Today the @bornwildproject releases their first film, "Raising a Wild Child" – watch at bornwildproject.comAs a full grown wild child myself, I loved this film and I'm so proud of my friend @brooke.froelich for making her vision a reality! One of the best gifts we can give is an appreciation of wilderness. Head on over, check out the film and let me know what you think!
A walk outside always clears my head. Today was one of those magical winter days where I never felt cold despite the below freezing temperatures. I was actually sweating, trying to keep up with @marykmcintyre (pictured here) on the skin track. She sets a fast pace! It's always fun to get out with new partners and today was no exception. Winter has a way of bringing us together. @julbousa
Behind the scenes of the professional mountain athlete are the true heros, the videographers and photographers who carry heavy camera equipment to extreme terrain to document these sports. In the past week, I've been busy working on video projects, filming and shooting with @colleengphoto in the Monashees and @joeyschusler and @sam_seward (pictured here) in Colorado. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with these talented filmmakers and I'm looking forward to a season full of these shenanigans! And take note of this amazing human-powered filming technique that Joey and Sam dreamed up- this is some next level cinematography!
Thank you @barackobama for halting the Dakota Access Pipeline until an environment assessment (with public input) has been conducted. Thanks to the Standing Rock Sioux and all the Water Protectors. The fight isn't over, and we must remain vigilant, but it's huge step in the right direction. Let's keep the momentum going. Citizen activism works! #nodapl #standwithstandingrock #waterislifePhoto: @rob.lea
I love the challenge that winter provides. Being outside all day to climb and ski in cold temps forces you to prepare for survival and interact with nature in a way that is not always so friendly or forgiving. It's the season for hand warmers and hot drinks!I'm really looking forward to doing more mixed and ice climbing this season. This picture is from the Vent du Dragon, a 250 m M5 climb in Chamonix. While we were on route, a snowstorm came in that became more intense as we got higher on the route. The climbing took a long time under all the new snow. We missed the last tram down, and spent some time warming up in the toilets at the top of the Aiguille Du Midi. After a little while, we decided to ski down the Valle Blanche in the middle of the night. All of the tracks were covered, and the navigation was incredibly challenging. After all that, we got to the parking lot at the base. I took off my skis, stepped onto the asphalt and slipped on some black ice, and cut my hand open on a sharp piece of gravel. It was an ironic way to end an adventurous, epic day! I'm grateful a little cut was the only bad thing that happened. Huge thanks to @tom_grant_ for snapping this pic and for his ability to get us down the Valle Blanche in the dark! #bigmtndreams
I am always inspired by my fellow adventurers who transcend the boundaries of society to find a deeper connection to the environment. My friends just came out with a rad webisode series- check out https://vimeo.com/191463840 to see it- or visit the link in my profile. #horizonliners @forrestshearer @andrew_miller @nickkalisz @jeremyjones @bryaniguchi @yoderyoder @jaybirdsport
Water is life! This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for access to clean, drinkable water and for everyone who fights to protect clean air and water. As we go into the holiday season, I urge you to question consumerism. Question the status quo. For your holiday shopping, support companies that reflect your values and actively contribute to creating the world you want to live in. Today, on #blackfriday, @patagonia is donating 100% of sales to grassroots environmental groups (estimated around $2 million) in addition to the 1% they donate every other day. #loveourplanet #noDAPL photo: @rob.lea
Kicking off the 16-17 Wasatch season by intentionally triggering the first Utah avalanche today on Mt. Baldy in Little Cottonwood Canyon (link to report in profile). No one was caught. It broke 8-10" deep, about 150' wide and ran around 1000'. Going into the season, it's a good reminder to sign up for an avy course (if you haven't already) and refresh skills. Remember to make sure no one is skiing below you when you do a ski cut. Also, a small avalanche has big consequences this time of year, with the capacity to cheese grater you over some sharky rocks, so be extra cautious. The upper elevation north facing terrain is going to be avalanche prone for awhile, so keep checking the @utavy forecasts. Photo @bowmankf
