Protect Our Winters arrives in Australia
Most Wild readers will be keenly aware of the likely coming impacts of climate change on the areas that we know and love. A recent report from climate scientists in Tasmania highlights yet again that our alpine areas will be greatly affected by global warming. The report “Vulnerability of Tasmania’s Natural Environment to Climate Change” says that increased shrub and tree invasion could lead to significantly transformed alpine ecosystems and that the alpine areas could warm faster than, and be more affected by increased fire risk, than surrounding low land regions. Many readers who understand the need to rein in greenhouse emissions are already active in or supportive of a range of environmental groups.
So why does Australia need a new group focused on climate change?
As we know, tens of thousands of Australians visit our Alps in winter – to ski or board either in resorts or out in the backcountry. Add to this the snow shoers, the summer walkers, the families who want to give their kids the snow experience and you have hundreds of thousands of people. Yet this broad and diverse group does not as yet have a focus for action on this most pressing of issues which will impact directly on the mountains we all love.
This is where Protect Our Winters comes in. POW is a global environmental foundation that was established in 2007 by legendary professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones. What makes it different is that it specifiaclly seeks to mobilise the ‘snow sports’ community.
Although it is strongest in North America, it is now broadening its reach into the Southern hemisphere by opening local chapters in Australia, Argentina and Chile.
POW is a non-profit organisation dedicated to reversing the global warming crisis by uniting and mobilising the global winter sports community. Its genesis came from Jeremy Jones seeing first-hand the impact of climate change on mountain environments.
At the time it was established Jones said “POW was founded on the idea that if we harness our collective energy and put forth a focused effort, the winter sports community can have a direct influence on minimizing the damage that’s been done and ensure that winters are here for generations behind us.” It works with resorts, outdoor companies, businesses, community groups, schools and outdoor interest groups as well as a growing number of individuals.
If we are to rise to the challenge posed by climate change we can’t just have small scale personal change. We must have this as a start – all the little things that make a difference – but we must also tackle the bigger issues – like where our energy comes from and how our governments act on climate change, and the type of economy we have. We will need many types of groups and movements to achieve this. POW is simply one more piece in the big picture response we will need and seeks to directly engage with that part of the community who loves the mountains and winter snow sports. We hope that over time we will be able to mobilise many new people to help slow climate change and hence help protect our alpine regions.
We are still developing our plans for POW in Australia, and would welcome your involvement and ideas. You can find details on our work here:
Or contact Cam Walker. 0419 338 047 e: firstname.lastname@example.org