POW - The Art of Imperfect Advocacy
So, there’s this little organization that is called Protect Our Winters and in their own words are on a mission to turn passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates and they believe that their love of adventure in nature demands participation in the fight to protect it. Started in 2007 in the US it has grown internationally and currently has chapters residing in 11 countries, including Canada who came on board in 2018. The goal is simple; educate, advocate and inspire Canadians on ways to work together to fight climate change.
But, protecting winter is more than just keeping snow on the mountains for fun, frigid endeavours. It also contributes to protecting climate as a whole.
Of course, fighting for climate is not just about the outdoors and the places we play. That seems selfish from a global perspective, only protecting our planet so we have snow to go cross-country skiing on. Fighting to keep winter snowy gives our children a better planet, plain and simple! But, since this is the Trailhead blog and you are an outdoor recreationalist, isn’t it sweet that by working together and using the outdoor industry’s mega voice for leverage, we can make the planet a cleaner place and be rewarded with sharing amazing moments on top of snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes?
I’ve long felt guilt when it comes to the things I do everyday that damage climate. I drive a gasoline powered car. I buy imported groceries. I fly on airplanes to ride my snowboard on coastal snow. I eat meat. I buy things on the internet. I think about these things all the time and wonder how on earth things are going to get better, or at the very least just not get worse but we can’t exist without a carbon footprint. Even Patagonia, a true leader in climate advocacy, includes in their mission statement to build the best products with no unnecessary harm. No unnecessary harm, meaning there is some harm in the manufacturing of their goods. So, while some daily actions are harmful, I also use the same stainless steel water bottle everyday, plan to keep my car for a long time, use reusable bags, ride my bike instead of driving around town, buy from local retailers and get veggies and meat from local farms as much as possible.
Be like Patagonia: Live your life and do as little harm as you can. Be aware. Do something even though you can’t be perfect. I read a quote recently that eased my aforementioned guilt a little bit and it read: “We can only win the climate fight through large scale policy solutions. So... join a movement, any movement and realize that recycling and composting won't cut it. If you aren't using your voice for climate, you aren't doing enough. And don't worry about being called a hypocrite because you travel, drive a truck or play hockey etc, embrace the concept of "Imperfect Advocacy" and remember that we need 100,000 people being Imperfect Advocates rather the 10 people being perfect advocates." https://www.instagram.com/p/B8WcQNWFuAR/
So, get out there and be an imperfect advocate for the climate. Every little thing you do for the environment and every little movement you support promises a better tomorrow. A tomorrow with fresh snow and fresh lakes.
WE ALL NEED WINTER.
Written by Rob Whelan
Local photographer, adventurer, and dad.
Check out his photography work here!