I always have a hard time explaining ski mountaineering to people who don't know what it is. The questions I get are understandable but also confound me. Many people don't understand why someone would want to climb up a mountain with so much heavy equipment when you can go to places that have chairlifts or take a helicopter up. It's not racing, cross country, alpine or heli skiing. It's this bizarre sufferfest of a sport where you have to be incredibly strong, fit and have a high level of technical expertise. But when you take on that challenge and accomplish the impossible, it makes all the suffering worth it. If you've never tried doing that, it's hard to explain. But when you have, it's the best feeling in the world, and you'll do almost anything to recreate that experience. Photo: walking a heavy load down from Mt. Oliver in New Zealand, taken by @rob.lea #skiaoraki16 #bigmtndreams
Where do we go from here? Many of you have asked for advice about how to get involved as citizen activists. I've put together some guidance on my blog- the link is below or in my profile. I'm not an expert lobbyist, but a passionate outdoorswoman who believes we must speak up for clean air, water, public lands and in the fight against climate change. I'd love to hear your thoughts and I'm open to answering any questions you may have about this. http://www.carolinegleich.com/where-do-we-go-from-here-how-to-become-a-citizen-activist/Photo: climbing up Mt. Dixon in New Zealand's southern alps taken by @rob.lea
In the past year, I’ve ramped up my efforts with environmental activism, and many people have asked me how to get involved. I’m writing this blog post with the hope that it will serve as a handy starting point – I want to make citizen activism cool and trendy, and inspire the next wave of the environmental movement. We especially need more young people to get involved and show up! Come join me.
Why You Should Become a Citizen Activist:
After the historic 2016 November election, it’s more important than ever for citizens to get involved as activists. Why? Because of what we stand to lose. If we don’t speak up for clean air and water and access to public lands, no one will. The natural resource extraction industries are so well-organized and connected to public policy. Going up against them is going to take a monumental effort, like David against Goliath. But we can do it. I believe in the underdog and the power of passionate citizens speaking up for a healthy environment. Here are some tips I’ve put together to help guide you on your journey to becoming a citizen activist.
First Steps. Start Thinking Like An Activist. Be curious, ask hard questions and have the bravery and courage to find the answers:
Look at your surroundings. Ask yourself, how does power come to my house? How does water get to my house? Where do those come from and what hands and companies touch them on the way? Learn about the systems that bring water, gas and electricity to your town or city. Start a dialogue with your utility provider and ask for renewable options if you don’t have them. Find out what’s in your water – what contaminants exist and how those pollutants are getting there. Do some investigative research. Pay attention to local air quality. Activism happens most effectively on a grassroots level.
One example of the effectiveness of grassroots activism is with Park City deciding to go 100% renewable by 2030. I attended a Park City Council meeting last fall. A bunch of us from the snowsports and outdoor recreation industries spoke, asking for aggressive standards for renewable energy. I argued that if Park City passed this measure, they would show strong leadership for mountain communities. It passed and now they are working with Rocky Mountain Power to figure out how to achieve the goal. A few months later, Salt Lake City passed a similar resolution. Now, that’s becoming a model for mountain towns around the US, and it’s going to radically transform our grid here in Utah.
Attend Public Meetings on Important Issues:
To find out about important local meetings, join a non-profit or even better, multiple non-profits (see lists below). Start by signing up for email alerts and read those emails! Donate time or money or both. I highly encourage you to support non-profits at both the local and national level. The reason is – the local non-profits will ask when they need citizens to show up and speak! That’s how I’ve found out about all the public hearings. They’ll also help you prepare a statement if you want to speak. Pay attention to their calls for action.
Speak at those Public Meetings:
If you decide you want to be a speaker, rad! It’s not an easy job, but I highly encourage you to do it. If you’re going to speak, do some research on the issue. Again, those local non-profits can help guide you, but do some independent research too. I always like to research the opposing viewpoints so I can craft my statement in a way that addresses their main points/concerns. Prepare and practice in front of someone or record yourself. Time it to make sure it’s under two minutes (or whatever the allotted time is). Keep it short and sweet. Including some facts is ok, but it’s best to focus on an emotional or personal story about the issue. The legislature and public policy acts on emotion, plus a personal story is more captivating to listen to. Leave the heavy facts to the scientists or other professionals. If you decide to attend a big public meeting or hearing, be prepared for a long day. Pack food, water and bring a journal and camera to document what happens.
