Archive for the ‘News’ Category

2020 Year In Review

Posted on: December 29th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

OUR MISSION: Our mission is to turn passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates. Protect Our Winters Canada is a passionate community of enthusiasts, professional athletes and industry brands uniting the outdoor community to address climate change. We believe our love of adventure in nature demands our participation in the fight to save and protect it. 

OUR VISION: For our communities and outdoor playgrounds to be healthy, safe, and resilient to a changing climate, we envision a future where we’ve transformed our economy and energy systems and cut our carbon emissions in-line with science-based targets the world agreed to in the Paris Climate Agreement.

GROWTH & CAPACITY BUILDING: Despite the social gathering restrictions (limiting events and activations) as well as financial hardships presented in 2020, we increased our membership (32%), social media audience (%27), volunteer base (34%), support from individual donors (48%) and size of our partner network (+7) which will ultimately supercharge our work in 2021. 

POLICY ADVOCACY: In collaboration with our partners at Pembina Institute (Canada’s leading climate policy think-tank), we advocated for a Green & Just Recovery through our #NewPath campaign which elevated Pembina’s Green Stimulus Report. Over the course of 4 days, POW members sent over 11,000 emails to elected officials tasked with creating Canada’s post COVID stimulus plan. This massive effort resulted in POW Canada’s executive director being invited to participate in the Federal Government’s Roundtable for a Green Recovery which informed the governments recovery strategy and ultimately shaped their new net-zero framework. Most importantly, it pushed POW Canada’s mission and vision front and centre with national policy makers which created channels and relationships for further advocacy.

CAMPAIGNS: We had three major climate policy wins in 2020 as a result of the development and execution of the following campaigns: #RejectTeck, #NewPath and #DeclineTheMine. All campaigns achieved their desired outcome, but the success of our #NewPath campaign (advocating for a green recovery) gained national attention and resulted in POW Canada being invited to participate in the Federal Government’s Roundtable for a Green Recovery. Ultimately 5 of our 6 policy asks were incorporated into the government’s strategy.

#REJECTTECK OVERVIEW: POW Canada was part of a strategic coalition of NGOs uniting to block Teck Resources proposed the Frontier Mine, which would have been the largest tar sands project in the world. Luckily 31,928 Canadians engaged in climate ac it tion by signing petitions including 4341 POW Canada members (engagement rate of 40%) who sent emails to politicians eventually leading to the abandonment of this project. Each email stopped 1382 tons of CO 2 per year from going into the atmosphere which is equivalent to stopping the emissions of an average Canadian for their entire lifetime of 82 years.

#DECLINETHEMINE OVERVIEW: Coalspur’s Vista Mine, was planning for a massive expansion that would have put Canada well out of reach of the Paris Climate Agreement. Coalspur was using evasive tactics to avoid an environmental assessment which was called out by our ally Ecojustice. POW stepped in and built a social advocacy campaign resulting in 4318 engaged POW Canada members (engagement rate of 40%) writing letters/emails to the Alberta and Canadian governments demanding Coalspur Vista Mines face an environmental assessment which was ultimately mandated.  Each one of POW Canada member letters helped ensure 7,642 tons of CO 2 remain in the ground. That is equivalent to a full Boeing 747 flying 17 round trip transatlantic flights.

#PRESEASONSTOKE OVERVIEW: 2021 was a heavy year in many respects and our #preseasonstoke campaign was designed to give outdoor enthusiasts something positive to focus on and engage with. In October, enthusiasts were asked to put on their seasonal best including their gear (from helmets to boots/skis), head outside and capture their excitement with a video or photo. The content was then shared on Instagram and participants then challenged friends to do the same. We had 421 entries with a hashtag reach of over 2.8 million .  Stay tuned for another addition of #preseasonstoke in fall 2021.

