On the Environment and Climate Change

Not only is Aaron the only candidate with an environmental record, it is one which illustrates his long-term commitment to the planet as a hard-charging environmentalist.  The University of Colorado has been a national leader in sustainability, but it still has a long way to go.  A number of its practices remain environmentally unfriendly — from wastefully using gasoline-powered, highly-polluting leaf blowers to forcing students to purchase expensive printed texts which often get only a single use.  Nevertheless, it should be known the University has been recognized for taking many steps to make its campuses and operations sustainable.  This effort needs to be expanded.

Aaron is the only recognized environmentalist in the race for CU Regent. He is supported by numerous environmentalists, such as former Mother Earth News and The Utne Reader publisher Bryan Welch; ECO-CYCLE founder and former CEO Pete Grogan; Be The Change anti-fracking leader Phil Doe; Boulder environmental & land use attorney Ed Byrne; and former national environmental leaders such as Colorado’s first Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, and Senator Gary Hart.  Here are some examples of Aaron’s activism.

Sustainability.  Aaron not only is concerned about the lack of sustainability in our communities but in 1998 developed the initial concept for what still would be the nation’s first large-scale, truly sustainable community.  His premise was and still is based on the reality that (1) most sustainable communities are small scale in nature and do not begin to offer a solution to the challenges faced by our planet and (2) most attempts at creating truly sustainable communities, including Masdar City, end up having to deploy shortcuts for financial reasons and, as a result, no longer are truly sustainable.  Aaron’s goal was to develop and build a model which was truly sustainable and which could be duplicated by communities around the world.  See much more detail and actual plans at GoldenRun.com

ACT 1041.  Over 25 years ago, Aaron was the first to propose Boulder County adopt regulatory authority made available to it under House Bill 1041.  Aaron’s research found that other Colorado counties had gained that authority but Boulder had failed to act.  In discussions with the County Commissioners, Aaron was able to get them to agree to pass the legislation needed to give the County the right to review a wide range of projects such as pipelines and other development.  Since, its adoption, Boulder County has utilized this new authority on multiple occasions to ensure environmental issues were properly addressed.

 Environmental Lawsuit.  In the mid-1990s, Aaron was asked to join a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club against a water pipeline which was planned through multiple counties.  He gladly joined the case as a party and also won a separate Colorado Open Records Act case fighting for transparency against the proposing entity in its efforts to hide information from the public.

 Rocky Flats Plutonium Plant.  Aaron was one of thousands who marched and protested against the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rocky Flats Plutonium plant, as did many concerned citizens from across Colorado.  Inspired by his Mother. Adrienne Harber, a major community activist, and her work for the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, he participated in marches from Boulder to the plant and even was one of the thousands of protesters who “encircled” the facility.  His extraordinary commitment to peace and the environment was demonstrated by his decision to help Joe Daniel, Keith Pope, famed poet Allen Ginsberg, and Daniel Ellsberg publish the photo-journal about Rocky Flats titled, “A Year Of Disobedience.”

 

Agriculture.  To understand Aaron’s perspective, you have to know he lives on and manages a 320-acre farm in unincorporated Eastern Boulder County where he has raised a variety of crops, including alfalfa, barley, corn, rye, straw, sunflowers, wheat.  He also periodically has horses on his property.  He has allowed a couple who have a business bringing 20 to 30 dogs every day to the property so the wide variety of canines have a place to run and play off-leash (and be happily worn out at home after a few hours of exercise and social interaction with other dogs).  It’s literally a private dog park for the pups!  Aaron also has strictly prohibited the use of pesticides and herbicides for all farming activities, regardless of the additional cost and inconvenience of not having those options available for pest and weed control as well as other elements of crop production.

