Contributions made to Protect Our Winters are directed towards specific programs that meet our mission and have a marked impact on climate change. Over 80% of every dollar raised is placed towards our programs.
A key component of our mission is ensuring that the next generation is educated and prepared to lead the fight against climate change. In partnership with The North Face and Alliance For Climate Education (ACE) this program is targeted to high schools, leveraging the power of a pro athlete to inspire and motivate young kids. This impactful multi-media event provides a platform for any athlete to educate young students about climate change solutions, through personal experiences while inspiring them to be the next generation of climate leaders.
“It’s been an awesome, really powerful experience to have a way to connect to the youth in my community. It’s true that knowledge is power” – Pro snowboarder, Nick Visconti.
Working with POW, athletes can lead this presentation at their local community or hometown school, focusing on their own personal stories and actions. POW handles all event logistics to make it very easy for the athlete, including having an ACE educator on-site during every presentation.
Since January 2011, we’ve reached 15,000 students nationwide at 36 schools, and counting.
Coal is killing snow…that’s a fact. Mining and burning coal is the dirtiest and most environmentally destructive process to generate power – the resulting CO2 has a direct negative effect on climate change. Our mountain regions are in the cross-hairs of climate change and there are many coal hot spots in the backyards of our most famous mountain communities.
This program builds awareness throughout the snow sports community of the most pressing coal issues in our mountain regions to create a groundswell of community activism and action, to help transition away from coal in these areas to more renewable and clean alternative.
In addition to regular outreach to snow sports enthusiasts, we’ve led direct action against coal hotspots, met over 10,000 skiers/riders at 15 community events, published op-eds, signed petitions, held local rallies and sent letters directly to those responsible for dirty coal projects in Alaska and the lower 48.
We continually mobilize our membership community against numerous high profile initiatives and use our collective voice to heighten awareness and effect change at the federal and local/community level.
For example, as representatives of a 21 million member community and $66 billion snow sports industry, we feel that it’s critical to be heard in Washington to offset the million of dollars being spent by the oil and coal lobby. We lead snow sports coalitions to Washington as needed to meet with lawmakers and urge them to support clean energy legislation.
For example, in September, 2011, a group us that included Gretchen Bleiler, Jeremy Jones, Chris Davenport and Aspen Skiing Corporation’s, Auden Schendler delivered a letter to Capitol Hill, signed by over 500 professional athletes, corporations and other influentials to protect the EPA and the Clean Air Act’s ability to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. This effort has led to over 1.2 million media impressions in outlets such as ESPN, USA Today, The Hill, NPR, Transworld Business and The Aspen Times.
In Fall 2012, in partnership with the NRDC, we released a report called “Climate Impacts on the Winter Sports Economy in the US”. The first of its kind, the report details the economic impact of a low-snow winter in key winter tourism-dependent states. The report will be hand distributed to respective Senators on Capitol Hill this winter to show them a different perspective from what they’re to seeing, and the true cost of climate change.
We continually educate and mobilize our community throughout the year and support local community environmental initiatives. We work closely with our local supporters to raise awareness, engage their community and take significant action.
In Spring 2012, we worked 350.org and others in the Aspen, CO area to successfully engage our supporters to urge the Aspen Chamber of Commerce to resign from the US Chamber of Commerce, an organization that represents small business, yet does not support climate legislation.
With our resort partners, we raise funds throughout the year and re-distribute them each Spring to local resort community programs that have measurable results.
At its core, Protect Our Winters is an athlete-led community, within which athletes are a powerful leverage point. As a high profile athlete concerned about climate change, athletes can impact our entire community and industry with incredible effectiveness through education, activism and leading by example. Our priority is to provide them with a platform to do so.
The POW Riders Alliance is a community of professional athletes committed to environmental leadership. Major change depends on not just the the message, but the messenger as well. So, whether it’s meeting with young students, national media or Senators in Washington, DC., professional athletes have a unique, personal perspective on climate change and an incredible reach and influence. It’s our goal to provide that platform for the winter athletes, enabling them become strong environmental activists by influencing the winter community, speaking to young students anywhere, arranging media opportunities for them and inviting them to Washington use their global influence and leverage for positive change.