At the meeting, be respectful and kind to those around you who have differing opinions. Don’t be afraid to be friendly and talk to them to share perspectives. Find common ground you can both agree on, and keep the interactions amicable. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about this was during a trip to Washington, DC with a group of athletes for Protect Our Winters. Senator Bernie Sanders stopped by our table during lunch to give us some words of wisdom. One of the things he told us that I’ll never forget is,
“You can disagree without being disagreeable.”
This is one of the most powerful, important pieces of advice to remember in your journey as an environmental activist. Remember, it’s not enough to win the battle. We have to win the hearts and minds of other Americans. Most people can bond over a love of the outdoors. It’s something that binds us all as humans. I love sharing stories about my lifestyle and career with the coal miners I meet at public hearings, and hearing about their lives and jobs too. One of them told me he would love to work installing solar panels, and would change his career path tomorrow if he could find a job doing it. Not every interaction is going to go as well or end as positively as you’d like, but it’s always worth a shot.
Finding Non-Profits to Get Involved With:
Below is a list of some of the environmental non-profits I like working with but do some research and support those that align with your interests and values. This is just the tip of iceberg. There are so many non-profits that are working hard and looking for people like you to support them.
Another way I find out about local non-profits is by checking out which ones Patagonia supports through their grant program. Patagonia donates 1% of their profits to environmental causes through the 1% for the Planet program. I’ve learned so much about activism from being a Patagonia ambassador, and they have a dedicated, environmental team who has helped educate and inform me about issues and campaigns. You can use this info too – there’s a detailed list of non-profits for every state and most countries in their environmental and social initiative catalog. Or, use their interactive map tool to find one of their environmental grantees near you.
Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Protect Our Winters, NRDC, Nature Conservancy, Winter Wildlands Alliance, Wildlands Network, American Rivers Council, Access Fund, American Alpine Club, Outdoor Alliance, David Brower Center, Environmental Defense Fund, Leave No Trace, Conservation Alliance, Environmental Working Group
Other state Non-Profits
Give the gift of environmental stewardship: As I said earlier, one of my first memories of being involved with environmentalism was when a relative gave me a Nature Conservancy membership for my 12th birthday. I received a calendar and started getting mail so I could stay involved. Last Christmas, I gave my one and two-year-old nephews river animal adoptions (they come with stuffed animals and with certificates of adoption) from the American Rivers Council. I plan to continue to give in their names and hope it will instill an attitude of stewardship and environmental activism in them from a young age.
Some of my favorites – Tools for Grassroots Activists – one of my favorites! Highly recommended.
Canaries on the Rim – required reading for any Utah resident.
Vote with your dollar:
Support companies that are committed to social and environmental responsibility. Find companies that are certified B-Corps – these companies meet the highest standards of verified environmental and social performance.
My Thoughts on the Next Wave of the Environmental Movement:
The lifestyle and career I’ve chosen with its flexible schedule has allowed me the time to devote to environmental efforts. Attending public meetings is inconvenient and time-consuming. I believe the whole system is designed to make it difficult for the average citizen. Often, the hearings aren’t announced only days in advance, and then, they will change times and locations at the last minute. They happen during the middle of the week. It takes a lot of time to prepare and rehearse a statement, and even more time to get there, get a seat in the room, get a number in a lottery to speak, and wait for your turn. Don’t forget to pack a lunch, water and food. Then there’s sign making, organizing with non-profits and businesses, and inviting people to come and join you. But these meetings need citizens like you to attend. Last year, I attended and spoke at several big public meetings organized by the EPA and the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. At the first two, I went to, I felt the environmental/outdoor recreation representation was vastly outnumbered by the coal industry. It makes a big statement to policy makers when you can flood a room with everyone in matching colors or shirts. Walking into that is intimidating.
