Altitude Adjustment

Dear Meredith: Am I a Jerk for Flying out of Aspen?

Your only-in-Aspen questions, answered 

By Meredith Carroll February 26, 2020 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2020 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Q:The constant barrage of smog, cigarette smoke, and car exhaust ultimately choked me out of big-city life. In Aspen I compost, recycle, (try to) ride the bus, and limit my single-use plastic consumption—and, as a result, I literally and figuratively breathe easier at night. Yet I still feel bad knowing I could be doing more and that the things that make me happiest, like snowboarding (i.e., riding a chairlift at a developed resort) and traveling, have substantial ecological impacts. Regarding the latter, am I a jerk for flying out of Aspen (even if it’s on a commercial flight)?


A: If you get a thrill being on the receiving end of golf claps, then by all means, take RFTA to Glenwood, the Bustang to Denver, and then a hot-air balloon to DIA. We all can’t hitch a ride on a trans-Atlantic sailboat, Greta Thunberg–style. I wouldn’t get caught up worrying how you look, although it never hurts to honestly assess your lifestyle and commit to some small but significant changes (like, maybe go on an Amazon diet for a year to help offset your air travel impact by reducing the number of packages you have shipped). Just don’t be fooled into thinking that proximity to the mountains makes Mother Nature smile more brightly upon you, because though Aspen may lack high-rises and tobacco users, it still reeks of absurd excess and unhealthy judgment.

Have an Aspen etiquette question for Meredith? Submit it to [email protected] and we’ll consider it for a future issue.

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