Why is it that a young girl can speak so eloquently about global challenges that we as adults stumble over?
Snow Sports Coalition Visits Washington to Discuss Implications of a Warming Environment
Generations, a short film about climate change and winter, viewed by Congress
Boulder, CO (Feb. 1, 2010)-Jeremy Jones, eight-time Big Mountain Snowboarder of the Year visited one of the most world renowned hills in the world, this time without a snowboard. On Wednesday, January 27, Jeremy Jones along with a coalition of winter sport filmmakers and industry representatives shared a new perspective on climate change with lawmakers on Capitol Hill: the economic, social and intangible values of winter.
Jones represented Protect Our Winters (POW), the environmental non-profit he founded in 2007 as a voice for the winter sports community in the climate change discussion. Jones was joined by Chris Steinkamp, Executive Director of POW, Steve Jones, Founder of Teton Gravity Research (TGR), Elysa Hammond, Director of Environmental Stewardship of Clif Bar and Elizabeth Burakowski, PhD student in Earth Science Complex Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.
The two-day agenda included a screening of Generations, a short film about climate change and winter released this fall by TGR and Protect Our Winters and sponsored by outdoor industry leader, The North Face. Generations discusses climate change through the perspectives of those for whom snowy winters have a deeper personal significance. Featuring former ski resort developer Bill Jenkins, climatologist Elizabeth Burakowski, and some of the world’s most accomplished ski and snowboard athletes, the film humanizes and contextualizes the debate on climate change by exploring the intrinsic value of snow to people across generations and cultures.
In addition to the numerous awards won by Generations on the film festival circuit, the film received hearty congressional applause Tuesday evening among a theater of Congressmen, aides, staff and local environmental leaders, after being introduced by Congressman Jared Polis. Following the screening, Jeremy Jones, Steve Jones, Hammond and Steinkamp hosted a Q&A on their experience with climate change in the field and how winter sports enthusiasts everywhere can be part of the climate change solution.
The coalition met with key lawmakers and staff largely from U.S. mountain states who are also leaders on climate change and in key positions on the hill to influence the direction of this issue. Together, they shared their experiences, illustrating first-hand how climate change has had direct effects on the winter sports culture and the $6 billion winter sports industry. Participants included Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), Representative Peter Welch (D-VT), Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA), and senior energy and environment staff for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). The members and staff that the group met with are all key players in the climate and energy debate, most holding senior positions and even chairmanships on the central committees of influence.
The film showing, combined with one-on-one meetings, provided the Capitol Hill community with a fresh perspective of climate change, through the eyes of those on the front lines.
“When we started production of ‘Generations’ with The North Face over a year ago, the goal was to communicate the climate change we all see every day, to as many people as possible. Being here on Capitol Hill a year later, talking with the individuals who are literally deciding how climate change will effect us for generations is one of the most important things I’ve ever done,” said Jeremy Jones.
“The perspective provided by “Generations,” and the teams in the meetings this week, provided valuable and often overlooked component of the climate change debate in Washington,” explained Congressman Jared Polis, (D-CO). “The ski industry is the lifeblood of my district and climate change is already taking a toll,” said Polis. “These athletes are on the front lines of this crisis, watching snow, ice and communities disappear all over the world. In sharing their story with Congress, they are sharing the stories of many communities who are all desperately watching their way of life disappear with the warming planet. While the loss of skiing isn’t the worst consequence of climate change, these individuals show us how we all stand to be personally affected by this global problem.”
Who is Protect Our Winters
Protect Our Winters (POW) is a tax exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to reversing the global warming crisis by uniting the winter sports community and focusing efforts towards a common goal of winter preservation. POW was founded in 2007 by Jeremy Jones, a professional snowboarder who is passionate about preserving winter sport industry and culture for current and future generations. Built on the snowsports culture’s inspired dedication to reversing climate change, POW has become an innovative leader in sponsoring effective renewable power, progressive environmental education, and organizing and enabling unique grassroots action.
Who is TGR
Teton Gravity Research (TGR) is one of the fastest growing brands in the action sports industry. Founded in 1996, TGR has produced 18 award winning feature length films, numerous television series for Showtime, NBC, Fox Sports, and Fuel TV, and is known for its cutting edge media and lifestyles clothing line. TGR films showcase the world’s top snowboard, ski and surf athletes including Jeremy Jones, Ian Walsh, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, and Seth Morrison. TGR is a proud member of 1 Percent for the Planet and strongly believes in protecting the environment in which the team works and plays. TGR’s online presence, TetonGravity.com, is one of the leading online destinations in the action sports industry.
About The North Face®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.