The next wave of the environmental movement is going to take a lot of committed people and companies who are willing to donate time and money. As I’ve stressed, it’s a lot of work and organization to attend these meetings. We need more companies who are willing to lobby and get involved politically to protect their interests in the same way the fossil fuel industry does. They need to send employees on the clock to to public meetings, so they can be compensated for their time there. I’m sure that’s what the coal companies do to get so many of their coal miners to attend. We also need more training for these employees and other citizen activists on how to lobby for their livelihoods, just like the coal miners have learned how to do. It’s starting to happen. At the Bears Ears hearing in July 2016, there was a huge wave of support from outdoor industry companies – Patagonia, Black Diamond and Osprey had great representation. But we need more! So please join us!
My first memory of environmental activism was when I received a Nature Conservancy membership and calendar for a birthday present when I was 12-years-old. I cherished that calendar, filled with pictures of beautiful, wild places they were working to protect, and it was a gateway to bigger involvement as an activist. I dabbled with some involvement in high school, planting trees with Tree Utah and learning about the work of HEAL Utah, while reading classic environmental literature like The Monkey Wrench Gang and Silent Spring. When I was in college, I did an internship with the environmental adviser to Governor Gary Herbert, Ted Wilson. I learned so much from Ted while working at the Utah State Capitol. Whenever there was a controversial bill or issue, he would bring all the diverse stakeholders to the table to share perspectives. I learned that in order to solve problems, we must find common ground with our adversaries.
While I enjoyed my summer internship at the Governor’s Office, I decided that I could be more effective using my platform as an athlete in the outdoor industry to advocate for change, so I decided to focus on my ski mountaineering and my work in the outdoor industry. Since then, I have been involved in many campaigns relating to climate change, clean air and water and access to public lands, while working with a variety of non-profits and businesses to advocate for the environment.
I hope this was informative! If it was, help me share it by posting in your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via email. There’s a lot to learn, but it’s a fun process. Let me know if you have any questions. I hope you’ll join me on the opportunities ahead – to continue fighting against climate change, for clean air, water and a healthy environment, and for continued access to our public lands!
I'm grateful we weren't anywhere near here when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand just after midnight on Monday. We left the country less than 24 hours before the earthquake occurred. My heart goes out to everyone affected. The people of New Zealand are some of the friendliest, warmest, most wonderful people in any place I've travelled. Sending big hugs and love. Earthquakes have become one of my greater fears in the mountains. I can't imagine how scary it would be on a glaciated mountain during a quake. It gives me nightmares to think about. I worry about our future in the USA under a Trump administration, that earthquakes will become more common as we mine deeper, dam more rivers, and inject more toxic liquid into the ground to extract natural gas. "In the past, people never thought that human activity could have such a big impact, but it can," says scientist Christian Klose, a geohazards researcher who estimates that 25% of Britain's recorded seismic events were caused by people. As I read more about how humans can trigger earthquakes, (link to further reading in profile) it makes me more passionate to stand up to fossil fuel companies, to hold them accountable for the damage that ensues when things go wrong. I believe that we, as humans, are clever monkeys and can find better ways to meet our growing needs for minerals and energy. We've adapted in incredible ways before, and we can do it again. My vision for the environmental movement isn't about doing less and restricting the growth of technology, it's about doing more. To say that we can't progress without more mining is insulting to the ingenuity of humankind. #skiaoraki16
Maybe we will stay in New Zealand for the next four years…It's a romantic thought, but then I remembered, I've got work to do at home. Change happens from the bottom up. The most successful environmental campaigns have always happened at a grassroots level. We all have a place in our backyard that is threatened. It takes standing up for that place and being the voice for the air, water, rocks, snow, ice, trees, and the animals and plants that live there. I'm confident we can continue making progress forward, not backyard, if we work together with love and compassion.
Standing on top of Mt. Dixon. Behind me is New Zealand's largest glacier, the Tasman. Ski mountaineering has taken me to some the most glaciated terrain of the world. I love the confluence of rock, ice and snow so much, but I'm concerned about how rapidly and dramatically climate change is affecting these glaciers. Some of the world's largest might be gone in our lifetime if we don't #actonclimate. I urge you to vote to protect the glaciers so future mountaineers can experience views like this. #voteourplanet @patagonia_snow #skiaoraki16 Photo: @rob.lea
Two things I love: puppies and powder! Now that I have your attention- I wanted to let you know that tonight is a huge annual fundraiser for Park City causes- including my favorite animal rescue, @nuzzlesandco (It may or may not include a swanky Airstream snuggle lounge where you can drop in for kitten cuddles on a Friday night-more info on their facebook page). I can't be there, so go represent me vicariously and if you can, take a moment to donate $10 to provide adorable pets a forever home at: https://livepcgivepc.razoo.com/us/story/Nuzzlesandco Link also in profile.
