Climate action is all about community and collaboration. Diversity of people, perspectives, experiences, ideas, skills, worldviews and more, strengthen us and make us more resilient in the face of change. The more people that come together equitably and inclusively, the more we (and the planet) all win.
THE OUTDOORS AND CLIMATE MOVEMENT MUST BE INCLUSIVE TO ALL
DISRUPTIVE - Innovation can only come from thinking outside the box and exploring new areas with an open mind. So by confronting our biases, dropping our outdated thinking, and disrupting the status quo, we can reimagine a future that is just, resilient and sustainable.
CURIOSITY - Incorporating a diversity of insights by emphasizing Indigenous knowledge and other marginalized perspectives, will open up new doors to more innovative, effective, and just climate solutions.
JUSTNESS - Welcoming everyone (including people and voices who have previously been excluded and silenced) into the outdoor and climate movement, we will have a larger, more equitable community pushing for climate solutions that are designed for everyone.
POW Canada acknowledges that the climate crisis is a result of inequity, injustice and exploitation. The pervasive western culture valuing individualism, competitiveness, exclusiveness and exploitation of people and nature has driven the environmental degradation and inequality and has been pervasive in the outdoor industry. Culture, "the ideas, values, attitudes, customs, and social behaviour (including governance and justice systems) of a particular people or social group", is shaped by and for its community. We are at a turning point and aim to intentionally shift the culture surrounding outdoor recreation and climate action to reimagine how we think, relate and govern ourselves, creating a space that is inclusive to all the diverse ways of being, thinking and doing.
Many people have been excluded from outdoor recreation and lack access to nature due to prohibitive costs, gear, lack of knowledge to access or recreate safely and difficulty entering the outdoor recreation community. By welcoming more people in, exposing more people to nature, outdoor sports and the passionate communities around them, we'll have a larger and more diverse population connected to the outdoors. Beyond having more people realise all the benefits of outdoor recreation (including physical and mental health, connection to nature, fresh air, community cohesion), we'll have a wider array of expressions of culture and relationships with the environment, a deeper understanding of our outdoor spaces, land, water, species and climate, and cultivate climate solutions that work for everyone. Having all these voices, perspectives and experiences included in a way where everyone feels safe and accepted, we can learn more about the places we recreate and how to protect them.
With more people as part of the outdoor industry and climate movement we can incorporate a diversity of knowledge to find more effective climate solutions. From our multi-disciplinary science alliance, to uplifting Indigenous Knowledge and other marginalized perspectives, to incorporating lived experiences and local community knowledge will allow for the emergence of new climate solutions that are designed by and for everyone. All knowledge systems observe patterns in the world and use these patterns to find ways to relate to and interact with the world. Instead of placing one way of knowing above another, we can shift judgement to wonder, dropping our assumptions and biases to approach new ideas and perspectives with curiosity, seeking to understand and relate, building on each other with an interest in learning from and with others. There is no right answer, no one size fits all climate solution and instead people's perceptions often shape the outcome more so than the data. So we need to include insight from people who understand their local ecosystems, their local community values, their local social and political systems to figure out what solutions are going to work where.
As we advocate for climate solutions we want to unite people and ultimately make sustainable behaviours and choices just a basic part of peoples lives. It shouldn't be impossible to power your home on renewable energy or more expensive to choose local healthy foods or more difficult to use public transit. We don't want it to be an eco-flex to choose organic food or show your elite status by driving an EV. In Europe for instance, the accessibility of trains means it's not an issue of class or personal concern for the environment driving the decision-making - its easier and cheaper to take the train to the hill - and everyone does it! While sustainability is part of our identity here at POW we want sustainability to be ingrained into the infrastructure, the investment, and the day to day life of Canadians so that we can drop the identity politics and go skiing. Climate change and the environment isn't a left wing issue and over 80% of Canadian conservatives are concerned about climate change. We aim to depoliticize the climate movement, making it inclusive of all perspectives so that we can find solutions that work for everyone. Climate solutions that protect nature and promote a regenerative economy can create equitable communities so that all Canadians thrive together.
We have the power to intentionally choose the culture we create. By creating a space that's open, safe and accessible for all people, allows room for thinking differently, and depoliticizing hot topics, we can address climate change and create long-term solutions that address the underlying drivers of climate change. Culture change, like climate change is messy, complicated and complex but greater complexity, like greater diversity are key to creating positive change.