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Former CO governor discusses alternative energy, climate change at book signing

Each political side in the U.S. has their own ideas on how to fight climate change, but former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter claims that one side alone cannot provide a solution.

Ritter held a book signing at the Colorado State University Wednesday, April 6.  Ritter’s book is titled “Powering Forward: What Everyone Should Know About America’s Energy Revolution.”

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The word “revolution” helps capture the time element of needing to do something, and doing it quickly, Ritter said.  

Ritter hopes the book will lead people toward finding a common ground on a national energy vision. However, it is becoming more difficult in an increasingly polarized political environment.

Meanwhile, the younger generation is becoming more exposed to this polarization based on how it consumes media.

Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter responds to an audience question renewable energy in Colorado. Photo credit Neall Denman
Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter responds to an audience question renewable energy in Colorado. (Photo credit Neall Denman.)

As a father of four kids, Ritter said the millennial generation is susceptible to the echo chamber, in which it is only listening to things that it finds most resonating.  

There’s little chance to finding solutions as long as people continue to seek out media that reinforces their worldview and neglect to listen to the opposition, Ritter said.  

“If that’s the case, we’re stuck,” he said. “If you’re a Bernie Sanders supporter and you only listen to things that make you feel better about being a Bernie Sanders supporter or a Hillary supporter, or a Donald Trump supporter then, we’re not going to get to a place where we have … a meaningful dialogue about what we do and how we make progress.”

When it comes to determining the future of environmental initiatives, many of the participants agreed that the election will be a large determining factor.

Ritter’s book is a “very interesting, very important book” that Thomas Borch, environmental soil chemistry professor who attended the book signing, said he hopes “will help us guide the development of … green, sustainable energy forms in a way that allows both parties to buy into it so we can actually see some change.”  

“The biggest block to … development in respect to green energy and sustainable energy would be if we had a GOP presidential nominee or candidate,” Borch said.

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But, not everyone agrees.

“I think that, no matter who gets elected, the Republican Party is a party of free markets and, currently, right now there’s a growing demand for alternative energy. And, so, with the deregulation that will come with the election of a Republican president, I believe that it will be a boon to the alternative energy industry,” said Josh Williams, treasurer for the CSU College Republicans.

Two different political approaches to one scientific and political problem — the solution to which could lie somewhere in between. 

Collegian Reporter Eleonora Yurkevich can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @EleonoraWriter.

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