Climate Change in an International Ski Resort

Click here to learn more about this upcoming film screening on climate change and the ski industry followed by a community discussion with WB’s climate expert, Arthur De Jong


Earth has always had natural cycles of warming and cooling, but not like the ones we are seeing now…

The top five hottest years on record are 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2010.

Human beings are making a difference – combine a sharp rise in fossil fuel consumption, worldwide destruction of forest cover and poisoning of oceanic phytoplankton with pollution and you are bound to make change.

Rising temperatures don’t only mean that the planet is getting hotter, the Earth’s climate is complex, so even a small increase in average global temperature can mean big changes – extreme heat, increased droughts, more floods, forest fires, stronger storms, ocean acidification, glacial melt, rising sea levels (due to melting ice sheets and expansion of water as temperatures rise), habitat loss, increase in diseases, species displacement…the list goes on.

Living and playing in our wilderness outdoors gives us a front row seat to the impacts of climate change. Predictions for Whistler include longer, hotter and drier summers on top of milder winters with increased precipitation at most elevations. But there is hope! We have the ability to mitigate the pace of this change, while adapting to the impacts that are already here or soon to arrive – But we must act now!

Here are 10 ways you can make changes that will help protect our shared future:

  1. GET INVOLVED – Let your political representatives know you want immediate action on climate change
    • Did you know a recent progress report on Whistler’s Community Energy and Climate Action Plan first year showed that action had only been taken on 1/3 of outlined items? Let’s push for more.
    • In 2018 the RMOW is leading processes to update two key policy documents that will guide Whistler into the future:
      • The Community Vision – The ‘vision’ is about what we want our community to look like in 10 years. It reflects our community values and provides direction for meeting Whistler’s anticipated needs. This vision will be the ‘guiding star’ for future community policies, actions and investment, so it is important that it truly captures the community’s collective objective.
      • The Official Community Plan (OCP) – The OCP details policies regarding land use, development, servicing and protection of the natural environment. 
  2. CLEANSE YOUR COMMUTE Free parking is a thing of the past, so…
    • Dust off your bike, take the bus, car-pool or slow down a bit and walk. There are so many ways to get around that don’t involve a personal vehicle and are better for your personal wealth and health.
    • Buy organic, locally grown food.
    • Grow your own food in your backyard or through Whistler’s GROW Greenhouse and Garden Program.
    • Skip animal products – Nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. Learn more about adopting a plant-based diet here.
  4. BE A ZERO WASTE HERO – Garbage in landfill breaks down to produce methane, a greenhouse gas 21% more potent than C02!
    • Buy less stuff – simple right!
    • Go for quality over quantity – the fashion industry is the number two polluting industry in the world, second only to the oil industry.
    • Refuse what you do not need, such as single-use items. Bring your own bag, water bottle, coffee cup and straw – every action counts!
    • Let your grocery store know you want more zero waste options – bulk up the bulk section
    • Recycle and keep food out of the landfill by composting
    • Turn off the lights and switch to LED bulbs
    • Unplug your electronics when you aren’t using them. Electronics are still slurping energy even when they are turned off
    • Wash clothes in cold water and hang to dry
    • Book a home energy evaluation here
    • Ask your utility provider for details on clean, renewable energy options available to you
    • Remember, not all “clean” energy is created equal. Creating run of the river projects and mega hydro projects like Site C can have irreversible impacts on the natural landscape and wildlife habitat connectivity.
    • Continue to support the exploration of local and less invasive renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and wave
    • Take a staycation, video chat with loved ones, bus or bike.
    • If you choose to fly counterbalance with local Gold Standard carbon offsets
    • These improve energy use efficiency and help to break modern society’s addiction to fossil fuels. It is as simple as making the polluters pay for the pollution they produce.
    • BC’s carbon tax has gained global praise, and did not impeded economic activity nor cause job loss, as predicted by the naysayers. So be a vocal supporter of carbon tax so we can see it stepped up a notch.
  9. GET INFORMED – Stay up to date on what’s happening around you.
    • Sign up for AWARE E-news here
    • Subscribe to an online newspaper, newsletter or schedule a weekly call with your most informed uncle, whatever you do take it further than expecting Facebook to give you all the goods.
  10. SUPPORT Whether with your time or your dollar stand behind those fighting for change and a better tomorrow.

The choices we make today with our voices, actions and dollars WILL make a difference to our shared future.

Here are what some of our members have to say about climate change:

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