This week, pro skier Timy Dutton and pro snowboarders Jeremy Jones and Nick Visconti visited high schools in the Tahoe area to talk about climate change as part of Protect Our Winter's Hot Planet/Cool Athletes program.
Dutton spoke to several hundred 11th and 12th graders at McQueen High School in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday and Jones and Visconti went to California's Truckee High School on Wednesday.
Dutton, a Squaw Valley local and former Freeskiing World Tour champion, showed a video edit from skiing around the world, but spoke about what would happen if we don't take action to reduce our carbon emissions. "As a pro skier, my carbon footprint is big," Dutton told ESPN this week, "but that's part of the reason I feel a responsibility to do everything I can to make up for it, rather than just accepting that I'm bad for the environment and doing nothing. So I figure if I can use my job as a pro skier to get in front of kids to share information about climate change and inspire some of them to get behind this cause, then I'm using the same job that contributes to the problem, to do something important to contribute to the solution."
Adds Visconti, who spoke at Truckee High School: "Talking at assemblies has been a beautiful experience because it allows for direct face-to-face communication with youth."
The talks were put on by Protect Our Winters with help from the Alliance For Climate Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing climate science education to high school students. POW launched Hot Planet/Cool Athletes in January and since then, athletes like Dutton, Jones, Visconti, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Gretchen Bleiler and others have put on assemblies at high schools in Utah, Colorado, Nevada and California.
"As pro athletes, it's our responsibility to inspire those who look up to us to be part of the solution," said Jones, who founded POW. "Hot Planet/Cool Athletes gives us a platform to talk personally about what we've seen in the mountains and what needs to be done to fight climate change."