Big-mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones has long been an environmental activist — Jones founded the climate change nonprofit Protect Our Winters — and on Wednesday he brought his activism to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to testify in front of Congress about the impact climate change is having on the outdoor recreational industry.
(For those eager to hear his testimony, Jones speaks at around 46:50, 1:09:32, 1:28:30 in the video)
Jones offered multiple pointed anecdotes throughout his opening remarks to the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, including a story about witnessing the glaciers recede in Chamonix, France, in his lifetime.
Jones was also direct in his responses to inquiries from members of the subcommittee, telling U.S. Representative Janice Schakowsky that recent attempts to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency are “incredibly disheartening” and telling U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell that if the U.S. was to pull out of the United Nations’ Paris Agreement the consequences would be “very bad.”
The fact climate change is a political issue is our biggest hurdle in embracing real solutions on climate change. I wish this was not the case. When I started POW I really tried to stay away from the politics of it. But the Bush/Gore election made it political and we have been struggling for real action ever since. The US is the only industrialized country that does not embrace the science behind climate change. We’re still debating whether it’s real, while the rest of the world has moved on to clean energy innovation and leadership. Show up and send a message Saturday at the #peoplesclimatemarch that business as usual is no longer acceptable. Find a march near you at @protectourwinters #depoliticizeclimatechange #idratherbesnowboarding
Jones preached the need to prioritize the longterm health of the planet and to not allow climate change to be a partisan issue throughout his time on Capitol Hill. He also emphasized the point that climate change is already hurting the outdoor recreation industry.
Jones’ testimony comes at a time when more figures within the outdoor industry are making their voices heard in politics.
This week, the Outdoor Industry Association released its annual report showing that Americans spend around $887 billion each year in outdoor recreation. Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association, told the Denver Post she hoped the report would encourage Congress to focus on protecting public lands.
The day after that report was released, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that put the federally protected status of certain national monuments at risk. Shortly thereafter, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario published an open letter calling Trump’s actions “hypocritical” and encouraged citizens to speak out against the executive order.
Read more about the outdoor industry’s fight against climate change