Words by: Izzy Lynch
Photos by: Angela Percival
Donate $50CAD or more to POW Canada this Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019, to be entered for the chance to win one of two Arc’teryx Whiteline outfits. Arc’teryx will match all donations on this day up to a total $60,000CAD.
Chances are, if you are reading this blog you love being outdoors. You might ski, or climb, or hike, or run, commute to work on your bike, or simply walk your dog in the forest. However you do it- you appreciate breathing fresh air and connecting with the natural world around you.
As a professional skier, I have a deep appreciation for the mountainous environment that I live and work in. But, despite how much I love nature and the outdoors, it has become increasingly obvious in recent years that my lifestyle is deeply paradoxical for our environment. It is impossible to deny that glaciers are receding, snowpack is dwindling, forests are burning and temperatures are rising due to travel, fossil fuel consumption and production and consumption of goods – things that I contribute to on a daily basis in my life and work.
This is a contradiction that I have spent many hours trying to justify. How can I reconcile my carbon intensive lifestyle with my desire to take action against climate change?
In May of this year I joined Protect Our Winters Canada as the Program Director. Originally started in 2007 in the United States by snowboarder Jeremy Jones, POW seeks to unite and organize the outdoor industry to advocate for policy solutions to climate change.
POW was initiated in Canada in 2018 by fellow Arc’teryx skier Greg Hill, and thanks to a passionate group of athletes and board members, membership has grown to close to 7000 in one year. We have partnered with the top brands in the outdoor industry and have connected with an incredible ambassador team of more than forty accomplished professional athletes across a variety of sports and disciplines.
As the Program Director I oversee the programs that help POW achieve its greater mission, to turn passionate outdoor enthusiasts into effective climate advocates.
We do this through three strategic pillars:
Educating high school students about climate change and how to take action through our Hot Planet Cool Athletes Program.
Advocating on the impact of climate change on the Canadian outdoor industry by connecting with industry leaders in business, high profile athletes, politicians and bureaucrats in Canada.
Inspiring a national membership base to take action through brand partners, regional chapters and high-profile athlete ambassadors.
Our organization, athletes and partners are no strangers to accusations of hypocrisy. Some believe, unless you have reduced your carbon footprint to zero you cannot speak publicly about environmentalism. We are not the only environmentalists to face this criticism and we are committed to doing the hard work of acknowledging our own privilege and contradictions in our mission. We are calling for a movement based on Progress over Perfection. Change is messy – we all know that. Every action, however big or small, is important and significant. Everyone, no matter what point they are at in the journey to reduce their impact on the environment- can make a difference.
The ripple effect of positive individual action has been proven time and time again. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is an incredible example of how one single action by a single individual can result in a record-setting global movement.
Working with influential partner brands like Arc’teryx, athlete ambassadors and regional chapters to capture the attention of the 70% of Canadians who participate in outdoor activities and 67% of Canadians have climate change as a top concern is one of the most powerful ways we can inspire individual action.
If there is anything that my career in mountains has taught me- it is that small steps get you to the top of big mountains. The journey to reach our biggest goals is never straightforward or easy. Mistakes are made, new challenges present themselves constantly and we often meet naysayers along the way. But with time, tenacity and teamwork each singular action we take towards our goal can amount to achieving great things.
Become a member of POW Canada, join a regional chapter, and learn more about Hot Planet, Cool Athletes at https://protectourwinters.ca.
POW Canada X Arc’teryx
Terms and Conditions
No purchase necessary. One entry per donor and per email address. Donation must be of $50CAD value or greater to receive an entry. Open to legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) and the 50 United States, who are of the age of majority, as well as residents of Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic, Findland, Netherlands, and Japan. Some restrictions apply. Contest is open between 12am to 11:59pm on December 3,2019. Two winners will be drawn by POW Canada at random following contest closing. Prize fulfillment from Arc’teryx Headquarters by December 15, 2019.
Prizes: Two Arc’teryx ski outfits* available to be won. Selection will be based on availability of stock at that time. *includes Gore-Tex Whiteline Jacket of the winner’s choice, Atom LT hoody, Gore-Tex Whiteline Pants