The vision statement in Durango’s comprehensive plan, written by Durango residents, reads: “Durango is an authentic and diverse community living in harmony with its natural environment, pursuing economic, environmental and social sustainability!” When more than 800 residents proposed and demonstrated support for a bag ordinance, this vision statement inspired city councilors to vote for it 4-1. While disposable bags do not make up a significant portion of our waste stream, they are a symbol for our disposable economy. As a community, we are instead envisioning a future where goods are durable, high quality and reusable.
More than two years ago, Erich Bussian, at that time a board member of the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado, initiated the movement to create a bag ordinance. Erich was a Colorado native, loved the magnificent outdoors available to all of us living in this state and reveled spending time in the mountains. Yet, he was also deeply concerned about the growth and waste affecting future generations. He used to tell us that when he was born 50-plus years ago, there were 1.5 million people living in Colorado while there are now nearly 5.5 million. Growing up, he did not even know about disposable plastic bags, and now Colorado alone uses 2.8 billion of them. These drastic changes made him passionate about passing on a clean economy and environment to future generations. Although Erich is no longer with us, we agree with him that Durango cares for its environment and has a worthy vision for its future! Vote for the bag ordinance!
Erika Brown, Lisa Mastny, Elsa Jagniecki, Anna Peterson, Frank Lockwood, Katie Waller, Maya Kane, Werner Heiber and Dan Olson, Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado board of directors