Jeremy Jones made the most of his visit today. President Barack Obama named Jones a Champion of Change—an honor given to those who make an exceptional difference in their community—for his work with climate change nonprofit Protect Our Winters. In return, Jones gave the President a letter signed by 75 winter athletes—including Olympic alpine racer Julia Mancuso, professional freeskier Ingrid Backstrom, and ski mountaineers Chris Davenport and Kit DesLauriers—asking him to take action on clean energy and climate change. In December 2012, POW partnered with the National Resources Defense Council on a study that found winter tourism generates $12.2 billion in revenue annually and creates 212,000 jobs.An invitation to the White House doesn’t come often, so snowboarder
“We want President Obama and elected officials to step up and embrace clean energy for the future,” Jones said Tuesday. “Hopefully this will inspire them to do that.” In January’s State of the Union address, Obama encouraged Congress to find a market-based solution to climate change, and promised to act if Congress did not. The letter (read it here) asks Obama to cut carbon pollution from power plants, reject fossil fuel options like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and create more clean energy jobs.
Several signatories joined a conference call on Tuesday to discuss shortened winters in places like Tahoe, Aspen, and Alaska, and the harsh economic effects of warmer winters in mountain towns. “It’s time to let policymakers know climate change poses a serious threat to the places where we make our livelihoods—the places I hope to share with my children,” DesLauriers said. —Olivia Dwyer
Visit protectourwinters.org for more information.