Flexing new political muscle, the outdoor industry unites for a historic push against #climatechange — The Colorado Sun #ActOnClimate

Recreational vehicle: Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

From The Colorado Sun (Jason Blevins):

In Denver, an alliance of ski and outdoor organizations resolves to tackle “the most pressing environmental issue of our time”

Kicking off the annual Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in downtown Denver, three of the industry’s largest trade groups announced the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership. The alliance of Boulder’s Outdoor Industry Association, SnowSports Industries America and the National Ski Areas Association will not only encourage their thousands of members to embrace a lighter carbon footprint but will use its surging political clout to encourage policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy at state and utility levels.

“Without a doubt, climate change is something that needs attention from all of us,” said Nick Sargent, the head of SIA, the non-profit, member-owned trade association that represents thousands of snow sports suppliers and retailers. “It is truly the most pressing environmental issue of our time.”

Wednesday’s call to arms urged the thousands of businesses that feed the country’s $887 billion outdoor recreation economy to lead a movement against a warming climate that threatens livelihoods and lifestyles.

OIA, which represents 1,300 outdoor manufacturers, suppliers and retailers, has spent the last decade assembling tools to help its members reduce their environmental impacts. By partnering with NSAA and SIA, the group now hopes to begin pushing for state and federal climate legislation. It’s a confident step into the political realm for an industry that is relishing its political muscle as one of the country’s most vibrant economic engines.

“Now is the time to offer action and every one of us to figure out how we are going to make a difference,” said Kelly Pawlak, the head of Lakewood’s NSAA, which represents more than 300 ski resorts and 400 businesses that supply those resorts. “Warming is happening faster than we expected, and the impacts are going to be greater. The time for climate action is now.”

Patricia Campbell, the president of the 18-property Vail Resorts, said: “Climate change is the biggest threat facing our community today.”

She pointed to her company’s 2017 commitment to have zero net carbon emissions, send zero waste to landfills and have a zero net operating impact on forests by 2030 as her company’s industry-leading strategy to protect the environment.

“We have a unique and special obligation to do the right thing by the environment,” she said.

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