Protect Our Winters x SSC
This past Wednesday, we were honored to host Protect Our Winters and Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold at UVM to talk all things climate activism and ski industry. While it is easy to think that you have all the facts about the changing climate and about how to make a difference, you’ve got it wrong. You can always, ALWAYS learn more.
Alex talked to us about how to write a letter to your representative to oppose a bill, about what it’s like living in Utah, where climate policy falls short, and about how he, as an avid snowboarder, found it important to join the coalition.
Protect Our Winters knows how important it is to recycle, to ride your bike instead of drive when you can, and how to reduce your carbon footprint overall. But the organization cares more about how we go above and beyond our immediate lives, because that’s where all the biggest changes will be made: POW cares about getting our politicians stepping up to the plate and making huge transitions in clean energy.
In Vermont, the outdoor industry is 5.5 billion dollars of the overall economy. In some other states, it’s much more than that. In recent years, politicians have recognized that we are valuable to the economy. In the future, if the ski industry fails, the economy as a whole will take a big blow.
Check out this oped from the New York Times a few months back about ski industry and POW
While POW wants to indeed keep winters cold and “Make America Deep Again,” they say that their mission is much more than that. Climate change is going to affect the entire world, and we need to recognize how we can mitigate the changes before it’s too late.
Protecting Our Winters is a great starting point, though, for a conversation. In the tumultuous nature of politics in this country right now, it can feel impossible to even engage in political conversations with someone who has different views than you. But on Wednesday, Alex emphasized the importance of conversations.
One of his best friends is on the opposite end of the political spectrum from him, but he said they both love touring. One day, Alex asked him to go for a tour in the Utah backcountry. They talked about kids and future generations, they talked about economics, but they also talked about how much they loved what they were doing together: touring and snowboarding. This was the opening of a conversation about the need for clean energy and climate policy to keep the snow falling. Alex said he left that conversation feeling like maybe, just maybe, his friend’s perspective shifted even a little bit. And those are the sort of victories we should strive to have in our own lives.
The visit from Alex, Lindsay, and Jake was one of the most influential talks I have heard in a long time. They didn’t throw a bunch of frightening statistics, time-lapse images of retreating glaciers and stranded polar bears at us, making us feel hopeless. Instead, they gave us tools to make a difference. And not the “go home and turn off all the lights you’re not using” elementary way of making a difference. They gave us a number to text to stop a bill from passing in the legislature. They gave us a template to write a letter to our representatives. Real solutions to big problems.