On April 22nd, World Earth Day is celebrating its 51st anniversary this year, and it is, just like every year, a day when we should stand still for a moment and take a closer look at our environment. Do we appreciate enough what it is giving us? Are we taking care of it as it deserves to be taken care of? What can we do, but also what can we stop doing to take better care of it?
Fortunately there are many organizations worldwide who help us answer that last question and give us a very wide range of options to participate. Whether you want to participate by donating on a personal level or with your company, give financial support, organize an event or even participate in one, there are many ways to participate on every level- locally and globally.
In the Catalan Pyrenees Projecte Boscos de Muntanya (just like its sibling Bergwaldprojekt in Germany, Austria and Switzerland) organizes volunteer campaigns in the mountains that anyone can donate to or participate in to promote the improvement and conservation of forests and landscapes.
For some examples of companies who promote outdoor activity while keeping a close watch on nature more specifically in the ski industry:
They teach us that there are many ways to participate both at home, while travelling, and in the mountains. Being conscious about the products we buy, the food we eat, the transportation methods we use and how we practice our favourite outdoor activities, influences the planet every day.
In the sports sector, Play Green Project is dedicated to raise climate awareness through the organization of sporting events and raise awareness and build capacities for environmental sustainability in sport all across Europe together with their partners:
- Lithuanian grassroots football Association
- Estonian Football Federation
- Malta Football Association
- ENGSO – The European Sport NGO
- Associació Ecoserveis
- Voetbal Vlaanderen
Many organizations and initiatives are dedicated to saving the mountains, with the common goal to inspire safe and responsible outdoor activity while contributing to conservation, these are just a few examples:
Companies and individuals who want to help fund environmental organizations can also join 1% for the Planet. The idea is for companies to donate 1% of their income to help strengthen those organizations focused on solving the world’s problems.
On a global governmental level, the United Nations Development Programme defines 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030- and invites all companies to follow them.
However, we should also aim at these goals on an individual level as each action counts- from consciously avoiding polluting packaging to organizing an event to clean up a mountain. Opt to leave the car at home whenever you can, choose digital solutions to reduce paper waste, even by using a reusable water bottle you save over 60 plastic bottles each year.
Every day more physical actions like shopping, entertainment and even travelling are being digitized, significantly reducing the production of paper, plastics, and other disposables. The ski community is no exception to this evolution. Everything in our world is going digital and soon everything you want and need will be available from the palm of your hand. This will save a lot of time and money and allow spending time exclusively on what we enjoy the most: living the experience.
According to Mastercard, contactless payments have grown by more than 40% globally in the first quarter of 2020 and many countries like Sweden and Finland have a clear goal to reduce this even more. Due to the current situation with Covid-19 and the fear of contamination this trend will only keep increasing, so we have no choice but to embrace this and utilize digital transactions. In the end it provides more flexibility and less paper waste.
On the other hand, this period of social distancing and staying home has forced us to communicate through digital media and use social networks more optimally. Despite the uncertainty of what was going to happen, communication helped. For example, push-messages through mobile phones allowed ski resorts and their visitors to stay connected easier and quicker. The ability to communicate through digital channels will help companies pick up business easier, and easier market what they are doing to contribute to sustainability such as improving their waste management. Hopefully, the pandemic will help us to be more conscious and careful with our environment, for example by continuing the trend of staying closer to home, which will have a positive impact due to less long distance travel emissions.
Digitalization also allows ski resorts to replace the production process of one-day paper ski passes with digital reloads of RFID cards. By selling ski passes online, the resort gives skiers time to plan ahead and shares information about the expected occupancy on the day you wish to ski. Through this, crowding can be avoided and the impact on the mountains reduced.
Replacing paper resort maps with digital 3D maps like the ones Skitude provides for many resorts also increases the long term commitment to sustainability, as they won’t be thrown away or become litter, not to mention the update process of map information becomes quicker and easier. User experience is also improved with the ability to locate oneself on the digital map.
As the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” This makes no exception for technology. It will only become more and more relevant as time goes on and the best time to begin using and developing your saviness is now to ensure that you can ride the tech and sustainability wave as it goes- with the benefit it brings our environment and yourself to go digital, adopting digitalization is a no-brainer.