Climate Activist AwardPresented by Protect Our Winters
Photo: Kate Holstein
In the midst of one of the most epic snow years since 2006, it's easy to forget that climate change is still the greatest challenge snowboarders face. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced that 2015 was the earth's warmest year on record by the widest margin, smashing through the last record set in 2014. Unless we drastically reduce global carbon emissions, the warming trend will continue. As snowboarders, we're one of the first groups to feel the effects of climate change firsthand.
That's why Gretchen Bleiler's constant voice in the fight against climate change is so important. As one of the most recognizable names in women's snowboarding, she has leveraged her star power as an Olympian and multiple X Games medalist to lobby politicians in Washington, DC, worked with the White House to promote the Clean Power Plan, and helped educate thousands of students about climate change issues through public speaking. Most recently, she spoke at the Sustainable Innovation Forum during the landmark COP21 climate conference in Paris about the need create a true social movement focused on combating climate change.
Gretchen was one of the first snowboarders to join the Protect Our Winters Riders Alliance and as a long-standing member of the POW board of directors, she has proven time and again that she won't stop until a sustainable world is a reality.
For all these reasons, when it came time to select candidates for the second annual Climate Activist award, Gretchen was at the top of the list. To choose nominees, TransWorld SNOWboarding and Protect Our Winters looked for riders who inspired others, took meaningful action, and did something notable in the past year in the fight against climate change.