School outreach, social media campaign aims to empower youth
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Ski and snowboard pros like Gretchen Bleiler and Jeremy Jones don’t need the IPCC to tell them that climate change is already having big impacts — they’ve been experiencing the changes first-hand for years. And as part of the Protect Our Winters campaign, they’ve taken their action-oriented message from the halls of Congress to the auditoriums at schools around the country. This month, POW relaunched its “Hot Planet/Cool Athletes” program to bring that perspective into classrooms.
The goal is to explain climate change in an engaging way, and to inspire and empower students to become involved in the movement to protect the winter sports and winter mountain environment. Sponsored by The North Face, and in association with Clif Bar, Mountain Equipment Co-Op and Teton Gravity Research, the program has already been presented to more than 20,000 students at 41 schools nationwide since 2011.
The new format for 2013 continues to educate students about climate change, combining engaging action sports footage and understandable climate science with first hand athlete’s perspectives and a call to action that truly breaks through to students and gives them the tools to be part of the solution.
Pro athletes such as Gretchen Bleiler, Jeremy Jones, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Ingrid Backstrom, Lucas Debari, Danny Davis and Angel Collinson are featured in the video project, with many others scheduled for in-person school appearances.
“Young people have the most to gain and the most to lose, by taking care of this earth and solving climate change right now,” said POW advocate Sage Cattabriga-Alosa.“They should be empowered to take care of their environment and see that they can actually influence adults, their parents, and the people around them.”
The program kicked off this school semester and will continue throughout the school year in places such as Vancouver BC, Seattle, Santa Barbara, Burlington, Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver and many others. To book a school assembly, please contact POW at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Along with school presentations, POW is launching a hash-tagged social media campaign focused around an urgent call to action that invites students to become POW Student Climate Leaders.
POW can track the hashtag to provide meaningful climate actions directly back to each student. As students become more involved in the campaign by using the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, they will have opportunities to win great prizes from brands like The North Face and Clif Bar and the chance to spend time with professional athletes discussing climate change or joining POW representatives on Capitol Hill.
“We’ve got to create a social movement starting with young kids who will be the most affected, and we feel that this component of the program is a critical step in making a difference,” said POW director Chris Steinkamp.”By using social media as a backbone for it, we’re connecting with students on their terms and starting that movement with meaningful results,” he said.
The new program also provides benefits to the students and their schools. The Shane McConkey Foundation is inviting student teams that host a Hot Planet / Cool Athletes assembly this fall to compete against each other by submitting cutting carbon ideas for their schools, for a chance to win $10,000 in total prize money to be awarded on Earth Day, 2014.