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Climate Change to Dent Ski Industry $12.2 Billion?

December 14th, 2012

Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Freeskier, founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation and an award-winning global cooling consultant who has spent her life dedicated to solutions for climate change.

While I’ve been working to save our snow from climate change for over 20 years, superstorm Sandy was still a huge wake up call for me. One of the biggest problems for us global warming geeks is that “it” was always happening to someone else, usually thousands of miles away in a third world country. My skiing travels certainly made it more real for me as glaciers and snowfields I had skied just a few years ago disappeared forever in just five years or so. But the impact of Sandy hit close to home, so to speak.

For years, arguments have passed back and forth regarding what “safe” amounts of carbon dioxide emissions that we could emit might be. A recommended 80 percent reduction by 2050 was often seen as the only sensible way to keep extreme weather at bay, save our snow, and keep low-lying countries above water. Yet this was often regarded as too extreme and unreasonable to reach. While at Copenhagen in 2009, I watched the U.S. delegates actually argue for a one percent reduction over 1990 levels, while most of the rest of the world argued about 80 percent not being sufficient. McKibben’s recent speaking tour, along with a demonstration of actual higher-than-projected-emissions, are now showing us on path for a 7-14 degree temperature increase. Considering a two degree increase is most likely to put many countries under water and most ski and snowboard resorts out of snow, we now need to really skip the baby steps and focus on real and meaningful reductions.

This all doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom and crawling into a cave – I’ve happily reduced my energy use and carbon footprint in half in the last several years – all while saving money and increasing my quality of life. We are able to do this, but it means that we have to get real with reductions and stop being so damn nice about it. Forget recycling and driving your Prius; What is your carbon footprint and can you cut it to three tons from 40? This is going to involve some hard choices for all of us. In 2001: I gave up heliskiing; in 2005: my snowmobile; and in 2010: my ski pass. Each one involved tears and temptation, yet in the end I believe I am happier and healthier.

All of this leads me to another report I read this week, this time from Protect Our Winters (POW) and the National Resources Defense Council. It’s called the Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States. So often, folks tell me that we can’t afford to implement changes in our lives due to the economy, yet (as this report shows) it is the very economy that will suffer the greatest in a world with super wacky weather such as droughts, floods or a combination thereof: super storms. Yet until now, no one has ever attempted to put a financial figure on the losses that the winter sports communities might incur, or the amount of jobs that might be lost. While skiing and snowmobiling contribute $12.2 billion dollars and 600,000 jobs to our national economy, the numbers from the state of Colorado alone are staggering; a $154 million in revenue could be lost due to the impacts of climate change.

“In order to protect winter – and the hundreds of thousands whose livelihoods depend upon a snow-filled season – we must act now to support policies that protect our climate, and in turn, our slopes,” wrote study authors Elizabeth Burakowski and Matthew Magnusson of the University of New Hampshire.

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adventure, causes, Conservation, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , , , ,

In Downturned Economic Times, Outdoor Recreation Brings Promising Growth

June 28th, 2012

Call it what you will: an economic downturn, a recession, the second great depression — these are relatively rough times. But as it turns out, in the midst of the economic madness, outdoor recreation is actually booming by creating the likes of $6.1 million in direct American jobs and $646 billion in consumer spending each year. Add to those numbers that a recent OIA Outdoor Recreation Economy shows that outdoor recreation has created $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue and $39.7 billion in state and local tax revenue and you have solid (and seriously impressive) proof that the outdoor industry is darn good for our faltering economy.

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adventure, causes , , , ,

Ditch Your Car: Save America Billions in Gas Dollars

May 23rd, 2012

According to the League of American Bicyclists, brand new data released by their organization, as well as Sierra Club and National Council of La Raza (NCLR), showcases the many economic benefits of cycling in the United States. It opens with a strong statement referencing the lack of government funding for adequate bicycling projects, stating that “… though biking and walking account for 12 percent of all trips in the U.S., these transportation modes receive only 1.6 percent of federal transportation spending—far less than their fair share.”

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Active Lifestyle, Advocacy, Ditch Your Car, Pedaling Change , , , , , , ,

Infographic: How Bikes Can Save Us

December 14th, 2011

We love all of the bicycle-inspired infographics popping up these days. This one makes it pretty clear: you’re going to save a lot of money and maybe your life by riding your bike to work. A few choice bits we pulled out…

  • 20 bikes can be parked in the same space as 1 car
  • Bikes are 50% faster than cars during rush hour
  • Adding 30 minutes of daily cycling saves us $544 in medical costs annually
  • The average person loses 13 pounds in their first year of riding

Definitely makes us feel good about hopping on our bikes everyday.

Biking And Health
Created by: Healthcare Management Degree

Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!

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Active Lifestyle, Advocacy , , , ,

How Biking Might Just Save Your Life and Your City Billions

November 9th, 2011

When this photo popped into our email inbox with our daily dose of GOOD in all it’s carfree, windswept glory, we knew we were going to like the accompanying story. And it turns out, it’s just as awesome as the photo. A new study shows that biking is not only good for your gams, but good for your city’s economy. Read more via GOOD:

Last week, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives published findings from a study by scientists at the University of Wisconsin on the economic and health benefits of switching from a car to a bike for trips shorter than five miles long in 11 metropolitan areas around the upper Midwest. Combining data on air pollution, medical costs, mortality rates, car accidents, and physical fitness, the researchers found that if inhabitants of the sample region switched to bikes for half of their short trips, they’d create a net societal health benefit of $3.5 billion per year from the increase in air quality and $3.8 billion in savings from smaller health care costs associated with better fitness and fewer mortalities from a decreased rate of car accidents.

Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!

Photo via (cc) Flickr user kamshots. Found on GOOD Finder by Morf

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Active Lifestyle, Ditch Your Car , ,

5 Reasons That You Should Get on a Bike

February 16th, 2011

Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!

Five excellent statistics from Bikes Belong:

  1. On a round-trip commute of 10 miles, bicyclists save roughly $10 daily and spare the air 10 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
  2. Fifteen percent of all trips are made for commuting to work.
  3. Bicycling for transportation can reduce mortality by 35 to 40%
  4. If the number of kids who walk and bike to school returned to 1969 levels, it would save 3.2 billion vehicle miles, 1.5 million tons of CO2 and 89,000 tons of other pollutants annually. This is the equivalent of keeping more than 250,000 cars off the road for a year.
  5. Only 8% of U.S. households don’t have a vehicle available for regular use.
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Advocacy, Ditch Your Car , , ,

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