As the world reels in the unsettling wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not easy to sustain momentum in the fight against another global, existential threat; reminders of the current climate crisis offer the opposite of relief.
But Protect our Winters (POW) isn’t turning away. Rather, the nonprofit sees this moment of sweeping change as an opportunity. Now is the time it seeks to virtually connect those passionate about the outdoors with a new “Outdoor State of Mind” series. These live conversations launch tomorrow (April 22) on Earth Day, hosted by professional climber Tommy Caldwell and professional snowboarder/POW Founder Jeremy Jones. The series will consist of 14 events, each on a different theme, featuring the likes of Oscar-winning directors, Olympic medalists, economists, scientists, plus POW alliance athletes and founders of some of the largest names in outdoor gear.
“I feel like having the time to have a discussion on climate, and ideally educate and hear from viewers will allow for a gathering of what we call the ‘Outdoor State,’” Jones tells Men’s Journal. “It’ll be very informative, interactive, and an opportunity to dive deeper on climate. And I hope that people take the time to check it out and get empowered and fired up for this critical election.”
These events will be candid conversations open to public engagement, enabling viewers to partake from the comfort of their homes by sending in questions to the hosts and featured guests. (It’ll be something along the lines of those intimate Zoom conversations we’ve all become well-acquainted with, but joined by notable members from the outdoor, creative, and environmental space.)
The goal of the series is to remind people of the power of their voices, and to emphasize how to use them in the next election cycle. Unity behind a common goal is the idea with millions of people passionate about protecting their natural playgrounds, effectively serving as constituents of the “Outdoor State.” How big is that state? An estimated 34 million eligible voters (according to Outdoor Industry Association numbers) could have a major hand in making systemic change with a unified environment- and public health-centered agenda.
“That number of people is the second biggest state in the U.S.,” Caldwell says of the aggregate numbers of those who go outside to play and rejuvenate, “and that gives us incredible power to make a difference in terms of protecting these places that we love.”
In fact, to Caldwell and Jones, navigating through the coronavirus era may reveal the right tools and tactics to make progress with climate change.
“One thing this time is showing us is how quickly the world restores itself with less pollution,” says Caldwell. “You can find stories all over the place about how the canals in Venice are clear for the first time in years, and how methane is reduced and air over NYC is clean suddenly … And this is what the world can look like if we do the right things. Hopefully we can use that as a motivator.”
With so much uncharted terrain ahead, POW is offering a route that is conversational, exciting and perhaps more encouraging than your daily news. Find out more on the series below.
WHEN: 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on Earth Day, April 22. Events will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays through June 4, except for the premier Earth Day episode, where an event featuring Caroline Gleich and Sasha DiGuilian will run the following evening (4/23).
WHERE: Text OUTDOOR STATE to 65351 to gain access to the event. The link to join the meeting will be sent via text and email, and reminders will be sent out nearing the event. For members who have already pledged, expect a reminder and link to your inbox as well. The events will be streamed on Demio (no app required, just click the link to sign in) and you’ll use the same link for all events. All questions to the hosts can be sent during the live event. Watch the completed events on Protect our Winter’s website. (Note: This will be without any interactive components.)
4/22: Jeremy Jones and Tommy Caldwell Topic: Intro the Outdoor State and bringing communities together
4/23: Caroline Gleich and Sasha DiGuilian Topic: From one of POW’s first ambassadors to one of the latest, lessons learned and shared
4/28: Chris Davenport and Ben Stuart (Bank of the West CMO) Topic: Stop The Money Pipeline
4/30: Joe Grant and Jam Attari Topic: Stimulus packages and what that means for renewables
5/5: Michelle Parker and Auden Schendler (Aspen Ski Co.) Topic: Economic Impacts of COVID alike shorter seasons with changing climate
5/7: Danny Davis Topic: Brands and Ambassadors Aligning on climate and global action
5/12: Zaria and McKenzi Skiles (U of U, Snow Hydrology, Science Communications) Topic: Climate Communications: Snowpack and art, how to communicate climate change through different mediums
5/14 Clare Gallagher and Jude Bayham (CSU, Wildfire Economics, Outdoor Rec Economics) Topic: Summer climate impacts: Science impacts on trail and climb