Appreciate Your Planet

“If you appreciate your planet, you will be more inclined to protect it.” This quote came from an article by Hilary Saunders about pro skier Angel Collinson and how she skies with a purpose. When reading this article I admired the writer’s ability to shine a light on climate change without covering up the very true facts that skiers leave a major footprint on our earth. I look up to people like Angel Collinson and Cody Townsend, their careers as professional skiers has given them not only a voice in promoting and spreading awareness about the rapid increase in carbon pollution but these athletes carry a connection with their surroundings that is very different from the average person. They are deeply immersed and connected with the mountains. Their passion and love for skiing and any other sport that allows them to be surrounded by the endless sensation of freedom, fear, and excitement in the outdoors has made them that much more in tune with the reality that climate change is affecting our earth.

Another athlete that I admire is Caroline Gleich, a professional ski mountaineer and environmental activist. Her connection to nature and the mountains has grown even stronger by her human-powered ski descents all over the world. The accomplishment of each accent and her willingness to overcome failure empowers others to live healthy, active lifestyles and to protect the places that we love to learn and play. I learned more about Caroline through an article about SHIFT Summit Festival - an event that explores the challenges and opportunities of the nexus of outdoor recreation, and the conversations and ideas that are spread.

There is much that people do on this earth that isn’t environmentally friendly, and the unfortunate truth is that you are not going to stop driving your car to work or the ski hill because someone said that toxins coming from your car are causing global warming, many of you aren’t going to cut beef from your diet because you watched a movie that told you that it takes 1799 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef and leaves an incredible water foot print on our earth. However, the point that I am trying to make is that major changes are not going to happen over night. The little changes that we make like biking the short distance to work in our small town, or challenging yourself to get involved in an activity that leaves less of a carbon foot print like hiking, snow shoeing or ski touring make a difference. These activities are so accessible in Fernie, and easily allow us to feel a closer connection to earth and the simplicity and beauty that we experience through these activities empower us to look for solutions. Participating in the wonders that the world has to offer is the first step to fostering an appreciation for our earth, and creating impactful and mindful changes in the little things that we do day to day.

I came to a revelation that just because I’m a skier that rides the chair lift every day and drives to big mountain free ride events doesn’t stop me from making a difference or helping in the movement against climate change. Perhaps we are not willing to give up our ski passes, but maybe it’s not about doing less, but about doing more. It’s difficult to know what the right actions are. Growing up in a world that is constantly changing, sustainable solutions have not been perfected yet. Therefore we must educate ourselves on the environmental changes, question the unknown, and create and contribute to new ideas. Most importantly it is essential to keep talking about our environment.