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Human-powered winter sports can be seen as climate change “indicator activities” because we, are some of the first to experience the impacts of climate change on our public lands. Declining snowpack shortens ski and snowshoe seasons. Climate change can degrade limit, and in some cases eliminate opportunities for winter recreation.
Protecting the climate is a huge challenge, but it is a challenge that cannot be ignored. The government will need to take prompt action to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we send into the atmosphere, but do it in a way that is fair to everyone -- especially businesses and communities that may be hit hard by new climate protection policies.
A key piece to the climate protection puzzle is taking important steps to protect our lands, waters, ecosystems and habitats. These steps should include:
1. A strong “adaptation policy” where the government helps our lands, waters, plants and animals cope with a changing climate through progressive land conservation measures. Protecting landscapes and ecosystems also provides Americans the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
2. Consideration of both wildlife and recreation interests when developing renewable energy on our public lands.
3. Protecting and reinvesting in open space that provides refuge for wildlife, establishes natural “carbon sinks” where forests absorb and store millions of tons of carbon, and preserves the opportunity for Americans to stay connected to the natural world.
The importance of our public lands is not limited to energy production, reserves for wildlife habitat or carbon sinks. Public lands are refuges for people as well. Public lands provide citizens the opportunity to view wildlife, play in the rivers and snow, test one’s skills on a steep rock or a single track, and experience first-hand the natural world. Our public lands enable Americans to stay connected to the natural world. Only through this connection will we have the will and the ability to overcome the challenge of stabilizing the climate.
As a member of the Outdoor Alliance, Winter Wildland Alliance is playing a leading role in national efforts to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change. To learn more about the steps the outdoor community is taking to address the issue, and the steps we believe policy makers and government leaders need to take to confront the causes and impacts of global warming click here.