Protect Our Winters Aotearoa connects passionate outdoor enthusiasts and everyone who loves and needs winter to generate positive climate outcomes. We focus on educational initiatives and community-based empowerment to preserve New Zealand’s’ alpine playground.
We are engaging individuals, groups and businesses in our outdoor community. We are connecting everyone through their love of winter and passion for the outdoors and educating them on the risks of climate change, empowering them to take effective action and encouraging them and supporting them to do so. Winter sports and outdoor sports are uniquely affected by climate change and we want to give people the confidence not only to take action to protect what they love but also to know that the action they are taking is effective.
Climate change is already affecting our winters, and the snowsports and outdoor recreation industries. Snow lines are rising and winters are shorter. The past decade has been the warmest on record. Locally, the New Zealand Alps have lost a third of their ice snowpack since 1977 and NIWA has stated that 2018 is New Zealand’s warmest start to a year ever.
Protect Our Winters formed in 2007, by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones. He found that more and more resorts he’d always counted on for good riding were closed due to lack of snow. Something was clearly going on. He felt the need to act. But organisations focused on mobilising the snowsports community on climate didn’t exist—there was a gap between the impacts that climate change was already having on our mountains, and any organised action being taken to address it. And so he founded Protect Our Winters.
Since then, the movement has grown to include the wider outdoor sports community. Their playgrounds and livelihoods also depend on healthy winters. Protect Our Winters has grown from a kernel of an idea into a worldwide network of over 130,000 supporters – a social movement on climate, designed to activate a passionate community and create the will for meaningful climate outcomes across the globe.
Protect Our Winters has recently launched it’s New Zealand chapter in 2018. We get to help dictate the outcome right now. If not, we won’t be worried about powder days, tourism or having fun. We’ll be worried about the stability of our environment, our jobs and our economy.