RESEARCH: In October we released Losing Our Cool: The Future of Snowsports in a Warmer World which was an extensive research project led by POW Canada researchers Natalie Knowles and Brooklyn Rushton in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change at the University of Waterloo.  The report looked back at the conditions experienced in the 1960’s when Nancy Greene won her gold medal and contrasted them to 2010 when POW ambassador Ashleigh McIvor won her gold medal during the Vancouver Olympic Games.. Using the latest in climate modelling technology the report predicts how snowsports across Canada will be impacted by 2050 and 2080 on our current path. Psssst……..it’s not good. 

REGIONAL CHAPTERS: Thanks to the hard work of Izzy Lynch and engagement organizing guru Matt Price, 2020 was also a year to solidify our framework and strategy for our regional chapter program. We now have 11 chapters across Canada, led by trained and committed volunteers using the principles of engagement organizing. These grassroots chapters are trained, resourced and ready to unleash climate campaigns locally/regionally. On January 4, Emilie Grenier will join the POW Canada team as Community Engagement Coordinator to lead our grassroots chapter strategy and supercharge them for effective organizing around campaigns and events. 

HOT PLANET COOL ATHLETES: COVID provided the opportunity to re-deploy Hot Planet Cool Athletes in a digitized format for widespread reach and engagement. Specifically we created 4 new elements in our HPCA Toolkit in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change at the University of Waterloo: 

#1. New interactive website 

#2. Plug and play video presentation with option for virtual athlete host 

#3. New Illuminate video game 

#4. The Climate Educator’s Resource Portal (first of its kind in Canada) with searchable, curriculum based material to aid in climate education.     

PROGRAMS: Growing our membership base continues to be a priority for POW Canada. To support this objective we created two new programs: Resort Program and Retailer Program. The resort program is best described as a creative marketing opportunity for resorts to see how far they can push POW’s message for climate action with members and guests. Several of Canada’s largest resorts have joined as founding members (Mont Tremblant and Blue Mountain) and interest is strong from across the country. Knowing everyone who steps into an outdoor retailer is a potential climate advocate, the Retail Program introduces POW Canada’s mission and vision through instore signage and displays with a call to action to join the movement. 

TRAINING & EDUCATION: There were a lot of firsts in 2020 and creating a virtual training and leadership summit for our athletes and partners was one of them. Although it’s hard to replicate the impact, experience and knowledge sharing of a 3 day, 2 night in-person retreat, the virtual session provided other unique opportunities.  With the virtual format, not only was the need to travel eliminated but participants were able to join for specific sessions over the day based on what their schedule permitted, resulting in over 70 people participating throughout the day. Sessions included: the POWer of Social Movements with Harvard Professor Naomi Oreskes, Unravelling Your Unconscious Bias with DEI consultant Amil Reddy and Passion Into Purpose with POW Board Chair Mike Douglas.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION: POW Canada’s mission is to unite and organize the outdoor community to take action against climate change. When we say the outdoor community, we mean mobilizing EVERYONE who appreciates and enjoys the outdoors regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, disability, status, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique. To date, our story has lacked representation of many communities. We recognize that diversity and equity in the outdoor space are integral to solving climate change. The more opportunities that are available for participation in the outdoors for ALL, the more chances we have at protecting it. We have created a robust and practical DEI Action Plan with targets that will lead to meaningful change. You can find our full DEI Action Plan at www.protectourwinters.ca/everyone

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2021 Resolution: Form healthy climate habits with the POW 12 Month Climate Challenge

Posted on: December 17th, 2020 by Izzy Lynch

We can all agree that 2020 was a difficult year, and with the New Year rolling around we all hope 2021 will be a better year than the last. Since this is the time for resolutions and new commitments for personal growth, we thought we would help to inspire some new habits that are good for you and good for the planet. This is why POW is introducing the 12 month challenge. This year-long campaign will feature one challenge for every month; each designed to help you build some new habits, kick bad habits to the curb, or to reinforce good habits that you already have! With incentives like reducing your carbon footprint and amazing prizes from our sponsors- what’s not to join?

Before we dive into this year, here’s a refresher on what habits are how we can adapt them to live more sustainably.

