August 28, 2020
With a backdrop of wildfires raging across the West, Western Resource Advocates convened a discussion on Aug. 25 at the Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit about the impacts of climate change on Utah’s $12.3 billion outdoor industry.
Moderated by WRA’s Utah Government Affairs Manager Nick Schou, the conversation focused on climate change’s impacts on Utah’s massive outdoor industry and how outdoor companies can take meaningful action by advocating for policies to advance a clean energy transition. The panelists included Utah State Rep. Steve Handy, Groupe Rossignol’s Nick Castagnoli, and Chris Steinkamp of Snowsports Industries America (SIA).
With climate change already starting to bear down on Utah’s outdoor industry, one of the winter industry’s largest companies and the national trade association have a clear sense of urgency. Areas such has Park City could seem quite different in the decades ahead, and some emissions models show that much of the state could lose skiing by 2100, particularly at lower elevations, Steinkamp said.
“Snow is our currency,” said Castagnoli, whose company has a broad approach toward mitigating its environmental impact, from developing more sustainable products and engaging in political advocacy to using its influence to clean up its vast supplier network. SIA is using its influence to drive policies to address climate change at the federal and state level and is partnering with WRA in Utah to elevate the voices of the powerful winter outdoor industry with local policy makers.
Rep. Handy, a Republican, gave some valuable insight into overcoming political challenges in creating policies to address climate change, which face resistance from some of his Utah Republican colleagues, despite clean energy being preferred by a majority of Utahns. “It’s just a matter of ongoing education,” said Handy. “You just have to be patient.”
For SIA and its member companies, the business case for advocating action on climate change is clear. “With young consumers asking their brands to lead on this, addressing climate change is both a moral imperative and a business imperative for our industry,” said Steinkamp. “No matter if you are a small or large company, get involved today.”
Read more about the panel discussion here: https://www.kuer.org/post/utah-outdoor-industry-urges-action-climate-change-talk-about-how-make-progress#stream/0