Climbing & Climate
We live in a carbon-intensive society. And our adventures add to that. The stress of our lives are tempered by escaping to some of nature’s most exceptional places to play and feel alive. Each of those adventures produces connection with nature, bonds with loved ones, and lasting memories. But, each of those adventures also leaves behind a carbon footprint.
It can feel like the logistics of these outdoor escapes are exacerbating the climate crisis and leave us with the feeling that we should just stay at home or recreate near to it. That is one viable solution. But there are ways to adventure more broadly; however, doing so requires education, awareness, and conscientiousness in our travel choices. On this page we present some resources we recommend for helping to do so.
Getting Educated & Aware
Climate change is undoubtedly complex. We don't have all the answers and it's not likely we ever will. But that shoudn't and can't stop us from learning the basics about it and using that learning to take effective action. Climbing and skiing involves travel in mountain and glaciated environments and those environments are among the the most immediately threatened by climate change. So, as adventurers in the mountains, we should work to stay aware of information particular to mountain environments. Here are some resources we recommend:
How to Read Glacier Health: This article is written by IFMGA Mountain Guide, trained geologist, and long-time Alaskan resident Joe Stock. It presents an interesting and easily digestible way to interpret what you're seeing about climate change when you're out on the glaciers.
General Glaciology & Mountain Ecology: RMI guide services page about glaciology is extremely well-put together and informative, with lots of great visuals and terminology to help you become a more informed mountain traveller. You'll enjoy knowing and understanding a lot more about the environment you're in.
Yale Center for Climate Communication: There is tons of information available on this site relating to perceptions and attitudes towards climate change, as well as how to effectively communicate about it.
American Alpine Club (AAC): The AAC has recently taken a lead in addressing climate change in the climbing community. You can see learn about their efforts on this site.
Protect Our Winters (POW): Founded by skiers concerned about the changes they witnessed in the mountain world, POW leads the way in organizing, educating, and campaigning for climate action. You'll find their site full of inspiration and useful tools, including the Carbon Calculator.
Guides for Glaciers (G4G): Join the G4G Facebook page and you can peruse a huge range of interesting posts, photos, and articles related to climate change in the mountains. This is a really excellent storehouse of links to climate-related writing.
Carbon Offset Calculator
Carbon offsets are not a perfect solution—but we shouldn't let perfection be the enemy of the good. And a very good tool for calculating the carbon produced via your particular adventures can be found on the Protect Our Winters Carbon Calculator page. This page allows you to calculate the various components of your trip—flights, shipping, lodging, and other logistics—to produce a carbon output, then links you with a variety of projects that can proportionally decrease that carbon output.
How Do Carbon Offsets Work?
Whenever we use fossil fuels, or any energy produced by them, carbon is emitted. This contributes to the greenhouse gas effect and, as a result, to climate change. While carbon offsets won’t eliminate the carbon emissions of your travel to and from your adventure destinations, they do “offset” them by reducing emissions elsewhere.
The money you contribute via the POW Carbon Offsets Calculator will go towards a verified carbon emissions reduction project. These projects are closely monitored and receive certifications based on measurable criteria. They also have immeasurable positive effects, like cleaner air or water for surrounding communities and positive social impacts, like empowering local people to make decisions that are best for both their families and their environment.
Why Do We Offer the Carbon Offset Choice?
We hope that we have inspired questions, curiosity, and action by beginning a dialogue on carbon offsets. Above and beyond anything else we do, encouraging you to have an inquisitive outlook on the world, mountain life, and our changing climate is a primary goal. Many companies are now marketing “carbon neutral” trips, building the cost of the carbon offsets into their trips. This can be an effective approach; however, we feel that the reflection opportunity involved in researching your own carbon footprint is a valuable one. More importantly, we feel that allowing you to make your own decision about how to address your carbon footprint—which steps to take, which steps to change, which carbon offset organizations and efforts to support— is more meaningful. We hope it helps you to see your actions in a new light, and opens up possibilities for how to address your carbon footprint, whether it is your commute to and from work each day, the flight you took to get to your adventure destination, or the electricity you use from fossil fuel power sources. Each of us has the power to be a force of good and a force for change in forging a sustainable way forward.
What Else is Adventure Spirit Doing to Address Climate Change?
Addressing climate change is more of a journey than a destination. There are a lot of things that brought us to this point and it is going to take a lot of steps to get us to a better place. One additional step we've taken to help address climate change, particularly as it relates to our company's adventures, is the Climb+Pick+Give Program.
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