There are many specific definitions of what a habit is, in general, it can be said that a habit is a behavioural pattern that we repeat at regular intervals, such that the repetition serves to improve our ability and familiarity with the behavioural pattern. Typically, if the behavioural pattern is repeated often enough, it becomes so ingrained in our daily lives that we carry it out with little to no conscious thought. It goes without saying that there are good and bad habits, and that we all have some of each come and go in our daily lives.

Habits are formed through repetitive behaviours, driven by what experts call a habit-loop. Put simply, a habit-loop is a way to describe the three most basic components of a habit: cue, behaviour, and reward. The cue is an event which an individual responds to, which prompts them to engage in a specific behaviour in order to achieve a desired reward. An example of a ‘bad’ habit-loop would be: stress (cue) causing someone to have a cigarette (behaviour), leading to a reduction in stress (reward). An example of a ‘good’ habit-loop would be: a confrontation (cue) leading to someone taking 5 minutes to calm down (behaviour), leading to a calmer and less destructive resolution (reward). You get the idea.

Some of us have habits that we likely are not even aware of. More often than not, creating or breaking habits does not come naturally to most people – it requires consideration, effort and time.

Isn’t a routine the same thing as a habit? Routines and habits are similar in that they both involve repetitive behaviours, but they differ in one key aspect. A habit is a behaviour which is the result of an impulse, while a routine is often something that you choose to do consciously because you feel as though you must. For example, one might have to consciously decide to drink their coffee without cream or sugar, knowing that the reward – in terms of health benefits – accumulates over time. A routine becomes a habit when it is done so regularly that your mind automatically associates the behaviour with the reward.

Now, back to POW and the 12 month challenge. The prevailing idea of the 12 month challenge is intrinsically connected to habit forming. Habits can be formed in a few weeks – though sometimes they take much longer than this. The idea is that every month we inspire people like you to do two things: alter your behaviours in an environmentally friendly way, and repeat these behaviours until they become habits that you perform unconsciously. Hopefully by the end of each month you have formed at least one good habit -or conquered a bad one!- that helps in the fight against climate change. Not every one of the challenges will be entirely about forming different habits, but many of them will be!

Here are some tips for habit forming to help you when considering the coming challenges.

  1. Start small and increase in measured steps. Imagine a person trying to eliminate single-use plastic (could this be a hint? Wink wink) from their life. It is so prevalent in all aspects of our way of life that this person would have to significantly change dozens of their behaviours overnight to eliminate all single use plastics immediately – this makes the process daunting and seemingly unattainable. Instead this person could eliminate or change all of their behaviours that use plastic straws – perhaps they could use a metal straw, or do away with straws altogether. Once they have mastered that particular behaviour they could start working on a new behaviour to change – like using tupperware instead of saran wrap.
  2. Progress over perfection. For those of you familiar with POW’s messaging this should come as no surprise. Any step in the right direction should be recognized and celebrated. It is no different for forming good habits. Perhaps the individual in the above example did great and avoided using plastic straws for 6 days, then forgot to ask their server to withhold a straw from their drink. Instead of framing the experience as a failure to avoid plastic straws one time, they should instead frame the entire week as an 86% success rate! Do not let hiccups discourage you from continuing. We are all human and we are all bound to make mistakes, what is important is to focus on progress.
  3. Remember the benefits. There are many benefits to forming habits with environmentally friendly living in mind. The most obvious being the effect they have on climate change and the environment. There are often secondary benefits to these habits that can often be overlooked. Spend some time thinking about what other benefits might befall you by participating in the 12 months challenges. Walking or bicycling instead of driving is not only a great way to reduce emissions, but it will also save you money in vehicle maintenance and fuel cost, and get some extra exercise in the week!

Sometimes it may seem like altering a tiny part of your daily routine is an insignificant gesture in the face of climate change. It is important to keep in mind however, that more often than not it is not just one person acting. Together, our individual actions will add up to make a massive difference!

Sign up here to join our 12 Month Climate Challenge today and together we will build some great habits!

