News briefs: March 2, 2023


Regenerative Earth panel 

Farmers, public officials and water experts will gather for a panel on regenerative land use on March 8 to discuss practices to reduce carbon dioxide levels and save water. The event, organized by CU Boulder, is free and open to the public. 

“Industrial agricultural practices have reduced the carbon-holding capacity of our soils, but we can regenerate them, and farmers are doing this right here in Boulder County and along the Front Range,” says Rebecca Dickson, a professor at CU Boulder. “This is inspiring because any piece of land can help us reverse climate change by taking in carbon dioxide — including our own backyards.”

Guests on the panel include Nick DiDomenico, co-founder of Drylands Agroecology Research, Brett KenCairn, senior policy advisor for climate and resilience with the City of Boulder, Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd, director of marketing and social responsibility at Denver Botanic Gardens, Boulder County Commissioner Ashley Stolzmann, and Damien Thompson, professor of anthropology, sociology and criminal justice at Regis University. 

Event information:
1:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday,
March 8, Kittredge Central Hall, 2480 Kittredge Loop Drive,
Boulder. Free

State Legislature passes bill to increase access to mental health treatment 

Colorado is ranked as one of the worst states nationally in its prevalence of mental health and access to treatment. A new bill headed to Gov. Polis’ desk aims to change that. 

The Licensed Psychologist Prescriptive Authority Bill (HB 23-1071)would allow psychologists to prescribe mental health medications. Currently, a patient must meet with a doctor or psychiatrist to have a prescription issued. Because of this, some patients must “choose between large out-of-pocket costs or waiting months for the medication they need,” according to the Colorado House Democrats in a press release. 

“Allowing specially-trained psychologists to prescribe medication that best fits their patient’s needs will improve treatment options, reduce costs, and increase access to life-saving care for Coloradans with mental illness,” says Rep. Judy Amabile, one of the bill’s sponsors. 

If signed into law, licensed psychologists must obtain an additional master’s degree in psychopharmacology, pass a national board exam, and complete 750 hours of practicum work in order to prescribe medications.  

Changing compost policy

A1 Organics, the only large-scale compost facility serving the Front Range, will only accept food scraps, yard and plant trimmings, and three gallon CMA approved compostable bags starting April 1. The organics recycling company will no longer accept “non-traditional compostables” like paper towels, shredded paper and napkins, or packaging and service ware like cups, utensils and plates labeled as compostable.

In a Feb. 27 press release, the company said the policy change was motivated by “certified” compostable items not composting fully or quickly enough, contamination impacting resale quality, and how accepting packaging materials makes them unable to sell compost to organic farmers.

This policy change comes after A1 started turning loads away from its facility and implemented a contamination fee on waste haulers due to contamination last fall (News, “Black gold: shifting to quality compost,” Sept. 22, 2022).