Collaboration Quote of the Month

July 30, 2010

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

Charles Darwin

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Pro Photographer Josh Campbell Organizes Auction for Protect Our Winters

July 26, 2010

As a supporter of environmental awareness and the amazing feeling of gravity-induced fun on skis, I am super excited to announce Art For POW. Pro photographer and Protect Our Winters supporter, Josh Campbell, organized the online art auction, with all of the proceeds being donated to Mother Nature’s-proponent-in-the-form-of-a-non-profit, Protect Our Winters.

Amazing work from artists such as: Trevor Graves, Tim Zimmerman, Aaron Draplin, Tyler Stout, Cole Barash, Mark Kohlman, Mike Paddock, Shawn Dumont, Shem Roose, Kari Rowe, Patrick Lennox Wright, Dennis Healy X R1, Timothy Karpinski, Danny Zapalac, Bud Fawcett, Dean “Blotto” Gray, Andrew Mutty, Adam Moran, Mike Arzt, Mike Basher, and Josh Campbell.

“I created ART for POW as an opportunity for artists in the snowboard community to give back to the earth and the sport that has brought us so much fun over the years,” said Josh. Every item in the auction has been donated, and all proceeds will go directly to Protect Our Winters.

The auction runs from today until 11:59 p.m. PST on July 31st. Click HERE to check it out, and please spread the word.







Your Opinion on Most Inspiring Rainbow Picture

July 21, 2010

As I have alluded to, I am part of a crew of amazing people that are in the works of creating an exciting business venture in the northern hemisphere that has to do with green energy creation. Although I can’t say exactly what is transpiring just yet, I will say that I truly believe that this collaboration for clean and sustainable energy is the wave of the future.

For now, as we file for our business license and finish the needed paperwork, we have began the process of formulating eye-catching media representation.

We are going to incorporate a rainbow photo and would like your input…which of the following five pictures most gravitates to you?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. It is much appreciated.

Now, the drum roll please…

May I introduce to you the five finalists…

Number 1:

Number 2:

Number 3:

Number 4:

Number 5:


World Happiness Forum Collaborating for Global Joy

July 14, 2010

What will bring about the most substantial increase in happiness?

Well, that is a pretty giant question, but one thing is for sure, if we were to start working together with happiness specifically in mind, that energy being given in the name of joy will help it increase.

And that is what is happening at the World Happiness Forum. WHF is a non-profit organization that sponsors a yearly conference in places such as Davos, Switzerland and Sydney, Australia…

Through this impressive collaboration, peoples of all walks of life, degrees, and experience are joining forces to consciously spread contentment through WHF.

I was able to chat with director of WHF, Sasha Kahan. Here’s what she had to say…

EoC: Why was the World Happiness Forum originally created?

SK: WHF was launched following the enormous success of the Happiness & Its Causes conference, which itself was launched in 2006. The conference attracted people from a wide cross section of the community – different professional groups, religious denominations and interests. We became interested in setting up an organisation that such a diverse group could identify with, which was secular, non-profit and aligned to the clear goal of enhancing human happiness. In the world of business and finance, there is much interest in the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos. So we thought, let’s create an organisation focused on what is arguably an even more important theme, the World Happiness Forum!

EoC: What aspects have been most vital in helping fulfill the WHF’s mission statement?

SK: WHF is very focused on delivering events that feature the world’s top people in their respective fields. That might sound cliched but it is actually what we do – whether it is Nobel Prize winners, scientists, philosophers or humanitarians. We’ve continually working to bring the world’s best to our events. So the speakers and content that we deliver is unparalleled.

EoC: Can you describe some of the research that WHF is doing to understand happiness?

SK: Our focus is not on our own original research. Rather our focus is finding those working in the field who are doing the research and bringing them to our events.

EoC: How often and where does WHF hold conferences on happiness?

SK: The original and still the main conference is Happiness & Its Causes in Australia, which has run annually for the past 5 years. In addition, from time to time we run conferences in overseas locations. Over the last two years, we have run two conferences in London and conferences in Singapore and San Francisco.

EoC: How can a person become involved in a conference or educational program held by WHF?

SK: They can contact our Director directly by email or telephone and let her know what they have in mind.

EoC: Is there one specific technique that has shown itself to be more beneficial than others in the research of happiness?

