Boulder, Colorado residents are attentive to national environmental issues but have trouble pinpointing local, newsworthy items.
The Listening Post assignment took me to Chautauqua Park Tuesday, where I spoke with several hikers. I hung around for about 25 minutes, until most people had gone home for the day. Most of the people I interviewed were from Boulder originally, but a few moved to the city within the last year. People were generally willing to answer my questions, and the experience wasn’t too painful.
I then took my questions to the Whole Foods market on Baseline Road, where the folks I interviewed would have preferred to run me over with a shopping cart than talk to me about environmental issues. Again, I stuck it out for almost half an hour. It was unpleasant, and I treated myself to Indian food afterward.
Based on my interactions with residents, people in Boulder are concerned about traffic and crowds. Many worry the recent uptick in population will force them to alter their routes to work and that an influx of people will lead to an increase in the number of cars on the road.
“There’s already no road space,” said Robert Haynes.
Resident Pamela Howard expressed concern that populations increases will contribute to Boulder’s carbon footprint. Others, echoed this fear, saying Boulder is an eco-friendly place to live right now. But if the city continues to be a destination for environmentally-conscious, healthy living, that reputation will no longer be sustainable.
Along with the idea of growth in Boulder, multiple residents expressed they didn’t want to lose green space in the city to development. This indicates they aren’t familiar with Boulder’s development laws, which limit development to existing urban areas.
Two residents, Nikki Carter and Matt Stover, said they wanted fracking to be covered more thoroughly in Boulder media. Stover said people don’t understand the impacts fracking can have on homes and communities. She noted she hadn’t seen recent coverage of fracking in the local news outlets — like the media has “moved on from it.”
The other main stories people said they’d like to see covered more in Boulder have to do with living sustainably. Several individuals vaguely pointed out the media should be advising residents on how to live their lives and “not destroy the planet.”
“I wish more people knew how to live sustainably,” Carter said.