Earlier this year we committed €1 million through our Explore Fund to support those companies, organisations, communities and individuals that make exploration possible. One of those organisations is Protect Our Winters France, a charity that helps outdoor enthusiasts to protect the places and lifestyles they love from climate change. To find out more, we sat down Antoine Pin, Director of POW France.
PROTECT OUR WINTERS
The outdoor community, the people who work and play in the mountains see first-hand the drastic effects of climate change. The warming climate threatens what they love most. It makes snowfall more unpredictable. Seasons are shorter and ski resorts become more crowded. More avalanches and rockfall mean mountains become harder and more dangerous to navigate. The list goes on.
This year climate change was joined by another challenge: Covid-19. For the first time ever all resorts in the Alps closed. This was a massive blow to all the passionate mountain lovers, skiers, snowboarders, bikers, paragliders, hikers that support Protect Our Winters. But it was also a massive blow to its aim of raising awareness and educating people about climate change.
‘Lockdowns put an end to all our events that would have allowed us to meet people and address the questions about the climate,’ says Antoine. ‘So we’ve had to think differently.’
Luckily POW is made up of a group of passionate employees and volunteers who were able to adapt. ‘We’re developing new tools to meet our community digitally and continue to communicate our message.’
And a big part of that message is communicating the impacts of travel to the mountains. ‘We encourage everyone to travel by foot, bike, skis – all tools that allow you to move with strength and explore nature and look at what’s there, right around you.’
And this is a message that the global pandemic has actually lifted: this idea of thinking differently about travel and exploring closer to home. We might not all have the Alps on our doorstep, but nature – in some shape or form – is never far away. Sometimes, from the biggest challenges are eyes are opened to what’s right in front of us.
‘We all have a common fight, global warming,’ says Antoine. ‘We need to come together so we can enjoy these sports and nature for years to come.’
The story of Protect Our Winters is one of many. Through the extra Covid-19 funding of the Explore Fund we’ve been able to help more than 20 different organisations and groups that make exploration possible. Here are seven more of those stories: