Join Us At the Western CO Climate Challenge

Apr 29, 2015 Features

Western Colorado Climate Challenge & Solar Fair

May 1 -3 in Paonia, Colorado
Hosted by: Climate Colorado and Solar Energy International


“Solving Colorado’s Climate Crisis through Rapid-Prototyping Change”

Sponsors include The Hive Paonia, Western Slope Conservation Center, Mountain West Strategies, and Community Office for Resource Efficiency

Tickets available here



Wednesday April 29, 2015

PrintThe Western Colorado Climate Challenge & Solar Fair will bring a full weekend of fun, exhibits, presentations, and hands on breakout sessions aimed at resolving the climate crisis.

“Climate Colorado is excited to bring this model to Western Colorado,” said Robert Castellino founder of the Colorado Climate Summit. “Involving area experts and partners, looking at regional issues and resources, this event applies rapid prototyping techniques to craft actionable plans for local change: we see this weekend as a historic opportunity to address the climate crisis by developing collaborative and on-the-ground solutions.”

The weekend opens with the Solar Fair at Solar Energy International that will include the launch of the Solarize North Fork Valley project, and closes with a special Sunday matinee showing of the acclaimed documentary Merchants of Doubt.

“The Solarize North Fork Valley project intends to focus resources, expertise and other incentives to help residents of the North Fork valley install more solar capacity on their businesses and homes,” said Kristen O’Brien with Solar Energy International.  “We are excited to bring together the launch of this much anticipated project with the Climate Challenge.  Both are all about moving past barriers and getting work done in communities.”

The conference “Solving Colorado’s Climate Crisis through Rapid-Prototyping Change” runs all day Saturday and Sunday morning, and focuses on issues specific to western Colorado communities and resources. Sunday afternoon is rounded out with field trips and the matinee.  Snacks, receptions, and Saturday lunch include local farm-fresh offerings and craft beverages.

At the heart of the Climate Challenge is the Switch 2020 Contract that sets a goal of cutting individual, business, and community carbon footprints to net zero and to cutting water consumption in half.  Presentations will orient participants to the issues at hand, and then breakout sessions will develop solutions and plans that will then be tested and reiterated through a rapid prototyping exercise led by skilled facilitators.   At the end of the event participants will be a part of team with an actionable plan to solve these problems.

“The Western Colorado Climate Challenge is a chance to make a difference on the Western Slope,” said event organizer Pete Kolbenschlag with Mountain West Strategies.  “We can no longer wait for the political system to respond, especially when Colorado loses out.  We are uniquely positioned to be a global leader in the new energy economy and a model for smarter resource use.  The purpose of the Climate Challenge is to help bring that transition about.”

Registration & tickets are required for the Saturday & Sunday conference. The Solar Fair is free and open to the public, and includes exhibits, live music by Brodie Kinder and the Killer Bees, Ky Burt and other special guests, and local refreshments. The Sunday (3pm) matinee showing of Merchants of Doubt, at Paonia’s Paradise Theatre, is open to the public for a $5 donation.

Learn more at

Saturday Plenaries:

Presentation: “Water, Western Colorado and Climate Change”

Panel: “Breaking Barriers, Creating Collaboration for Local Power Generation”

Breakout sessions and leaders:

Regional Collaboration for Local Generation

“Overcoming barriers to increasing local power generation”

John Gavan, board member Delta Montrose Electric Association

Rural Solarization

“How to bring more solar capacity to rural communities”

Kristen O’Brien and Ed Marston with Solar Energy International

Rivers & People Need Water- Gunnison River & Water Management in Drying West

“Taking action on water conservation in a drying and thirsty West”

Sarah Sauter with the Western Slope Conservation Center

Moving Colorado to Renewables and Minimizing Water Use

“Moving past policy and political impediments to facilitate the rapid transition of our energy and resource economies”

Robert Castellino with Climate Colorado and the founder of the Colorado Climate Summit


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