As skiers, we rely on the environment to do what we love. It is our responsibility as a community to switch our impact, our mentality, and our actions, to give back to the changing environment that has given us so much. SWITCH is my contribution.
I developed switch as a part of my senior thesis integrative project. SWITCH is all about embracing our power to take part in change. We see the effects of climate change in our daily life: we hear about it in the news, see documentaries, hear about organizations, are exposed to initiatives, and witness changes first hand. The SWITCH project exists to incite an awareness of climate change among a group of people that rely on the environment to do what they love.
I live for a cold winter. When the snow falls, it signifies that long winter days and fresh powder tracks are coming. I learned to ski what feels like just after I learned to walk, and from that point on I was hooked. For me, it is my memories that drive this project, my passion for the sport, and my fear for the future that has been cultivated by early season snow-melt and 60-degree December days.
This is what drives me. This is what drives SWITCH. I want my children, and my children's children, to be able to learn to ski in the mountains of Vermont. I want to take part in the fight for the climate. I created SWITCH as my contribution, as a way to spread a message, knowledge and awareness through an object that every skier uses in order to do what they love. Each design is derived from an idea, a message, or an image of climate change. Stamped with the SWITCH logo, each SWITCH ski becomes part of a larger campaign. In utilizing partnerships with established ski manufacturers, and athletes with a strong platform, SWITCH strives to reach and impact all corners of the ski industry.
I was inspired by Protect Our Winters and Patagonia, organizations and businesses that exist to do good. Protect Our Winters is a "passionate crew of diehards, professional athletes and industry brands mobilizing the outdoor sports community to lead the charge towards positive climate action." It is an organization that focuses on "educational initiatives, political advocacy and community-based activism" (POW). Patagonia is a company that considers the environment in everything that they do. They take a stand as activists, as industry leaders, and make all of their products with the environment at the forefront.
What I have learned over the course of this project is that we all have a part in having a positive impact on the climate. We must change our ways, educate ourselves, and have a voice in making a difference. That being said, the actual change needs to be done on a large scale. Industry leaders, politicians, big businesses with tangible impact need to make drastic changes. What we have done through the industrial revolution needs to be reversed on a similar scale. though our individual impact makes a difference, and we can change our lifestyles by a simple switch to reusable bags and water bottles, it will take big changes to make big changes that will ultimately trickle down. Reading statistics is truly terrifying, but when you see how some people are choosing to react to those statistics is inspiring. With this project, I hope to inspire on a small scale.