our planet is on fire. Please consider joining me.

And remember, this fight for our planet is for everyone. The more I acknowledge my privilege, the more I realize that I should be working harder. Equity matters. Clean air matters. The ability to go for a run from one's home matters.

2020 is an important year. Join me in acting over ignoring or being depressed. It's actually really fun.

At the Climate Rally 2020, Denver, Colorado, organized by Caroline Gleich and Katie Boué. Photo: MAHTING PUTELIS