GROUPS WE SUPPORT: Colorado Environmental Coalition
For nearly five decades the Colorado Environmental Coalition (CEC) has championed a wide range of conservation issues all over the state. Today, the CEC performs many important functions including preserving undisturbed wild places, promoting clean energy, protecting and restoring rivers, exploring sustainable land use in urban areas, lobbying state legislature on conservation issues and educating citizens on the importance of their efforts. Of the CEC, Black Diamond's President and CEO Peter Metcalf said, "All of us at Black Diamond Equipment share a deep sense of inspiration and appreciation for what the Colorado Environmental Coalition does on behalf of the state of Colorado and the people of the United States. Their efforts to unite Coloradans to protect their natural heritage and quality of life are critical components to Colorado's outlook for achieving long-term economic success."
On May 23, 2012, Metcalf was honored at the CEC's Rebel with a Cause Gala 2012. We caught up with CEC Development Director Beka Wilson on the eve of the event to discuss the organization and their choice to honor Metcalf.
The CEC has been around for quite some time. Can you explain how it came to be?
The CEC started life in 1965 as the Colorado Open Space Council. The national Wilderness Act was signed into law in 1964 and the COSC grew out of the realization that Colorado would benefit greatly from this new law. In 1984, COSC changed its name to CEC to better reflect the new focuses of the organization.
How have the goals of the organization evolved?
CEC, and it's predecessor COSC, was originally just about designating wilderness in Colorado. However, over the years, it became obvious that there are other environmental issues prevalent in our state and that we had to remain nimble to meet the new challenges affecting our state's natural heritage. Over the 47 years we have been around, CEC organically morphed from a sole focus to working on pretty much every statewide environmental issue in Colorado, including water quality and conservation, energy (both oil and gas reform and the promotion of renewable energy), policy work at the State Capitol and others. We haven't forgotten our roots, however. Wilderness and public lands protection is still a big part of what we do.
Currently, what is the most pressing issue for the CEC?
Over the course of our existence as an organization the need to protect our wild lands and places for future generations has always been constant. Over the past ten years the general public's realization of the affects of climate change have led us to prioritize reducing air pollutions and pushing for renewable energy, in addition to the issue areas we have focused on for decades.
Why did the CEC choose to honor Metcalf at the "Rebel with a Cause Gala 2012?"
We admire and want to share Peter's accomplishments and ambitions with the Colorado conservation community. We consider him a leader when it comes to highlighting the importance of keeping the environment in mind when we're talking about economic stimulus and growth.
How important for the CEC is support from companies like Black Diamond?
One of our main goals is to show how Colorado's natural heritage benefits everyone in our state in a variety of ways. Support from companies like Black Diamond shows that outdoor activity, whatever it might be, creates jobs and provides tourism money for local communities as well as the state.
For more information on the Colorado Environmental Coalition or to make a donation, click here.