SK: It seems that happiness comes through actions and thoughts that are focused on others, rather than ourselves. So the best ‘happiness enhancers’ are things like being generous, volunteering and other ways of engaging with others.

EoC: Are there certain parallel aspects in the research on why certain societies are happy and others are not?

SK: I think the major finding of the international happiness studies is that beyond a base level of economic development, which serves to meet the basic necessities of life, happiness is not linked to a country’s economic standing.

EoC: Can you share an inspiring story that has come from the creation of WHF?

SK: Our work has become known in Bhutan of all places. One of our Directors, Renate Ogilvie, has represented WHF in Bhutan twice in the last year and she has met with many senior officials from the government, including the Prime Minister himself. They are really interested in ways that they can share with the world their own experiences with happiness and to learn how the country can enhance economic development without bringing the type of social problems that are prevalent in the West.

EoC: What advice do you have for people that want to increase their happiness?

SK: Come to Happiness & Its Causes! Really, get to know the many facets of human happiness, work through the different approaches and adopt ways of thinking that are appropriate to you. There is no ‘one size fits all’.


Protect Our Winters Expanding into Argentina to Assist Earth Friendly Projects

July 6, 2010

For pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones, his mission of helping Mother Nature began on the slopes outside of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Returning to his favorite place to ride sweet powder, he found it void of snow. Rock and grass was all that was visible where it should of been feet of compacted frozen water crystals.

He took it upon himself to dive more into the sad state of affairs he was witnessing and found that this great riding spot was continuing on a trend of less and less snow.

So, in inspirational form that is a personality trait of Jones, he took this experience and formed Protect Our Winters, a non-profit created to unite those that love snowboarding and skiing, so that the collective genius can help promote a healthy, sustainable future for our environment.

With the initial goal of assisting the environmental actions of North America and Europe, POW  is now going global with expansion into Argentina, as well as Australia.

I am honored to be a part of the newly formed Southern Hemisphere POW satellite team, and will be assisting the non-profit in both the Bariloche and Las Leñas areas.

7,000 vertical feet of Argentine wind, Las Leñas Valley

What does that mean exactly?

Well, POW is ready to help fund interesting projects in Argentina that help the environment.

If you or someone you know is involved with an Argentine environmental-friendly project that is in the making and needs a little financial assistance, please let me know and I will pass the information on to POW. Maybe a neighborhood that is trying to create a recycling plan…or a group that is doing litter education. If the movement assists Pachamama, than POW would like to help out.

To give you a little background, in North America POW created various ways to invigorate discussion about environmental protection. From an easy-access platform inspiring interaction between large non-profit foundations and the masses to education programs like Solar 4R Schools, POW is truly creating a global path for change.

Awhile back, I was able to sit down and talk with Jones about how POW is participating in expanding environmental awareness, the non-profits’ hopes on affecting the future, and his personal feelings on the issue of global warming.

Continue on for thoughts from the pro himself…

Jeremy Jones enjoying life, photo courtesy of Jeremy Jones

SM: Thanks so much for making the time.

JJ: No problem.

SM: When and why did you initially create POW?

JJ: It’s kind of a combination of things…I was expanding a product line called the Jones Experience, that has about a twenty different products in it and I wanted to give a percentage of sales back to the environment. I did some research and I talked to a friend at the surf rider’s foundation. I couldn’t really find what I felt was the right environmental foundation to give the money to and my friends and surfers were like you guys need something in the winter sports world to inspire and hopefully rally companies and other participants to help the environment.

That wasn’t the answer I was looking for. I wanted to write a check and be done with it, but after a couple of months I decided that this was something that’s important and something that needs to be done.

And I think probably the birth of my daughter had something to do with that as well with the belief that it is a long term problem, it’s something were we won’t see the benifits of our actions but our kids and our kid’s kids will see the benefit of our actions.

SM: There is nothing out there for the winter community?

JJ: I wanted something where every dollar raised went straight to slowing down global warming. There was good carbon offset companies and 1 percent for the planet, who we partner with now, but it kept coming back to us needing something that was targeting people…something that made people and companies go “I want to be associated with that foundation.” Other foundations out there didn’t have the same connection as we hope to have with POW. We work closely with these foundations that are established and they do an awesome job, it’s just that we are coming from a, as crazy as it sounds, a different marketing level.

And also what we do is focus, and we hope to do more of this, on cleaning up our mountains and our mountain towns, first. That is what we want to put focus on first.

