Learning Climate Advocacy at Protect Our Winters’ 2023 Leadership Summit
October 19, 2023
The effects of climate change are everywhere. Warmer temperatures are changing weather patterns and disrupting the balance of nature – posing a multitude of risks. We’ve seen volatile weather, receding glaciers, and shorter winters…
Recently, FINN’s Consumer Lifestyle and Sports team attended Protect Our Winters’ Leadership Summit outside of Lake Tahoe. Founded by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, Protect Our Winters (POW) helps passionate outdoor people protect the places we live and experiences we love from climate change. Each year, the event aims to bring together a community of Outdoor State representatives to connect and play as we reflect on the past year and dive into climate action, goals, and storytelling for the future.
By promoting non-partisan policies focused on a four-pronged approach including clean energy, clean transportation, carbon pricing, and protecting public lands from fossil fuel extraction, POW’s goal is to turn members of the Outdoor State into effective climate advocates. Leading a community of athletes, scientists, and forward-thinking business leaders, POW is focused on large collective efforts and action (rather than individual changes) to enact broad-reaching systemic solutions to climate change.
This year, the Leadership Summit featured talks, outdoor activities from hiking to climbing, and thoughtful conversations among fellow advocates. Attendees included brand representatives from KEEN, BOA Technology, Christy Sports and CamelBak, the POW internal team, and members of POW’s inspiring Athlete, Creative, and Science Alliances – including nature photographers and filmmakers, incredible climbers like Emily Harrington, record-setting ultramarathoners and trail runners like Luke Nelson, Olympic skiers like Jared Shumate and Troy Murphy, glacier scientists, soil experts, and more. We camped under the stars in the native homeland of the Washoe people to learn from each other, educate ourselves, and work towards a better future together.
From discussions around the recent implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (the single largest investment in climate in American history!) to tribal sovereignty and renewable energy development in the U.S., we heard from incredible attendees who shared their stories, projects, passions, and goals. We watched recent Alliance member-created documentaries and learned from POW staffers as well as leaders at Burton, Strava, and Tracksmith about how to structure for impact and create a culture of philanthropy. Hearing from individuals who are cultivating community from challenges and taking powerful measures to help climate change, we strengthened how we talk about environmental issues moving forward.
Throughout the week, the common thread was the power of climate action through storytelling and what it truly means to be an imperfect advocate. The concept of imperfect advocacy stems from one of the biggest obstacles that prevents people from activism today – the belief that because we’re not perfect, joining in a movement is hypocritical. Essentially, we don’t have the right to be a voice for climate change if we own/drive a car, etc. Imperfect advocacy challenges that notion. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be a part of a movement we’re passionate about – one that strives for a more sustainable future.
Now what were some top takeaways?
- VOTE (make a plan, show up to the polls or mail in your ballot!) for any and all elections
- Continue sharing your own climate journey with friends, family, and loved ones
- Research how you can get involved in your local community’s sustainability efforts, boards, and programs
Over the course of three days, it was incredible to see companies, brands, and individuals lean into storytelling – sharing their journeys and bringing these climate narratives to life – generating emotion and sparking change. We left with an abundance of inspiration and reinvigorated passion. We left as imperfect advocates.
Here’s to a better future – let’s do this!
P.S. If interested in educating yourself around advocating and speaking about climate change, check out POW’s “Finding Common Ground: How To Be A Climate Advocate” – a first-of-its-kind free climate education curriculum – online via Crux Academy!
Blake Bellucci, Associate Vice President, Consumer Lifestyle and Sports
Blake has a talent for securing top-tier feature stories in national and regional media outlets in conjunction with fitness, outdoor and lifestyle brands; experiential programs; facilitation of PR programs rooted in experiences and the people behind them; experience includes Sports Illustrated, Canyon Ranch, Life Time, International Champions Cup, Klarna, NutriBullet and Peet’s Coffee. An avid hiker and runner, Blake recently ran the NYC Marathon and completed the 0 Circuit in Patagonia, Chile.