To Preserve and Protect

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From an acronym point of view, POW is off to a great start. The climate change advocacy group, Protect Our Winters, has a mission of safeguarding future dumps of deep, dry powder and the season that brings them.


It’s been spreading awareness and lobbying politicians in the U.S. for a decade. This fall, a group of Canadians launched a chapter in the country much of the world thinks has nothing but winter. The plan: mobilize outdoor athletes and businesses to remind snow-loving Canadians what’s at stake.

It launched the same week that PM Trudeau detailed plans for a federal backstop ensuring a nation-wide price on carbon, which came on the heels of Ontario Premier Doug Ford dismantling a cap-and-trade system, breaking 758 renewable energy contracts and cancelling an energy efficiency retrofit program.

Polls show Canadians want action on climate change, but Marie-France Roy, POW’s vice-chair of the board of directors, acknowledges that the group has an uphill slog. “People don’t want to hear bad news,” says the professional snowboarder who recently sold her truck and snowmobile. Still, bad news may be unavoidable, she says. “It’s already happening, and it’s going to get worse. From a business point of view, one bad snow year affects the whole industry.”

Roy grew up in a very powdery part of Eastern Canada, Charlevoix, Quebec, a country upbringing she credits with instilling an appreciation for nature. She knows not everyone gets that—and that’s where the athletes come in. “You can reach kids well with athletes,” she says, pointing out POW school visits have connected with 45,000 students in the U.S.

For now, POW Canada wants to create a bank of supporters, the first snowflakes of a nationwide dump.

by IAN MERRINGER in December 2018 issue

Ian Merringer
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