LOCALadk Magazine

LOCALadk Winter 2019

LOCALadk Magazine

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Winter 2019 LOCALadk Magazine 19 LOCALadk These are only a few examples of the impact we're seeing here in the Adirondack Park. We could dive into the nitty-grit- ty of all the science behind it, but I'm not a climatologist. If you have specific questions about the research Dr. Leiben- sperger has done, or questions on climate change in general, you can send him an email at eleib003@plattsburgh.edu As a professional athlete with a large carbon footprint, I definitely feel guilty about my impact on our climate, but it's important to turn this feeling of guilt into a passion to fight. I remember sitting in my room at the Olympic Training Cen- ter feeling terrible for not using my platform for something I cared about. All I was posting about was biathlon, which is great, but I felt I needed to do more. A late night Internet search led me to learn more about the nonprofit organiza- tion Protect Our Winters, or POW for short. POW was created by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007, with the mission to turn passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates. I discovered them in 2015, when they had already created their POW Alliance, a community of athletes, thought pioneers and for ward-think- ing business leaders working to affect systemic political solu- tions to climate change. This was perfect, and exactly what I was looking for! After speaking with a POW staff member, I quickly joined the Alliance and started to fuel my passion for the outdoors into purpose. My work with Protect Our Winters started out pretty sim- ple: using my social media platforms to spread awareness on climate change and sharing information on what my fol- lowers can do to help. This slowly grew into writing opinion pieces informing New Yorkers about climate change and how they can be more climate for ward. I've visited several high schools and colleges to speak with students about the im- pact their carbon footprint has and how they can reduce it, along with giving them more information on the science be- hind climate change and resources on how they can be more involved with the climate movement. One of the more powerful experiences I've been a part of with POW has been traveling to our nation's capital to lobby. I've lobbied with them twice so far, once immediately follow- ing the Olympics and once last September. Both trips were amazing opportunities where we spoke to our senators and representatives about signing on to the Bipartisan Climate Caucus and other climate bills they should be considering. I discovered that these politicians seem to be more interested in hearing real stories about firsthand climate change expe- riences than about the science and data behind it. Which is great, because most of us are not climatologists. We each have a unique stor y to tell, and I'm sure climate change has affected each and ever y one of you one way or another, whether that be with shorter winters and the abili- ty to recreate outside, the increase in ticks and hotter sum- mers, the hit our local economies take with the lack of tour- ists during bad winters, and so on. Instead of feeling scared about the future, turn that emotion into fueling your passion to fight for our climate and the Adirondacks. Recently I've been involved with POW to encourage peo- ple to register to vote, and to actually exercise that right. If you don't already know this, climate change is political. If you want to see change, it's important to vote for people who believe in climate change and will vote to advance a more sustainable future. If you are a millennial reading this, know that you belong to the most powerful political force to ever awaken America. Millennials account for 28% of the U.S. pop- ulation, which is roughly equivalent to 100 million votes! Even if you're not a millennial, be sure to encourage your circle of friends and family members to register to vote if they're not doing so already, and to practice that right. Get out there and volunteer for environmental groups and or- ganizations you believe in. Yes, it can be scar y to fight for things you're passionate about, but if you don't do it, who will? And if you feel inclined, consider donating to those or- ganizations as well. We all contribute to climate change, so rather than practicing apathy, practice action. Be a part of the solution for future generations. To learn more about Protect Our Winters head to their website at www.protectour winters.org

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