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A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers

- Pink Floyd

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News

Nov 08, 2018

The 2018 midterms: Colorado Voting Blue, Thinking Green

News From Boulder: Climate-conscious Jared Polis won the contest for governor, Democrats took control of the state Senate and then swept the highest state offices, but what does the “blue wave” mean for the environment?

WRITTEN BY

Kela Fetters

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Democrats secured a majority in the state Senate and increased their hold over the state House. Republicans were ousted from positions of attorney general, state treasurer, and secretary of state. Polis’s election warrants optimism for the environmentally-conscious; the governor-elect is unyielding in his commitment to bring Colorado to 100% renewable energy by 2040. Polis’s website notes that “leadership at the state and local levels to address climate change has never been more important, particularly in the absence of leadership at the national level”, a nod to the significance of the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy with its workforce of 229,000 and the valuable open space and public lands they utilize.

Jared Polis. Official Photo for Congressman via Wikimedia Commons.

Democrat Joe Neguse handily defeated Republican Peter Yu to fill Polis’s former seat as Congressman for the 2nd Congressional District. He also promulgates progressive environmental policy, calling for investment in renewable energies, the elimination of government subsidies for fossil-fuel companies, and local sovereignty over oil and gas development.

State ballot initiative Proposition 112, which The Outdoor Journal reviewed in September, failed to pass. The “Safer Setbacks from Fracking” amendment would have required new oil and gas wells to be at least 2,500 feet from occupied buildings. Colorado Oil and Gas interests channeled almost $40 million into anti-112 campaigning, wildly outspending grassroots group Colorado Rising, who raised shy of $1 million to promote the initiative.

Conjointly, voters rejected Amendment 74, which would have mandated “just compensation” to property owners should government action reduce private property values. With strong backing by the oil and gas industry, Amendment 74 was fracking exponents’ solution to the possibility of Proposition 112’s approval; the setback mandate would have arguably reduced the value of private drilling land, entitling fracking companies to governmental reimbursement.

In Boulder, voters approved a slew of local initiatives that bode well for the environment. Issue 2C, an oil and gas tax, stormed through with a 77% majority. Though Boulder has gone decades without an application for a new well, drillers would face an extraction tax of up to $6.90 per barrel of oil or 88 cents per thousand cubic feet of natural gas. Ballot measure 2D passed, authorizing the city of Boulder to keep all money raised by the sugar-sweetened beverage tax implemented in 2016. Funds from the tax flow to community health equity programs such as Double Up Food Bucks, an initiative of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provides low-income shoppers double the amount of healthy fruits and vegetables from a grocery store purchase. And in another win for the environment, Democrat Matt Jones claimed the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners District 3 race. Jones intends to fight fracking in Boulder County and substantiates Polis’s vision of 100% renewable energy.

As Polis remarked, the erosion of support for progressive environmental policy at the national level necessitates a strong cadre of environmental advocates at the local and sate levels. Buoyed by a formidable outdoor recreation industry and a state of avid outdoor recreators, Polis and the Democratic elects have the political efficacy to address environmental issues such as renewable energy, local energy justice, and land access.

Cover Photo: Governor-elect Jared Polis has pledged to transform Colorado’s energy sector to 100% renewables by 2040. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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Athletes & Explorers

Oct 31, 2019

New World Record: Nirmal Purja Summits the 14 Highest Peaks in Just 6 Months

Nepali ex-soldier Nirmal Purja just smashed the record for summiting all the 8000ers in just half a year—the previous record? The same achievement took Kim Chang-ho, over seven years.

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WRITTEN BY

Himraj Soin

Nirmal Purja is a Nepali mountaineer and a former British Marine. He joined the British Army in 2003, became a Royal Marine in 2009, and only started climbing as recently as 2012—when he decided to climb Everest. In 2018, Purja was awarded the MBE, a civilian honour, by Queen of the United Kingdom.

According to his Instagram post on October 29th, Purja or “Nims”, and his team reached the summit of Shisha Pangma at 8:58 AM local time. This was his 14th peak, and his team members were Mingma David Sherpa, Galjen Sherpa and Gesman Tamang.

Previously, South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho was the record holder, completing the summits in seven years, while Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka completed them in a little under eight years.

Purja climbed Annapurna in Nepal on April 23rd, Dhaulagiri in Nepal on May 12th, Kanchenjunga in Nepal on May 15th, Everest in Nepal on May 22nd, Lhotse in Nepal on May 22nd, Makalu in Nepal on May 24th, Nanga Parbat in Pakistan on July 3rd, Gasherbrum 1 in Pakistan on July 15th, Gasherbrum 2 in Pakistan on July 18th, K2 in Pakistan on July 24th, Broad Peak in Pakistan on July 26th, Cho Oyu in China on September 23rd, Manaslu in Nepal on September 27th, and finally Shishapangma in China on October 29th.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

United we conquer ! Here is to The A-team 🙌🏼 . .(Climbing team ) @mingma_david_sherpa , @gesmantamang , @geljen_sherpa_ @zekson_srpa ,Halung Dorchi . . . The journey of 14/7 has tested us all the way though at many levels. Together we have been through so much, we climbed not only as a team but as brothers with one sole goal to make the impossible possible pushing the human limitations to next level. Now, the BROTHERHOOD that we share between us is even STRONGER ! . . #trust #brotherhood #team . . 14/14 ✅ #14peaks7months #History . . #nimsdai #BremontProjectPossible ‬ #dedication #resilience #extremehighaltitudemountaineering #uksf #extremeoftheextreme #nolimit #silxo #ospreyeurope #antmiddleton #digi2al #adconstructiongroup #omnirisc #summitoxygen #inmarsat #thrudark #gurkhas #sherpas #elitehimalayanadventures #alwaysalittlehigher

A post shared by Nirmal Purja MBE – Nimsdai (@nimsdai) on

Apparently, he could’ve made better time had it not been for a few hiccups along the way—from being help up for permissions to climb in Tibet, to stretching out his Lhotse, Everest, and Makalu climbs to take a break. During his descent from Annapurna, Purja and his team rescued Malaysian climber Wui Kin Chin, who was not doing well at 7500m. On their descent of Kanchenjunga, Purja and his team gave up their oxygen to three climbers who had run out of their supply. While climbing Everest, he had to wait in line for hours, and ended up taking the viral photograph of the “traffic jam” on Everest.

Today, Nims gave a shout out to his teammates on Instagram, “United we conquer! Here is to The A-team! The journey of 14/7 has tested us all the way though at many levels. Together we have been through so much, we climbed not only as a team but as brothers with one sole goal to make the impossible possible pushing the human limitations to the next level. Now, the BROTHERHOOD that we share between us is even STRONGER!”

Apart from climbing all 14 of the world’s 8000m peaks in under 7 months, and partly due to this enormous feat, he also holds a few other records—most 8000m mountains in the spring season (climbing six), most 8000m mountains in the summer season (climbing five), fastest summit of the three highest mountains in the world—Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga, fastest summit of the five highest mountains in the world—Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu, fastest lower 8000ers, Gasherbrum 1, 2, and Broad Peak, and fastest higher 8000ers, consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in 48 hours (beats his own previous record of five days).

The backbone of the climbing industry in Nepal, sherpas are often overlooked and don’t get nearly as much international recognition as their comrades from the west. In Purja’s case, as his website mentions, the reason you may not have heard of him before is that he spent the last 16 years serving in the UK military. For more information on Purja, head over to projectimpossible.co.uk.

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