Monday, March 2, 2015

THE UNLIKELY BIRTH OF "MOMENTA" By Protect Our Winters

By Protect Our Winters
Here at POW, we rely largely on our corporate partners to achieve our mission. These partners recognize the success of their business directly relies on the health of the environment and therefor align their core values with direct action to help protect it. These are the companies who understand the role they can play in the climate movement is massive and that inaction will have direct influence on their business and way of life.
Fortunately for us, we work with a number of brands that have built environmental responsibility and climate advocacy into their corporate DNA and into their annual business plans. Together, these brands have come to represent the lion’s share of the market in the winter sports industry and have the economic and social might to create the social movement that we desperately need to effectively address climate change. We can’t thank these partners enough for their commitment to us, the community and the environment.
We prefaced this post with that because no matter how big or how small, corporate involvement in climate change is critical to save a season that’s an integral part of our culture and identity, but also the economic backbone of the global winter sports industry.
The most common question we ask ourselves on a daily basis at Protect Our Winters is, “How can we make the biggest impact?” In 2012, when considering getting involved with a massive fight against coal exports in the Pacific Northwest, we asked ourselves this again and started doing some research.  First and foremost, the biggest opportunity we saw was that it became very apparent that part of the reason that the issue hasn’t risen to the level of climate emergency outside of the PNW is because the scope of the destruction is virtually unimaginable.
It’s hard to fully imagine the impact 50 trains a day, loaded with coal, can have as they rumble through on their way from Wyoming, unless of course you live in one of the many small communities along the on the rail line,  you’re one of the affected Native Americans who call these places sacred, or one of Washington state’s legendary waterways risking coal dust (or worse, a coal spill) in their fragile ecosystem. And then if that’s not enough, consider the global climate impacts when that coal is burned.
And that begged the question: why are we all not aware of this when the amount of carbon emissions produced by the burning of this coal deposit alone outweighs that of Keystone XL and would undoubtedly result in irreversible impacts on the global climate?
Momenta would be our way to truly illustrate what’s at stake and place it in the minds of a broader audience to spotlight what this small group of fossil fuel companies is risking for their own profits.
coal-plant
And so Momenta was born.
First step: funding. In all truth, we undertook a documentary project that was probably bigger than we were able to execute at the time, but it was important to us and our members that we do something meaningful. The price tag was bigger than any project we’d ever undertaken, so we filmed an incredibly powerful trailer and threw it up on Kickstarter. The donations came in from local citizens that truly cared, but we came up short. By a lot.
With seven hours to go before the Kickstarter campaign was scheduled to end (and if you don’t make your campaign goal by the end, you don’t get anything) we had pretty must lost hope on bringing Momenta to life.
It was 10:30 p.m. in Los Angeles. Then the phone rang. It was Ed Lewis from SNOCRU, a social startup app for the winter sports community based in Park City, calling from Gillette, WY (home of the Powder River Basin). He wanted to know more about Momenta. He was driving to Utah and was blown away by the destruction from the coal mining in the area and wanted to get SNOCRU involved somehow, as he knew what more burned coal in the world meant to global CO2 levels. I filled him in on Momenta and after hearing about the soon-to-be-failed Kickstarter campaign he simply asked, “how much do you need?”
Within minutes, Kickstarter alarms were going off in my email and with six hours to go, Momenta was funded.  We launchedMomenta this week, in very large part because of the generosity and the commitment of a startup brand called SNOCRU and a CEO who knows that without paying attention to the environment, there will be no need for businesses like his own.
And that’s what we hope other brands in the snow community will do – see beyond today and understand that in order to stay in business for generations, we all need to act like SNOCRU, to visualize what a world without snow would be like and take meaningful action. It’s time to step up and help protect our winters, for our livelihoods and for future generations.
Watch Momenta here for free, now:  www.momentaproject.com
Learn more about SNOCRU here:  http://www.snocru.com
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