Protect Our Winters leverages the outdoor industry to ensure the outdoor playgrounds we love are around for the next generation.

Shredding on freshly fallen snow. Hiking a gnarly out-and-back in pursuit of an epic view. Conquering crags up the side of a mountain. Jumping off a cliff into sparkling waters. Camping in remote woodlands. Outdoor adventures are one of life’s great privileges. But warming is threatening the natural places we relish exploring, and those who love the outdoors have enormous power to do something about it. 

That idea was the catalyst for Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit safeguarding the outdoor places and lifestyles we love from climate change. Avocado is proud to donate one percent of revenues to this vital organization through our partnership with 1% For the Planet

Read more: What Is 1% for the Planet?

“We’re really honored to be supported by Avocado — a company that has baked sustainability into its business model and products, while also supporting environmental organizations like POW across this complex and important issue,” says Torrey Udall, chief of staff at Protect Our Winters.   

In 2007, when worsening climate change resulted in dismal snowfall (and a handful of resort closures), Protect Our Winters founder and pro snowboarder Jeremey Jones couldn’t sit by idly. He quickly realized not many organizations were fighting to combat Earth’s warming temperatures. So, he created one.   

Jones and the Protect Our Winters team rally fellow athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as scientists, creatives, and business leaders, to protect the environment now and for future generations. 

“As we researched the potential of the outdoor industry, we found that 50 million people across the U.S. identify as outdoor enthusiasts. We refer to this as the ‘Outdoor State’” says Udall. “The importance of having a group with the size and influence of the Outdoor State is it brings non-traditional environmentalists to the table in a way that adds incredible power to the movement at a time and in the places that we need it most.” 

Protect Our Winters Team POW

Photo courtesy of Protect Our Winters and Holly Shankland Photography.

Read more: How ‘Black Folks Camp Too’ is Making the Outdoors More Diverse

Drastic and swift action to preserve our planet isn’t negotiable. The July 2022 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly spells out what we stand to lose if we drag our feet on climate change. Think widespread, rapid, and intensifying environmental degradation and natural disasters. And the margins are thin. 

If we want to continue to enjoy and explore our Earth’s vast, stunning landscapes, we must decrease carbon emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This is the only way to keep the planet from warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius — the tipping point at which we can expect irreversible environmental devastation like the collapse of the Greenland, west Antarctic, and two parts of the east Antarctic ice sheets.      

That’s why Protect Our Winters builds relationships with influential political leaders at the local, state, and federal levels to make sure that climate action is high on their radar — and their agendas. The organization leveraged political will and civic engagement to halt drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protected public lands from oil and gas drilling, and helped pass a bill in Colorado that will reduce carbon pollution in the state by 90 percent by 2050 compared to 2005 levels through a transition to renewables, reductions in methane pollution, a shift to electric vehicles, and increased building efficiencies. 

“Over 110 million tons of global warming pollution are introduced into the atmosphere every 24 hours. And while individual actions are the right thing to do, the issue requires that we pull on much larger levers to reduce emissions at the scale and on the timeline required,” says Udall. “In the U.S., that starts on Capitol Hill and the White House and will require leaders on both sides of the aisle to prioritize action on climate.”  

Protect Our Winters Team In DC

Photo courtesy of Protect Our Winters.

Read more: Why Every Degree Matters

In 2022, both Avocado and POW directly influenced the passage of the Infrastructure Reduction Act — the most impactful piece of clean energy legislation in our country’s history. As a member of the nonprofit advocacy group Ceres, Avocado signed a letter asking members of Congress to vote in favor of the bill. Meanwhile, POW’s leadership and ambassadors spent countless hours compelling senators to support the ambitious climate bill. 

And in the leadup to the midterm elections, POW launched a sophisticated nonpartisan voting campaign to get outdoor enthusiasts who typically only vote 40 to 50 percent of the time to participate in the midterms. “We reached 2.3 million voters, who are less likely to vote in states where many people’s lifestyles and in many cases livelihoods are centered around the outdoors. Many of these regions will also benefit economically from new investments in clean energy,” says Udall.

But the work is never done. Now, they’re ready for the next fight — bringing the clean energy roadmap laid out in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and Inflation Reduction Act to life. The legislation itself doesn’t reduce emissions. Instead, it incentivizes energy producers to invest in the clean energy and transportation transition, while also supporting new climate mitigation and adaptation projects. POW plans to support these efforts by dedicating a large part of its time to clean energy campaigns at the local and regional levels, says Udall. Specifically, their focus is on helping projects get permitted, connected, and transmitted across the grid. 

Protect Our Winters Outdoor Recreation

Photo courtesy of Protect Our Winters.

Read more: Why We Need to Go Beyond Electric Cars

“Our upcoming clean energy campaigns take the POW approach to support professional athletes, content creators, and business leaders in using their influence at the right moments and in the right locations,” says Udall. “There’s a lot of clean energy potential on the table. The hard work is to bring those projects to life as quickly as possible. The Outdoor State can be that necessary accelerant.”   

Here’s where you come in. Join Protect Our Winters in advocating for the protection and preservation of our outdoor playgrounds. Become a member of Team POW to help advance policies for renewable energy, sustainable jobs, and conservation. Or, strengthen their impact by donating to the cause.  

“Those of us who love the outdoors are seeing the impacts of climate and we have the ability to be part of the solution,” says Udall. “With more than 50 million of us who recreate outdoors in the U.S., together we have a large voice. Now let’s use our collective voice to protect our world for future generations.”

Have feedback on our story? Email [email protected] to let us know what you think!


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