Applying mindfulness and living systems principles to Boulder governance.
Tapping into shared wisdom and bringing forth real solutions to actively improve ecological health and social well-being.
3 Pillars of Regeneration Boulder
Restoring the diversity of humans in Boulder by supporting a more welcoming and inclusive culture and ensuring we are ensuring fair access to systems, services, and shelter in Boulder.
Restoring the biodiversity of our landscape by incentivizing ecological regeneration projects in backyards as well as supporting community regeneration projects in open spaces.
Refreshing the infrastructure in Boulder to be more efficient and sustainable; better public transit, better bike lanes, more renewable energy, and more energy-efficient buildings.
Leveling up the technology systems used by the city to support greater efficiency in the processes of governance, decision-making, engagement, and more.
Supporting a healthier relationship between the community and government, allowing for greater trust and transparency, and fostering more effective engagement to better utilize the wisdom present here.
Strengthening relations between us and our neighboring cities, ensuring we are working together to address these systemic issues like homelessness and the climate crisis.
Hi there, I'm Aaron. Some of my friends also call me AG. You can call me what you’d like :).
I have a background in technology, having worked most recently at Google as a software engineer. I also hold a master's degree in Ecopsychology from Naropa University and a tremendous passion for natural solutions, being informed by life, and moving to benefit life.
While I’ve spent many years building technology, I’ve spent even more years traveling around this country, learning about myself and our culture here, and connecting with many other people passionate about a better world.
In all my travels, there’s no place I found that I feel so deeply in love with and fell so deeply at home in, as Boulder. This community, this city, and this land is truly remarkable to me, and I wish to do all that I can to work together with all of us to help make it better.
I want to see Boulder lead the way in a true balance between humans and nature. We need to be more mindful of our impact on the environment and move with greater urgency to practice regeneration throughout our landscapes. And we also need to be more mindful of the needs of our people, especially the most vulnerable. By moving with care for the life that is present here and seeking always to enhance the well-being of the whole of Boulder, we can pave a powerful pathway forward into the future, and be an inspiration to many.
My Vision of a Regenerative Boulder
A regenerative Boulder is a city where social and ecological health are interwoven across all systems and at all levels. Here are some key characteristics:
A doughnut economy, operating within planetary boundaries while meeting people's needs.
Community wealth building supporting local collaboration and local business.
Operating on 100% renewable energy, with highly efficient buildings.
Clean transportation; a walk & bike first city with effective efficient public transit.
Closed-loop regenerative agriculture; increasing food production and enhancing composting.
Engaged citizens with a deep sense of community belonging.
Transparent governance that people trust is working for the collective good.
A culture of creativity, inclusion, justice, and resilience.
Protected natural systems, native plants and animals, flourishing and thriving.
Fostering a truly regenerative Boulder requires reimagining what is possible and bringing that vision to life through collaboration over time.
My Views on Collaboration and Engagement
I can think of few things more fundamental to progress than being able to effectively communicate and collaborate. It seems to me that much of what holds our governing systems back is an inability or unwillingness to keep an open mind to fresh perspectives. This not only hinders our capacity to understand solutions that might actually work, but it also tends to place us in opposition to our fellow humans, hindering our ability to collaborate.
I wish to bring an emphasis on collaboration, communication and group dynamics. These days, between neuroscience, living systems theory, and the application of insights from wisdom traditions such as Buddhism, we understand a lot about what allows a group to effectively thrive. While we have this knowledge, it’s rare to see it applied, especially in our governments. As a part of City Council, I would make it a priority to apply this knowledge to enable us to work far more effectively to make decisions that benefit our city.
It’s also vital that we apply these same learnings to how we stay engaged with our populous. I would advocate for more effective systems of engagement, and to use technology wisely to allow for more direct human to human connection rather than distract from it.
On The Issues
In the interest of helping Boulder to be home to a greater diversity of people, we need to look at the current lack of equity and access to housing in our city and we need to target our efforts towards bringing in groups that are not currently represented. Solutions that are focused purely on densification fail to address the lack of equity that is already woven into our culture. I think the best solution is increasing supply through intelligent densification with an emphasis on permanently affordable housing for both low and middle-income families, and targeting access in these programs towards groups that are historically underrepresented in Boulder.
We need to gradually move towards decreasing car dependency in the city, and support more effective alternative solutions such as public transit and biking. We need to make it a conscious choice to own a car in Boulder, by using programs such as residential parking permits, ensuring equity and flexibility are woven into the system so that we don’t accidentally exclude people from Boulder. And we need to use funds from this program to support more effective transit solutions, such as protected bike lanes and better public transit. Our public transit system also needs to be reimagined, allowing for greater flexibility for different lifestyles; such as direct door-to-door shuttles that get people where they need to go and that use technology to effectively and efficiently create routes on the go.
Our unhoused populations are extremely vulnerable and are sending a signal for systemic issues present in our society. It’s vital that we don’t become too calloused and hardened, and focus too deeply on our own personal convenience while ignoring the very real call for help that this reflects.
It’s also vital that we not become so afraid of using strength and force that we fall into coddling and enablement, and end up with an ever-growing drug epidemic on our streets.
Holistic solutions to this problem will entail building out better services, including more public restrooms and day and night shelters, to address some of the major sanitation issues and ensure there are effective ways for people to get the help they need. Further, we need more direct outreach with mental health-trained professionals to better understand the people’s needs and connect them with services. It is vital that we keep in place the camping ban, but we need to be much more mindful about the ways we enforce it, to ensure we are not wasting resources by shuffling around the problem without actually helping the people who need it.
It’s essential that we recognize the existential threat that climate change and the biodiversity crisis are presenting to us; as temperatures warm up and more species go extinct. While shifting our transportation systems and moving towards a more efficient and renewable infrastructure are all incredibly important, I think the most important thing we can do in Boulder is support ecological regeneration at all levels. This means creating incentive structures that motivate more people to plant gardens and increase biodiversity in their own backyards. This means ensuring that our wildlife is protected, particularly predators that play a key role in the ecosystem. This means playing a more active role in ecological restoration in our open spaces, bringing new levels of innovation to reforestation projects by bringing in local experts, and creating more jobs for people to help tend to our ecology.
My Priorities from Day One
You might think with all these big visions and ideas, my first step will be working to put all of this in motion. And you would be wrong. The truth of the matter is that Boulder already has amazing experts on staff who are working diligently on many solutions that are very in line with the ideas I am presenting here. I think it is vital that we support the city moving effectively in many very promising directions that have already been set in motion, and so that would be my first priority, to join and help.
In supporting staff, I would be connecting more directly with our city climate initiatives team as well as our communication and engagement team, and I would learn about what’s happening, and see if I can lend any of my expertise as well as my network and connections to help them to work more effectively. I would also do a deeper dive into exploring our technology systems we are using throughout the city and explore what things I might be able to set in motion to help us use technology to govern more effectively.
One of my biggest priorities from day one would be communicating. I want to help you, as the people of Boulder, have a clearer understanding of what is happening in the city, and how you can effectively participate. I also want to begin to work actively to build relationships with our neighboring cities to foster more regional collaboration on these systemic issues.
While I think many of my ideas are good ones, I don’t intend to move forward assuming they are flawless. My intention for sharing these ideas is to let them be a place to enter into the conversation, and my intention will be to work with staff, work with the council, and work with the community, to explore what kind of solutions will truly support humans and non-humans alike here in our beautiful home of Boulder, and beyond.
Getting to day one will require solid momentum moving into November 7th.
I hope that you will consider supporting me and engaging with me to get us there.
You can find a donation link below to support my campaign.
If you would like to be in communication, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org