Oil & Gas Companies.  When Aaron purchased his farm, unfortunately, it came with existing oil & gas operations.  Under Colorado law, Aaron had to accept these industrial activities and has had to deal with intransigent and arrogant energy companies which were exploiting resources below the surface of his property but whose operations were negatively affecting the surface and broader environment as well.  In particular, Aaron has had to engage in battles with these companies in regard to their drilling activities, their creation of various problems from nuisances (such as noise, dust, et cetera) to environmental degradation to dangerous activities.  These companies are on the property daily and often create disturbances affecting Aaron and his neighbors.  This has motivated Aaron to encourage both Boulder County and State of Colorado regulators to impose strict environmental, safety, health, and aesthetic regulations on energy companies so the externalities of their activities are not subsidized by the health and well-being of property owners and other citizens.

 Climate Change.  Aaron is a leading Climate Change education advocate who has focused public attention on how the use of fossil fuels is acidifying the world’s primary source of oxygen — our oceans.  The carbonization of the oceans is the planet’s most serious environmental problem yet scant attention is being paid to this despite the fact the science proving that fossil fuel use if doing this is uncontested.

Climate Change Education.  Aaron has used his multi-state public affairs television program (HarberTV.com: broadcast via antenna, cable, and satellite) to bring attention to significant environmental issues and serve as a platform to educate citizens about environmental challenges and solutions.  He has had numerous guests on the show to address environmental issues.  A sample of them include the following who have appeared, in person with Aaron, on his program.

  • Neshama Abraham, Frack Free Colorado 
  • Dan Arvizu, Director & CEO, the U.S. D.O.E. National Renewable Energy Laboratory  
  • James Barry, Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Research Institute
  • James Bellingham, Director, Center of Marine Robotics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Jason Bordoff, former National Security Council Special Assistant to the President (Obama) for Energy and Climate Change
  • Lester Brown, Founder, Worldwatch Institute & Earth Policy Institute
  • Michael Brune, Executive Director, The Sierra Club
  • Peter Byck, Documentarian, “Carbon Nation
  • James Cameron, Film Director ocean advocate, and NASA environmental science adviser
  • Chip Comins, Founder, American Renewable Energy Day
  • Phil Doe, anti-fracking leader; formerly Bureau of Reclamation regulator
  • Kevin Costner, Actor & Environmental Entrepreneur
  • Sylvia Earle, legendary oceanographer & Hero of the Planet 
  • Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, Framework Convention of Climate Change
  • Daniela Fernandez, Founder, Sustainable Ocean Alliance
  • Christiana Figueres, Convener, Mission 2020
  • Chris Flavin, President, Worldwatch Institute
  • Elizabeth Grossman, Founder, Population Justice Movement
  • Ted Halstead, CEO, Climate Leadership Council
  • David Hiller, Executive Director, Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory
  • John Holdren, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (Obama)
  • Lisa Jackson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Tim Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association
  • Michael Knotek, Director, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Institute
  • Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Anthony Leiserowitz, Director, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
  • Lynn Loo, Director, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment  
  • Amory Lovins, Co-Founder, Chairman & Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Hunter Lovins, CEO, Natural Capitalism Solutions
  • Pete Maysmith, Conservation Colorado
  • Laurie Mazur, Environmental Author
  • Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy
  • Andrea Neal, Founder, Blue Ocean Sciences
  • Jeff Orlowski, Producer of “Chasing Ice” and “Chasing Coral 
  • Audrey Peterman, Co-Founder, Earthwise Productions
  • Frank Peterman, Co-Founder, Earthwise Productions
  • Tom Plant, Director, Office of Energy Conservation
  • Carl Pope, Executive Director, The Sierra Club
  • William Reilly, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Sam Schabacher, Food & Water Watch
  • Eugenie Scott, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education
  • Daniel Sigman, Professor of Geological & Geophysical Sciences, Princeton University
  • Kim Stevens, Environment Colorado
  • Randy Udall, Executive Director, Community Office for Resource Efficiency
  • Bryan Welch, Publisher, Mother Earth News and The Utne Reader
  • Wes Wilson, former EPA regulator & current anti-fracking activist 
  • Wyland, environmental artist

 Aaron has been involved in numerous other environmental causes and crusades.  He will bring that knowledge and experience to bear, if elected.,