SM: For sure, like Squaw Valley…I used to work at High Camp and it was amazing seeing what they were doing negatively to the environment?

JJ: Exactly. And we feel like we can be more affective this way and still use the great resources that are out there. We partner with a lot of these existing groups and we see where they work the best.

SM: So you basically bring all of the parts of the puzzle together?

JJ: Exactly.

SM: You have said that you saw major changes in snow at areas you were photographed riding, where did you see the biggest changes?

JJ: The most dramatic I saw was in Prince Rupert and up in Northern BC. I got to know the locals there. One day I went for a hike up at their local resort, it was mid February and it was all grass. I was talking to a skier that was 30 at the time and he said that this is where we all grew up riding and our average winter was 70 days a year and now were lucky if every couple of years we get to ski down this thing. And I was like, “Wow!” That is a lot of change in twenty years and it got me to thinking what is the next twenty years going to be like. So that was the most in-your-face-dramatic thing that I’ve seen.

photo courtesy of Jeremy Jones

SM: What are things that you have changed in your own life to help global warming?

JJ: I’ve looked closely at my own lifestyle and my life as a pro snowboarder.

One change, for instance, is I drive a forward Focus instead of a Dodge pick-up.

I don’t own a snowmobile anymore.

My house was built in the 1960’s, so I continue to change out into better windows and better appliances and better insulation, things like that, and that, actually, is an ongoing thing with my house. (laughter) It is still a summer cabin. It’s frustrating at times but I continue to try to get better with that.

And, fortunately, I live two miles from town so I’m riding my bike a ton in the summer because I’ve realized a lot of my trips are two mile trips so just trying to do those shorter trips on my bike.

And everything from house-hold products and that full gamut.

Those other changes were pretty easy. I continue now to make further changes…though these next changes will be harder steps, in the sense of we’re not on solar and or anything like that.

As a professional snowboarder…that’s been a harder deal. I am still doing a lot of flying, a lot of air travel. Using helicopters for access in Alaska…but I have eliminated my snowmobile use. I’m still traveling a lot, but like this year my shortest trip is two weeks long. Now that I know where I am going to be for the winter I have been able to cut down on my air travel.

One of the things that we are doing through POW is movies centered on hiking for turns. Our first film was called “My Own Two Feet”. It’s a movie based out of the Sierras. It’s a human powered snowboard movie and something that I put a lot of time and energy into because I feel that it is a great message, not only environmentally, but also as a great way to hopefully inspire people that great freeriding is only a short hike away. And if you want it, you can do it.

I have had movie parts in the past that are 70 or 80 percent hiking accessed but we never talked about that, so now people look at me and say, “…yeah right, if I had this huge heli budget I could do that too.”

In the past it is true that sometimes my three week time in Alaska wipes out the footy of us hiking around in the Sierras and Tetons. That’s something I want to change.

So doing stuff like that. I hope to do a lot more of that in the future.

I’m starting to find cameramen that are into going that extra mile and doing more foot-access stuff, but that’s not all happening over night.

But I’m starting to see change.

An example of that is this one film company that I am working with, Absence Films. I told them that I want to go and set up camp in Alaska and do, like, a three week trip where we hike in. I said that I feel that we could get some good stuff and in the fall they were saying “There is no way we can do that, that sounds gnarley.” And then I got a call from them and they said “Hey we want to do that and our riders are stoked to do something like that.”

photo courtesy of Jeremy Jones

I’m not going to walk away from Alaska and heli-accessed stuff, but this is something where I want to continue doing more and more of foot accessed stuff in Alaska. I would like to start splitting the time. I would like to put a portion of the time in to a long hiking trip, ’cause what I actually really enjoy is hiking what I ride.

That, to be honest, is the inspiration behind all of that, enjoying it from a personal level, and then of course it’s more environmentally friendly, but it is not like I’m out there saying “God I wish I was out here in a heli.” It’s more like “This is so sick and I’ve only gotten one run in today and I don’t care. It was a sick run.”

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to start doing more hiking, that that would be the next phase of my snowboarding. And now I’m starting to activate that phase.

SM: What is the biggest way that we can help shift global warming, as a winter sport community?

JJ: I think that are a lot of simple steps that we have pushed, the ten simple steps, and they don’t seem like much. They’re everything from carpooling to changing the kind of light bulbs you are using. Basic stuff. It’s the idea that if everyone does that, then it makes a big difference.

