Protecting the environment is our shared duty

By Erik Aadland

The Earth is our only home, so we must protect its ability to sustain us. We must own this responsibility to find solutions to power our national needs in harmony with the environment. 

Coloradans know the challenges presented by a growing population; we must find balance between supporting our residents and sustaining our natural resources. Colorado must be a leader in protecting the environment without hindering industry’s ability to foster opportunity.   

Success means providing stewardship through a balanced approach combined with proven means for supporting our needs through innovation.  

Three key aspects of our environment and natural resources require a balanced strategy: 

1. Energy: We must maintain reliable energy production. Energy is essential to support life, and we cannot rush away from oil and natural gas without dependable alternatives. While alternative energy sources are emerging, they are not ready to meet demands at a level that sustains our standard of living and empowers economic growth. 

All known energy sources have advantages and disadvantages. Rapid change driven by ideological biases is not the answer; this course is economically disastrous and undermines our national security.  America’s innovators will, if properly incentivized, develop means that will lead to emission-free energy in abundance. We cannot simply wish any one of them into immediate readiness.  

Nuclear energy is one option we must examine. Nuclear molten sodium reactors have shown promise as an emission-free source. There have been developments in nuclear power in sustainability, economic potential, and safety. Scrutinizing this option may prove beneficial to all of us as a means of expanding our grid’s capacity. 

In all these avenues, we must give its thinkers room to innovate. Government’s role should be limited and should not involve using money to pick winners and losers, as self-serving political motivation does not usually lead to the best outcome. 

2. Water: Water is our lifeblood. Colorado’s water comes from the mountain tops during four months of the year. More than forty million people rely on the Colorado River to irrigate properties, power electric grids, and provide drinking water.  

It is essential that we develop water policy that increases non-evaporative storage, promotes efficiency in water usage (especially in urban centers), and assists recyclability. Leveraging technology will help solve this crisis. We can improve efficiency, reduce waste, and create ways to extend supply. We should look to countries like Israel for solutions to water conservation. Israel is an arid country that demonstrated how to conserve and recycle water resources with ingenuity without onerous government involvement. 

Here in Colorado, the Sterling Ranch community has made cutting-edge strides in water conservation through several steps: thorough land-scape planning, “[incorporating] water sustainability into land use,” developing “Colorado’s first and only rainwater harvesting pilot site,” empowering people to conserve by using dual home water meters “which [account] separately for outdoor and indoor usage”, and employing “smart irrigation controllers.” Coloradans are innovators who can leverage their ingenuity to develop great results. 

3. Climate Change: Man-made impact on the environment is real and will have consequences for humanity if we do not take appropriate steps. We may deplete our limited resources, robbing future generations. Everyone wants to breathe clean air and drink clean water. 

It is our duty to protect the environment through efficient use of natural resources.  

Solutions must coincide with a high standard of living for future generations. With balanced regulations, the environment and industry can thrive together.  

We must be more conscious of our impacts on our planet, seeking to be stewards of our state, to leave this world to future generations better than we found it. 

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About the Author:

Erik Aadland is a congressional candidate in Colorado’s 7th district. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and a Veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was awarded two Bronze Star Medals including one for valor. He is also a former senior businessman in the energy sector.