Aspen’s green guru takes on critics, touts new book on sustainability

Can Colorado’s ski industry — which markets to millionaires who jet in on fuel-guzzling Gulfstreams, inhabit 10,000-square-foot starter castles two weeks a year, ski on artificial snow and walk on snow-melted streets — in any way lay claim to being a green leader?

Auden Schendler, the Aspen Skiing Co.’s executive director of sustainability, acknowledges the inherent hypocrisy of the overtly consumptive Glitter Gulch trying to combat climate change but also argues Aspen can use its international spotlight to effect real change before it’s too late.

In his new book, “Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution,” Schendler lays out his own formula for sustainable living, and in an article in Sunday’s Aspen Times, he answers detractors who say Aspen is engaged in green washing on a grand scale.

Just as Aspen may consume more resources than most American towns its size, Schendler says the United States uses a disproportionate share of the world’s energy resources. And because it’s impossible to make moral judgments about energy use, he argues humans must collectively fix the system and reduce their carbon footprint.

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