Two years ago we introduced the idea of onsite activism at the Burton US Open – the premiere snowboarding competition in the world and one of our favorite events of the season.
We had never asked our community to call their elected officials before, let alone from a wooden-constructed phone booth at the base of a halfpipe. Needless to say, we were unsure of what to expect. But after providing some background on the Clean Power Plan, environmental voting records for senators, contact information for said senators, a script asking these senators to support the CPP, and even flip phones, we were blown away when at the end of the week as nearly 300 visitors had made calls. This year, we were excited to head back to the Burton US Open, this time, upping our game by showing up with a real phone booth. As in, an actual phone booth. Remember those?
Something else that was different this year is the state of our current government and the uphill battle we now face in keeping climate change a priority. We anticipate President Trump will sign an Executive Order that would repeal the moratorium on coal leasing on public lands, allowing a few big companies to profit at our expense. Mining and burning coal on public lands accounts for 10% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Needless to say, we find this unacceptable. And so did the people who came by our tent.
Over the course of four days, hundreds of visitors placed calls to the Bureau of Land Management, urging them not to move forward should an Executive Order of this sort be signed.
During our time at the US Open, we were also fortunate to have two fundraisers take place. First, our partners Clif Bar donated $5 for every photo taken and posted at their tent over the course of the week. Additionally, new partners at the Vail Brewing Company hosted an afternoon happy hour, donating $1 per beer sold to POW during the entire day on Thursday. Thank you to both companies for the generous support and your commitment to fighting climate change!
An additional highlight of our week was witnessing POW Riders Alliance pro Elena Hight take 2nd in the halfpipe competition and fellow Riders Alliance pro Jamie Anderson take 2nd in Slopestyle. Congrats, ladies!
Lastly, but most importantly, we want to thank our partners Burton and POW board member Donna Carpenter, for including us in another incredible US Open and being such strong advocates and supporters of ours. We’re already looking forward to next year!