Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
October 11, 2021 (Washington, DC) – During the most critical moment in our lifetimes—environmentally and politically—for climate action, a team of Olympians, athletes and brand leaders spearheaded by Protect Our Winters Action Fund (POW AF) brings the outdoors to Capitol Hill. Meeting with members who will be crucial to making climate a top priority in budget reconciliation and getting the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the President’s desk; the teams worked to inspire members to step-up and lead on climate.
As athletes return to the same mountains, rivers and forests year-after-year, they are seeing and feeling climate change firsthand—from rock fall to smokey air. Climate is already impacting how, where and when they train and compete, making them powerful first-hand witnesses to what is at stake if we don’t take action. Speaking for the 50 million people in the U.S. who regularly recreate outdoors, what Protect Our Winters calls the Outdoor State, lobby teams included 17 of America’s biggest names in sports including Olympians Steven Nyman, Jessie Diggins and Colleen Quigley, runners, climbers including Sasha DiGiulian and Olympic snowboarders Kaitlyn Farringinton and Elena Hight.
“Right now we have a once in a decade opportunity to make real, systemic changes to reverse the effects of the climate crisis,” said Caroline Gleich, professional skier and POW Alliance Member. “Taking action on climate will not only negate negative impacts of climate change, but will also improve health, provide economic opportunities and help families thrive.”
Athletes were joined by brand leaders from Patagonia, The North Face, Simms, Orvis, Skullcandy, New Belgium, POC and POWDR Corp. to represent the $887 billion outdoor recreation industry and speak up for the 7.6 million jobs supported by it. Executives made an economic case for action that would shore up the growing industry, as climate fueled wildfires ravage the West and snow seasons are cut shorter each decade.
With the future of clean air, clean water and a healthy planet at stake, the POW Action Fund secured 26 targeted meetings between a cross-partisan mix of members of Congress, Senators and their legislative staff working on climate issues. The teams met personally with Senators Collins, Bennet, Hickenlooper, Murkowski, Heinrich and Senator Tester among others. The lobby teams asked leaders to personally lead on clean energy, grid updates, electric vehicles, help for workers transitioning to a clean energy future and to end fossil fuel subsidies.
Following a meeting with Montana’s Senator Jon Tester he tweeted a photo and said, “Great to meet with some outdoorsmen and women from @ProtectWinters. Snowboarding, running, and climate advocacy—these folks do it all!”
Everyone in the 50 million strong Outdoor State are invited to join in Protect Our Winters’ effort to encourage Congress to prioritize climate action in the budget and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Go to https://p2a.co/HEcGuj7 for the easy steps, designed to make a big difference.
“We are at a critical moment both environmentally and politically to take meaningful action on climate. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that passed the Senate shows that climate action can and should be bipartisan,” said Mario Molina, Executive Director of Protect Our Winters. “POW has been advocating for a decade on Capitol Hill for action on electric vehicles, grid updates, transitioning to a clean energy future and ending subsidies for fossil fuels. At this very moment, we are so close to making meaningful action to curb emissions a reality. We must do everything we can to encourage our elected officials to prioritize climate action and get these bills to the President’s desk.”
Athletes, industry leaders and Protect Our Winters Action Fund executives are available for interviews and bookings about the intersection of outdoors and climate change, and how the outdoor industry is working to support climate action at this critical moment. For interviews or remote bookings please contact: Lora Bodmer, POW Action Fund, email@example.com, cell 307.690.1630
Founded in 2018 as a sister organization to Protect Our Winters, the POW Action Fund works to make action on climate change a top policy priority for the outdoor sports community. By connecting the dots between climate change and its impact on the outdoors, the POW Action Fund turns the outdoor community’s shared passion for adventuring in wild places into the political will needed to drive positive action on climate change.