Still over here in New Zealand trying to ski (challenged by the weather) but back home in the US, I've been nominated for @powdermagazine Powder Awards. I am so grateful to everyone who rallied to vote for me last year and I'd be so stoked if you could vote for me and your other favorite skiers again this year. Thank you! #bigmtndreams #skiaoraki16 #powderawards
I can't believe this was my first ski run of the 16-17 season! Just returned from a two night stay at the Plateau Hut high in the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park. Pictured here is Mt. Dixon, a 3000 m peak of the Southern Alps. We skied the east ridge off the summit and then skied onto the face, taking the exposed ramp in between the gnarliest serac falls I've ever seen. By the time I reached the bergshrund at the bottom, my quads were on fire. I was stoked to share this fine line with a team from SLC! Thanks @cody_hughes @sethorton and Anna Keeling for going first, as @rob.lea and I weren't feeling so brave our first day back on skis for the winter. #skiaoraki16
I came to New Zealand when I was a little girl, about seven years old, and that's when I first saw these peaks. In a way, I've been dreaming of this trip since then, and I'm so excited to be here with the tools to attempt to climb and ski these peaks. Now, if the weather would just clear for more than a half day… #bigmtndreams #skiaoraki16
Gotta remember, "right side, suicide." Making our way across the South Island of New Zealand in Gandalf (the van), on these slow two-way roads. Driving on the left takes some getting used to. We're getting closer to the high mountains now, and keeping our fingers crossed for good weather! #skiaoraki16 #vanlife @patagonia_snow
This is Gandalf, our rental van/home on wheels for the next three weeks as we explore the Southern Alps of New Zealand (@rob.lea and I always name our cars). After 30+ hours of travel, we made it, and we couldn't be more stoked to be roaming the country side by slow van in pursuit of high, snow-capped, steep ski lines. #skiaoraki16 #vanlife @patagonia_snow Photo: @rob.lea
After @shift_jh, I went to Moab to attend a friend's wedding. Being in @canyonlandsnps reminded me of the ongoing battle for clean air and haze free views in Utah's National Parks. After I spoke at a public hearing in January, the @epagov issued a federal plan requiring the Hunter and Huntington power plants to install modern pollution controls. We thought we could breathe more easily, but soon after, the state of Utah appealed the plan and refused to comply. @rockymountainpower continues to endanger public health and visibility in our national parks. One thing is clear, if we don't stand up and demand clean air, no one will. Let's make sure we elect officials who put clean air as a priority. When I cast my ballot, I'll be sure to vet the environmental report cards for elected officials at the @lcvoters and vote accordingly. It's a great way to make sure you pick the right leaders at a local, state and national level. Check out their website – scorecard.lcv.orgPhoto: @rob.lea
So stoked to receive the 2016 @shift_jh Adventure Athlete Award for my contributions to conservation through human-powered recreation. Shift is an annual conference about adventure and conservation, uniting natural allies around the common goal of protecting the places we play. Hearing from all the diverse voices there made me realize I have so much to learn, from the younger folks, from the older folks, and from those who come from different backgrounds, places and cultures. When we come together to listen and learn, we are stronger, and I can't wait to continue and collaborate on all the work ahead. Thank you to all the folks and organizations who attended for all the inspiration.
