By David Wise, professional skier, Olympian and Protect Our Winters Alliance Member
I’m a Nevadan, born and bred. I grew up in Reno and by the age of 3, my father put me on skis at Sky Tavern. At 8, I began ski racing with my older sisters. Given my only goal in racing was to go as fast and as high as possible, at 11, I dropped into a halfpipe, and I knew I would never turn back. This passion has led me to an incredibly rewarding career competing in freestyle skiing around the world, and I am proud to have worked hard enough to top podiums as a four-time X Games Gold Medalist and a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Sochi, Russia, and PyeongChang, South Korea.
In the offseason, I savor my time in Northern Nevada, enjoying everything from mountain biking to archery to spending time along the Truckee River at my home in Verdi with my wife and my two children, who are 4 and 7.
As a competitive skier, I’ve watched through the course of my career winters become more and more volatile, and I’ve seen glaciers I visit each year get smaller and smaller. In the professional winter sports community, we like to say we’re the canaries in the mine, we’re the ones highest up, furthest back, and we are seeing the effects of climate change first-hand. As an outdoorsman, I find that concerning. As a father, that compels me to act.
This past year, I launched what I’d call a passion project, called ‘Wise Off The Grid.’ Through social media, it gives followers the chance to learn more about my family’s work to reduce our carbon footprint, from growing our food to harvesting our meat to powering our home with solar energy. Our family’s goal is to live completely off the grid.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where individual change isn’t going to be enough to achieve a stable climate. We need our lawmakers – in Nevada and across the country – to help us in passing systemic policy change to drive down carbon emissions at a much larger scale. We need our elected leaders to help us ensure that the everyday choices we make as individuals and as families are good for the climate and good for our future.
Fortunately, Nevada lawmakers heard our call for a clean energy future, and recently passed legislation, SB-358, to increase our state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent by 2030. This is a win for both our environment and our economy.
The new Renewable Portfolio Standard law will make sure that Nevada electricity providers meet at least 50 percent of our energy needs with renewable energy by 2030. This will lead to more clean energy jobs for Nevadans, lower carbon emissions, and better air quality in our state. It also means Nevada is taking additional steps to do our part to limit warming and address climate change.
The Renewable Portfolio Standard bill was recently signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak. It received unanimous support in both the Nevada Senate and Assembly – that’s a big deal and it shows Nevadans, from the business community to environmental advocates to community activists, support this path to a clean energy future.
In my role as an Alliance Member of Protect our Winters, I testified in support of the Renewable Portfolio Standard bill in the Assembly alongside professional skier Max Hammer and professional snowboarder Tim Eddy, both of Reno. The three of us exemplify the economics of winter; if winter doesn’t go on, Nevada’s outdoor economy and our careers heavily suffer. But it doesn’t stop there. When outdoor businesses make less money, it trickles down to athletes, and it trickles down to Nevada families wanting to access places we all love and live a healthy lifestyle.
We asked our lawmakers to support this bill for the future of our sport, our beloved outdoors, and the future of our families. We’re glad they listened to Nevadans.
About the author:
David Wise is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in halfpipe skiing and is a Protect Our Winters Alliance member. He lives in Verdi, Nevada, with his wife and two children. Protect Our Winters and WRA were part of a coalition of conservation, business, and community groups advocating for Nevada’s RPS legislation.