Jeremy and the POW crew storm the steps of the US Capitol in Washington D.C. Photo - Forrest Woodward
I make hundreds of decisions in the mountains every year that could have dire consequences. To make the right decisions time and again requires me to be intimately in tune with snow - how it falls, how it sticks, what the subtle textures mean. In the early 2000’s I started seeing changes to the snowpack that were concerning. Like others in the mountains everyday, I did not need scientists, graphs or charts to know winters were becoming warmer, weather more extreme, and that glacier melt was accelerating.
By 2005 I was endorsing close to 20 products. I wanted to take a percentage of my signature products’ sales and put it toward action on climate change. Researching where to send my check to, I reached out to a few people doing environmental work for guidance. I kept hearing the same thing, “Your industry is not doing anything on the issue. You should start a NGO focused specifically on Climate Change.”
For over a year I tried to talk myself out of it. I was not bored, not looking for meaning, not looking for a reason to sit in conference rooms, classrooms or the halls of Congress. But my concerns continued to grow. The problem was not going away in reality or in my head. But who the hell was I to start a group about reducing carbon emissions? I was a poster child of carbon excess - a heli flying, high carbon spewing hypocrite who barely graduated high school.
But I knew the industry well and understood how it ticks. I knew the heads of the major companies, the editors of the biggest magazines, the makers of the movies. And I knew this could not be a “Jeremy Jones” climate change foundation. Only with a group effort did we have any chance of making an impact. So I cold called the best of the best - the smartest scientists and the most influential brand builders, content producers and athletes. Then I let those leaders and experts guide our efforts and pick our targets. Alongside those leaders, I focused on marketing Climate Change to the masses and inspiring people to get involved.
Politics were never part of the issue when it started. It is hard to imagine that now, but it was not long ago that a Republican who supported action on climate was running for president - Senator John McCain. POW’s first trip to Capital Hill was in 2011 to help push a Carbon Tax bill in Congress. That woke the sleeping giant. Soon the fossil fuel industry started ramping up their efforts to make Climate Change into the polarizing political issue that it is today. Party lines are now the front lines of the fight. We battle a Republican party soaked in oil money. The last election was devastating. It undid years of work in a matter of hours. Since then, my work with POW is my main priority. I am sick of losing the fight against Climate Change to politics.
Jeremy Jones gets down to business in the halls of the US Congress. Photo - Forrest Woodward
POW is partnered with less then 1% of the companies in the ski and snowboard industry. Our membership base, relative to how many people ski or ride, is a fraction of 1%. Despite our size, we are masters of fighting above our weight class. We’ve educated and inspired thousands of people to act on climate including members of Congress. But we need more support. Money is the single biggest issue holding us back from achieving our goals. We need more employees that get paid everyday to fight Climate Change.
POW turns ten this year. Now a decade in, what I am most proud of is the people that are apart of POW. I am just a cog in the wheel. Between the staff, Board of Directors, Rider’s Alliance and Science Alliance there are more than 100 people closely connected to POW. This gives me hope. We’ve assembled a strong team and we’re only getting better at what we do. Our voice is louder and more confident every day and we won’t stop speaking up.
THE STAKES ARE TOO HIGH.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Washington D.C. to demand action on climate change during the People’s Climate March in April 2017. Photo - James Q Martin