This season, Mountain Equipment Co-op is once again rolling out its #Live4Snow campaign in partnership with Protect our Winters and Burton. For each Burton [ak] CA Insulator jacket purchased at an MEC store or online at mec.ca, MEC and Burton will donate $5 to Protect Our Winters to help fight climate change
“POW is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting climate change on behalf of the winter sports community, so they’re a perfect partner for MEC,” said MEC Ambassador Coordinator Stephen Matthews. “With [MEC ambassador and Burton rider] Mark Sollors already involved with the Protect Our Winters Riders Alliance, he loved the idea of an initiative to raise awareness of POW’s mission.”
In 2015, MEC launched the Instagram hashtag #live4snow. For every #live4snow hashtag that was used, MEC donated $2 to POW and raised $10,000. According to Mathews, this new initiative was the first time MEC, one of its 1% for the Planet partners, a brand partner, and a MEC ambassador came together to grow awareness and support change.
Mountain Life hopped on the horn to chat with Sollors about the growing need for athletes to set an example and align themselves with environmentally conscious brands.
What were your thoughts when MEC introduced the POW campaign?
I was stoked to get to work with MEC and be an important part of the campaign. This is our second year doing the POW campaign and both Burton and MEC have stepped up even bigger this year, so I’m really glad they see that this initiative is just as important to them as it is to me.
As a sponsored athlete, is it important to align yourself with brands that are contributing to environmental and social issues?
I do think that it’s important to represent a company that has similar values to myself. I feel pretty lucky to be wearing Burton because they have taken one of the strongest stances on humanitarian and environmental sustainability in the winter sports industry. MEC is on the same level, and has been very generous in donating time and money to raise social and climate change awareness. It was an easy match for me to get on board with this campaign.
Have you seen the effects of climate change first hand?
There have definitely been a lot of changes in the winter seasons over the past few years. It’s becoming harder to plan trips and goals for the coming winter, when there is so much inconsistency between seasons. One year we’ll have an incredible snow base and consistent temperatures, followed by fluctuating snow levels and above normal temperatures the next. A 2 Celsius degree change in temperature can take -1 Celsius consistent snowfall to + 1 and raining.
A lot of the younger generation looks up to you. Do you feel it’s an ambassador’s responsibility to promote environmentally responsible living and set and example? Is it a challenge for you?
It’s definitely a challenge. I travel by plane, use a snowmobile to access the backcountry, and we occasionally use helicopters to get up onto mountain peaks. I’m not living a 100 percent “green” life, but I do my best and I try to promote the importance of it. I push sustainable initiatives with the companies I represent, and I try to be aware of green choices during my day-to-day living. POW is the voice for the winter sports community, and the more we support them and raise awareness of the changing climate and social issues, the greater impact POW can make in discussions with our local governments.
What can the mountain lifers reading this do to help?
Support the #live4snow campaign on social media platforms, visit www.protectourwinters.org, live an active outdoor lifestyle and realize that we are lucky to live in such a beautiful place! Let’s do what we can to protect it.
For more information, check out https://www.mec.ca/BurtonPOW