This isn’t so much a prediction as a worry. Let me explain with a quote from a guest post by Alex Kaufman:
“The amount of green talk throughout skidom is exhaustive. We see it everyday…
In the end this is a business built on the wealthy travelling long distances to locations cut into pristine wilderness so that they can enjoy a sport that consumes an obscene amount of fossil fuels to provide.”
Why would I let him say something so direct that paints our industry in a hypocritical light?
Because he’s right.
The Tricky Torch
A lot of groups are trying to get skiers to carry the torch in the fight against climate change.
And why not? What better motivation can you find than losing a sport with such deep emotional ties and roots. But if this initiative succeeds, I can also picture it backfiring no matter how needed or well-meaning these efforts are.
Let me see if I can paint the imperfect picture I’m seeing.
Let’s fast forward a year or two or ten. These groups have succeeded and skiers are prominent, influential leaders in a crusade to curb rising temps or even just the most popular group among fighters.
Then one day a news guy, looking for a story, notices what Alex pointed out. His headline and pre-commercial hook might read,
“Climate Change Leadership May be Causing Global Warming:
John Doe, leader of Climate Change group XYZ, drives 5 hours in an SUV alone, every weekend, to support a company that only exists because of deforestation and a massive coal-fed electric bill.
And he wants YOU to change your lifestyle to support his habit…”
Our culture LOVES a scandal and that’s exactly what this would look like: a group telling other people to change their behavior to solve a problem that appears to be exacerbated by their own.
It won’t matter what our impact really is, it will matter what it looks like. This may not happen in 2014 and it may not be bigger than a local paper, but in our headline-hungry world that will spin anything for some pageviews, I can’t help but think that, on some scale, it’s inevitable.
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