If everyone curbs their carbon foot print by ten percent it is a big difference.

We’re not trying to get people to stop living their lives but just adapt. So there are the simple steps and then there are the other factors that I believe in: consumers have a lot of power, and when it is time to choose a new pair of skis or snowboard, it’s important to support those companies that are trying to do things differently. That can hopefully change the way that everything is made and manufactured.

SM: The Solar 4R Schools is a great program. How are the students reacting to this program?

JJ: Well, it’s a long process. We have three that are going in this summer. So unfortunately I have had little interaction. I got inspired because I went back to my high school, in Sugarloaf Maine, and did an environmental studies course with them so I have had some interaction with kids but specific set-ups we have put in, and I’m looking forward to, getting those up and visiting those classes.

SM: What would you like to say to the nay-sayers that believe that Global Warming is unsubstantiated?

JJ: Well, I don’t have the magic potion, if they don’t believe it, if all of the world-wide media attention hasn’t been able to cross them over, than I don’t think that I have the power to cross them over.

But I would say that it sure is a risky statement to say that it doesn’t matter, it’s not real, were not going to do anything about it. If they are wrong the results are pretty drastic where they should at least still be doing things environmentally friendly, whether you believe in Global Warming or not. It just makes sense.

I deal with the people that are nay-sayers and we have some great debates. But I always come back to, “How is getting sixty miles to the gallon bad?” How can you not embrace that? Or something like being off the grid with solar energy. They will always be out there. All of these environmental practices, a lot of them I should say, at least the technologies, are great whoever you are.

SM: Rossignol’s Evergreen Alliance program focuses on reducing their carbon footprint and conducting business in a more environmentally-friendly manner…their initiatives stretch across their company, retail partners and end-consumers and also influence their products is a great initiative. Do they plan on making any changes in the way boards and skis are made, being that there is a lot of plastic involved in making the snow tools?

JJ: Yeah. I’ve been working closely with Rossignol on that front and we have been able to make some quick, easy steps, like with recycled bases and were working on reclaim-sidewalls, trying to do bamboo topsheets. Those things have come pretty easy and this next step is going to take a lot more in the terms of investment to solve bigger issues with the product. So they are for sure and they are starting to and one thing I am trying to to do is…well, you see the ski world had kind of been in their own world and the snowboard in theirs…so I’m trying to get all the product managers together to pool our resources and, hopefully, bring out some real advances in environmentally friendly products.

The time tables for these are slow, it is easy to get frustrated but the fact that we are having these talks…if you look at it from a longer time line, then I do think we will have some great success.

SM: So snowboarder and ski companies are not necessarily working together for this cause, then?

JJ: No, they are separated. That is something that we hope to do with POW is create an environment where people can share environmental practices and that’s part of our phase two with POW.

SM: Is one being more receptive than the other?

JJ: No, well, we have had a little bit more success with the snowboard side but that, I think, is partly because I am in that world. But what communication we have had with the ski companies has been positive.

SM: That’s good because it doesn’t matter what the tool is.

JJ: Right.

SM: Snowmobiling is a definite addition to emissions. What are ways that snowmobilers can make a difference?

JJ: Primarily, it comes down to when you’re getting a new snowmobile, get a four stroke. There is a great difference between a four stroke and a two stroke emission. But other than that I would say that using the cleaner oils out there.

I’m not up on it now but there are oils and such out there that help keep emissions down, such as Blue Ribbon Oil or doing things like better air filters, things like that.

But for me, it wasn’t like I loved snowmobiling. When I was out there I just wanted to get to the boot pack as quickly as possible and get off the thing. It wasn’t like I gave up snowmobiling for the environment. Getting rid of my snowmobile, it was amazing how happy it made me. It was mainly because it was the last time I had to start the thing. (Laughter)

I wasn’t planning on it but I ended up having to start it up one last time and I like literally welled-up with tears thinking “Thank God its gone.” But that is totally from a personal level. I would always dread when I would get the call that we going out on the snowmobiles I would think “Uuuuh, I’ve got to go load my sled.”

SM: Where do you see POW going in the future?

JJ: Hopefully we will have a ton of manufacturers involved and a bunch of snowboarders and skiers as members. And hopefully, as we grow, we will become more powerful and be able to do greater things for the environment. Within the foundation, we continue to explore different options to better spend our finances and be a better help to the winter sports world on all levels.


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