Back in 2007, professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones noticed that more and more ski areas where he’d ridden lines were closing because of lack of snow. It was clear that something had to be done. What if the outdoor and snowsports community could be targeted in a focused way and rallied to take action on climate change? Athletes, ski areas, tourism regions, outdoor brands – everyone who’s passionate about winter. And so, Jeremy Jones founded Protect Our Winters.
From its initial inception as a simple idea, POW has grown into a worldwide network with more than 130,000 supporters. In 2017, Protect Our Winters was established in Germany and 13 other countries. Educational projects on the subject of climate change are as much a part of its activities as its commitment to campaigning for a steadfast, environment-focused climate policy.
The main aim of POW is to inspire and equip the outdoor community and industry to take positive action on climate change, and to accelerate the transition to a carbon neutral society. There are an estimated 60 million skiers and snowboarders in Europe alone – one third of those eligible to vote in the last European elections – and therefore a force to be reckoned with. But because individual actions alone are not enough, POW is working with its partners to promote the use of renewable energy in the economy and sensible carbon pricing that incentivizes the use of clean energy. It’s a strategy that’s wholly aligned with our own efforts at deuter to reduce our carbon footprint. After all, the production of textiles generates more greenhouse gases than all international flights and shipping combined.
A greener way to hit the slopes
Sustainable travel is another of POW’s key objectives. For most of us, accessing winter sports involves traveling to a ski area in our own combustion-engine-powered vehicle. We fully support POW in its call to action for a change in how we travel. It’s all about making the shift to public transportation. What’s known as the POW Pass is designed to make the cultural shift easier. Teaming up with train, bus and travel providers, as well as winter sports destinations, the POW Pass has some attractive offers for environmentally friendly travel. There are also some innovative ride-sharing projects available.
Spreading the word about climate change
One of POW’s biggest concerns is to draw attention to the consequences of climate change in the mountains. To this end, POW works closely together with professional athletes as well as scientists and artists. German author Ana Zierner and photogrpaher Christian Bock, for example, have spent years on their project "Gesichter im Eis" (Faces in the Ice), documenting the changes to the biggest glaciers in the Alps. It is estimated that most of these iceflows will have disappeared by the end of the 21st century. Their story is just one of many stories featured in the POW Blog. Regular contributions on how we can all live more sustainably and make our activities greener include helpful tips on how to take action today to protect the climate.
The changing face of our mountains isn’t the only change we’ll be witnessing in the mountains. According to scientific predictions the effects of the climate crisis and rising temperatures will be far-reaching and more complex: A decline in tourism and mountain economies, destruction of existing infrastructures, empty hotel rooms, unemployment, dangerous and frequent rockfall, drying up of mountain waterways that once irrigated fields in the valley and powered hydroelectric plants.
According to the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, we are likely to overshoot our target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels within the next 20 years, even with the most stringent climate protection measures in place. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the report is nothing less than "a code red for humanity”. It’s high time we acted. There are many ways that you can help support POW in its efforts. Check out all the information on the POW website about climate action and spread the word. Donate to POW. Become a POW member or start volunteering. Find out more here.
Imagine if every single person who loves winter sports put as much passion and psych into climate protection as they do into a bluebird powder day. It’s an image that’s filled with hope. And it’s why we’re supporting POW.