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For more information on forming good habits – or breaking bad ones – check out some of these links:

https://edugage.com/what-is-a-habit-definition-facts-guide/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/habit-formation

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/functioning-flourishing/201911/3-simple-hacks-building-healthy-habits

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/automatic-you/201601/is-how-make-yourself-do-what-you-need-do

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/18-tricks-to-make-new-habits-stick.html

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Posted on: December 15th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

To date, our story has lacked representation of many communities. We recognize that diversity and equity in the outdoor space are integral to solving climate change. The more opportunities that are available for participation in the outdoors for ALL, the more chances we have at protecting it. In response to this, we have created a robust and practical DEI Action Plan with targets that will lead to meaningful change

DEI-Suggested-Messaging

We’re Hiring: Community Coordinator!

Posted on: November 24th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

Role Description

Community Coordinator is a new position aimed at strengthening, growing and better resourcing our membership base including place-based (regional chapters) and distributed (remote) organizing. The Community Coordinator is responsible for designing and delivering effective organizing programs to ensure the growth and success of our movement.

The Community Coordinator will help develop the organizing priorities of the organization, lead the planning and execution of organizing tactics, communication strategies, volunteer training and maintain databases and digital tools to keep this all on track.

Overview:

Protect Our Winters Canada is a passionate community of enthusiasts, professional athletes and industry brands uniting the outdoor community to advocate for policy solutions to climate change. We believe our love of adventure in nature demands our participation in the fight to save and protect it. Our mission is to turn passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates.

Our POWer comes from our community and we want to design a strategy and system to effectively engage them in the fight to save and protect the places and experiences we love.

We welcome and value the contributions of individuals who identify as members of marginalized communities  to our organization, and encourage Indigenous people, people of colour, women, people identifying as LGBTQI, members of ethnic minorities, immigrants and people living with disabilities to apply.

Hours & Compensation:

This is a part-time position (30 hours per week) with the hope of full-time hours by Q4 2021. Compensation within the range of $20-$25 per hour based on experience plus health benefits.

Experience:

  • A passion for organizing people, events and campaigns. Specific experience with engagement organizing is an asset, but not a requirement
  • Strong value alignment with POW’s mission and vision and an interest in regional, provincial or national politics and climate action. 
  • Bilingual in French and English
  • Strong communication skills including a desire to work as part of a remote team
  • Implementing and/or maintaining CRM solutions such as NationBuilder or Salesforce
  • Proven experience managing teams and philosophical alignment with grassroots organizing (distributed leadership) principles 
  • Comfortable with fundraising and grant writing  

Why You’ll love Working at POW Canada:

  • A flexible and friendly remote work environment
  • Fair compensation and employee health benefits
  • Opportunities for professional development, adventures and networking
  • Purposeful work, that creates a tangible, measurable difference
  • POW Canada is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified persons are encouraged to apply regardless of their religious affiliation, race, age, sex, sexual orientation or nature of disability

Tasks & Responsibilities:

Organizing Strategy and Plans

  • Work with the team staff (especially the Program Director) to develop organizing strategies that set the organization on track to deliver on strategic priorities. These strategic plans will include organizing tactics, volunteer and member recruitment, campaign development and training plans
  • Create and deliver high-quality, thoughtful organizing campaigns, using your creativity to design and implement inspiring and impactful journeys with clear theories of change
  • Help set organizing targets and monitor organizing campaigns to see if the goals are being achieved
  • Help with data-driven and qualitative evaluation of our organizing efforts

Organizing Tactics

  • Recruit, train, support and retain volunteers
  • Develop and manage organizing tactics for in-place and distributed organizing; canvassing, peer-to-peer texting, bird-dogging, and data entry
  • Build relationships with volunteers and external community partners
  • Plan and execute events

Communications + Training

  • Develop an ladder of engagement for onboarding people into the movement with ways to bring them deeper into the organization with clear goals and objectives
  • Prepare campaign and organizing resources like toolkits, posters, brochures, etc.
  • Work with chapter leaders to develop guidelines and best practices around communications (social media and email) 
  • Plan and deliver trainings, orientations and events (on and offline) that build leadership and volunteer capacity

Data + Tech

  • Lead the implementation and management of a CRM software tool
  • Help create and maintain tracking systems for organizing — including thoughtful user journeys to deepen engagement and customize communication
  • Track potential and current volunteers for place-based and distributed organizing
  • Provide tech and digital campaigning support as needed

TO APPLY, please send your cover letter and resume to David Erb, Executive Director (dave@protectourwinters.ca) and Izzy Lynch, Program Director  (izzy@protectourwinters.ca). The deadline for applications is Monday December 14th with a start date of January 2021. Only applicants who are selected for an interview will be contacted.

