Protect Our Winters
I’m not in Reno, Missoula, or Grand Junction to physically join the marches demanding climate action to support Protect Our Winters advocacy. But believe me, I’m there in spirit. Living in Northern California, it’s really hard to view the environment and change in climate without a doomsday perspective, especially between the months of May through December. The combination of historic fire seasons paired with the bark beetle epidemic have left our forests devastated and decimated. In communities all across the state, the growing homeless population has resulted in the few green spaces adjacent to urban areas spoiled with human feces and trash. There are fewer and fewer locations in California that are not tainted by humans.
In a heavily populated state like California, the rapid climate change is impacting the the safety of people living in rural and non-rural areas more than ever. Some climate experts are predicting Sacramento will have a climate similar to Tucson, Arizona by the end of the century. Ten years ago this prediction was unfathomable, but at the current rate of change I have no doubt of its accuracy. It’s seriously mind boggling that a large percentage of the population denies climate change is warming the earth at alarming rates. I guess the problem is the majority of folks are not skiers and have not experienced the compounding reduction of snow over the years. Maybe these folks will wake the fuck up when there is extreme droughts followed by extreme weather, including flooding, lack of clean drinking water, and food shortages. But then it will be too late.
Making Lifestyle Changes to Make a Difference
We committed to making lifestyle changes to ensure our grandchildren can experience skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains as I did growing up. My individual lifestyle changes are only a drop in the bucket, but if everyone embraces their inner hippie, maybe we could see real change. A few of the steps Trish and I have taken to reduce our global footprint include:
- Choosing reusable kitchen products to eliminate waste from paper towels, plastic bags, etc.
- No longer eating meat from farmed animals
- Buying used products from thrift stores, estate sales, and garage sales before buying new from box retail or the internet
- Growing more of our own food in our own backyard
- Biking to work and using public transportation as much as possible
We continuously try to improve, but our actions that contribute most to climate change are related to transportation. The freedom to be wherever I want when I want is negatively impacting the environment the most. I drive my 4X4 Jeep or Van to the mountains or ocean almost every weekend. I can’t imagine the carbon footprint of a lifetime of transportation to the outdoor activities I love, activities I hope future generations can enjoy as well. I find it ironic skiers protest climate change when the majority of this group drives gas guzzling vehicles and travels around the world on jets to do the sport they love — no matter the cost. (Yes pun intended)
Consumers need to demand clean, environmentally friendly products from corporations at reasonable cost. What we don’t need is corporations using sustainability as a marketing scheme to charge more for a new line of “clean” products that only the upper-middle class and rich can afford. If the majority of the population cannot afford to be sustainable, what is the point? When will North America demand real public transportation to reduce carbon emissions from personal vehicles? Trending towards electric cars sounds great, but is strip mining for elements to support lithium ion batteries worth it? So many tough issues, but at some point Americans will have to make lifestyle changes and vote for politicians who focus on the environmental challenges of our imminent future.
As skiers and snowboarders: what lifestyle changes are you making to protect your winter? I know I’m not doing enough, but I’m continuously trying to improve.