I didn't want @meg_haywoodsullivan to take this photo, I didn't want it published. I didn't want the world to see me with a tampon up my nose. But I want to be more honest and tell the truth in the imagery and words I post, to show the high moments as well as the lows. Read more about this moment and our trip in the @natgeoadventure article link in my profile. #deathofaglacier
I'm not prone to nosebleeds, but the drought and heat of the high Sierra takes it out of you. If the drought continues, the Lyell glacier, once Yosemite's largest glacier, will be gone in five years. Check out the story I wrote for @natgeoadventure about @meg_haywoodsullivan and my adventure to retrace the steps of John Muir to see it before it's gone, and raise the alarm about climate change. Link in profile or here: http://on.natgeo.com/2dwVzbB #deathofaglacier
Hey everyone, over the next few days, I'm taking over the @wildernesssociety Insta, sharing some of my favorite photos and memories from the proposed Bear's Ears National Monument area to bring awareness to the need for protection there. As a ski mountaineer, I've traveled all over the world, and this part of Southeastern Utah is one of my favorites. It's near and dear to my heart- make sure you follow @wildernesssociety to learn why. #ProtectBearsEarsNow Photo: @brooke.froelich
This past year, I’ve found my voice through my environmental activism. I’m incredibly honored to be nominated for the @shift_jh Adventure Athlete Award, along with @ktmillerphoto and @pavelcenkl for our efforts to connect conservation and human-powered outdoor recreation. I know there are a thousand other nominees out there who are doing good work to help the cause. The message is spreading, but not fast enough. Keep speaking up and be a voice for the environment in your lives and in the upcoming election. Let’s make sure we elect national, state and local leaders that care about clean air, water and land. Photo: on the summit ridge of Mt. Athabasca @rob.lea
I just finished watching Paul's Boots, a short film by @ducttapethenbeer and @rei, about a pair of boots going on the Appalachian Trail, without their owner's feet in them. It's a touching, sad story about the power of community and trails and the healing forces of nature. If you're drawn to spending time outside in any way, I highly recommend you go to the link in my profile and watch the film. Have the tissues on hand, you're going to need them. #PaulWalksOn
Summit dance party after completing one of the toughest climbs in the US-Empire Pass from Midway. Stats: 4,000' of gain with an average grade of 8%. Several sections of the ride, including the "Midway Death March," have up to a 20% grade. It was steep and painful, but I managed to smile after feeling like I was going to puke for a long time. @rob.lea and I love our #sundaysufferfest! #iamspecialized @iamspecialized_wmn @jaybirdsport
I spent last weekend at #RumbleX in northern Arizona and I'm inspired to take action to protect #GrandCanyonHeritage. Join me in calling on President Obama to protect lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park from new toxic uranium mining and other threats. Follow @grandcanyonheritage to get involved. #monumentsforall Photo: @photographic.explorer
It’s #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and time to elect officials who will #VoteOurPlanet. I will be at the @PatagoniaDenver store tonight from 6-8 with @protectourwinters to get people registered and to talk about the importance of electing officials who will take swift action on climate change. Make sure you are registered to vote through the link in my profile. #dropinandvote @patagonia Photo: @meg_haywoodsullivan from our recent trip to see the death of the Lyell glacier in Yosemite.
One way to get to know a landscape is to go wander aimlessly through it. I became quite intimate with the flora of the #greatergrandcanyon on this hike, from the bright yellow aspen trees, to the ponderosa pines and especially, the sharp thorns of the honey locust trees. At #rumblex, I developed a deeper appreciation of the rare plants here and the pressing need to protect them. Thanks to botanist Glen Rink and ecologist Larry Stevens for sharing their knowledge with us.
Those of us who enjoy recreating in wild and scenic places have a duty to be good stewards of the land and to protect it for future generations to enjoy. I spent the past weekend at #RumbleX, a gathering of athletes, biologists, tribal leaders and environmentalists, camping and exploring in the proposed Greater #GrandCanyonHeritage National Monument area. It was "activism for preserving movement" and I learned so much more about why we need to protect and connect habitats for wildlife and people to coexist and thrive. I urge you to learn more and support this movement – go to the link in my profile or www.greatergrandcanyon.org!Huge thanks to @grandcanyonheritage for bringing us together. Photo: @joce_taylor
Denver folks! Join me this Tues, Sept. 27 from 6-9 at the @patagoniadenver store for National Voter Registration Day! I'll be there discussing why this is our generation's most important election, and together, we'll enjoy food, drink and live music! You can also take home this limited edition poster. Hope to see you there. Link to more info in profile or below: https://m.facebook.com/events/1040992106021852/#dropinandvote @protectourwinters #voteourplanet