POW Canada: What We Actually Do!

Posted on: October 19th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

We’re often asked, “what does POW actually do”. Good question and first off, we know we need to do a better job of clearly communicating our mission and work. At the moment, the most effective way is to share our annual report with people, as it highlights the key accomplishments from the previous year. In 2020, we have MANY wins under our belt on a number of important policy initiatives and advocacy campaigns – stay tuned for our 2020 Annual Report. So, take a look. We think you’ll be impressed with what our community has accomplished to date and with our plans for further climate action.

POW-Canada-2019-Annual-Report

Merchants of Doubt

Posted on: September 30th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

Understanding the POWer of movements and the forces working to suppress progress is important baseline information when working for climate action. Each fall we gather our ambassadors, partners and other stakeholders for a multi-day training session to review the latest in climate science, strategy, objectives and campaigns. This year, for obvious reasons, the retreat was condensed to one day and held virtually via zoom. Although in-person is more effective and engaging, this year’s format allowed for greater participation from ambassadors (often at training camps or events at this time of year) and partners (heads down in marketing and comms plans) – plus it was a win from a budget and carbon standpoint. We view all POW members as ambassadors and want to ensure everyone has the same access to training and materials to help build the movement. In that spirit, we’re pleased to share video recordings of the full, unedited sessions including renowned Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes (author of Merchants of Doubt) discussion on the POWer of social movements on climate.

China throws down the gauntlet with progressive plan to carbon neutrality

Posted on: September 29th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

When you talk to people about progress on climate change, how often do you hear “well our emissions are nothing compared to China and until they take it seriously, why should we?”.  Well, China just unveiled what Bloomberg Green is calling “the most ambitious climate goal the world’s ever seen” with solar capacity growing by 587%, nuclear by 382%, wind by 346%, bioenergy by 100%, and hydropower by 50% by 2060. Coal consumption falls by 96%, gas by 75%, and oil by 65%. The plan was released this week at Tsinghua University in Beijing by the government-affiliated Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy. The proposed “blueprint” would see the country invest $15 Trillion (yes, that’s a T) USD over the next 30 years leading to new jobs, new industry and new hope for the global climate movement. Read the full article here.  

#NewPath: Campaign Summary

Posted on: June 30th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

Carrying momentum from the #RejectTeck campaign, we had high hopes for massive engagement from members, ambassadors and brands during our #NewPath Campaign. Although our Enthusiast to Advocate Tool is still live for anyone wanting to send emails – click here if you haven’t sent yours yet – the early analytics indicate MASSIVE engagement across the board. A total of 10,367 emails were sent to the five key decision makers tasked with developing the economic stimulus package needed to kick start the economy.

Collectively, our community sent 10,367 emails to the 5 key decision makers tasked with developing the economic stimulus package needed to kick start the economy.  If you take a deep dive into the analytics it boils down to a 20 % engagement rate. That’s CRAZY (CRAZY GOOD).

As icing on the cake, our partners came together to send a very strong letter of support for the principles and recommendations within the #NewPath campaign. Click here to read the letter

Over the next few weeks we’ll eagerly wait to see how our collective action will translate to change. Thank you to everyone to our members, partners and ambassadors for coming together to help us create a #NewPath toward a green & just recovery.

#NewPath: Letter from Partners to MPs & PM

Posted on: May 30th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada

We have THE BEST partners out there. We know the outdoor industry is massive and with that comes significant political and economic influence. These brands are committed to elevating POW Canada’s policy agenda at a national level which is part of our secret sauce for real climate action.