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Feb. 2, 2010
Mr. Jones goes to Washington

In an attempt to give representatives in congress a different view of global climate change, eight-time Big Mountain Snowboarder of the Year (and Team Clif Bar athlete) Jeremy Jones traveled to Washington last week to meet with key mountain states lawmakers, screen the short film Generations, and shred the infamous Nixon Chute on Capitol Hill. OK, there’s not really a chute on Capitol Hill, but if there were, Jeremy could shred it. Regardless, Jeremy, along with Chris Steinkamp, Executive Director of Protect Our Winters, Steve Jones, founder of Teton Gravity Research, and Clif Bar’s very own Director of Environmental Stewardship, Elysa Hammond, were in D.C. to emphasize the social and economic impact of climate change, as well as presenting the less-tangible, intrinsic values of snow from the perspective of the winter athletes on the front lines. For some needed scientific backup, the group was joined by Elizabeth Burakowski, PhD student in Earth Science at the Complex Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

The award-winning film Generations was screened in front of a theatre full of Congressmen, aides, staff and local environmental leaders. The North Face-sponsored film, released last fall by TGR and Protect Our Winters, discusses climate change through the perspectives of those for whom snowy winters have a deep personal significance. Rather than focusing on raw scientific data, Generations humanizes and contextualizes the debate on climate change by exploring the intrinsic value of snow to people across generations and cultures. The film features some of the world’s most accomplished skiers and snowboarders, including Jones. Following the screening, Jeremy Jones, Steve Jones, Hammond and Steinkamp hosted a Q&A session based on their experiences with climate change in the field, and demonstrated how winter sports enthusiasts everywhere can be part of the climate change solution.

The group also smartly outlined the negative effects climate change is having on the $6 billion winter sports industry. Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) summed up the situation perfectly, saying “The ski industry is the lifeblood of my district and climate change is already taking a toll. These athletes are on the front lines of this crisis, watching snow, ice and communities disappear all over the world. In sharing their story with Congress, they are sharing the stories of many communities who are all desperately watching their way of life disappear with the warming planet. While the loss of skiing isn’t the worst consequence of climate change, these individuals show us how we all stand to be personally affected by this global problem.” You go, Jared!

Jeremy Jones was obviously moved by the significance of his visit Washington. The goal of Generations, he said, was to “communicate the climate change we all see every day, to as many people as possible. Being here on Capitol Hill a year later, talking with the individuals who are literally deciding how climate change will affect us for generations is one of the most important things I’ve ever done.”

As important as this group’s mission to Washington was, though, we can all agree that the best part was seeing Jeremy Jones in a suit.

(sidenote: watch the trailer for Generations on
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Sustainability, Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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