Barack Obama Hears You, Winter Olympians, But He Can’t Do Anything To Save Your Snow At The Moment

  • Eric Goldschein

If we choose to ignore scientists — and why wouldn’t we? Science is boring — on the issue of climate change, what other subset of the population could we turn to for an opinion on the future of the environment? How about some winter Olympians, who make their living traveling to various outdoor locations and dealing directly with snow and other weather effects? Turns out 75 of them already got together and sent a letter to President Barack Obama, advising him that if he doesn’t act soon, they’re going to be skiing on rocks and trying to skate on the surface of ponds and such. Well, he hears you, snow lovers — but the “politics are tough” and he doesn’t see an opportunity to do anything about it right now. Don’t you love politics?

First, lets see what these snow-loving athletes have to say about the issue (from The Guardian):

As professional athletes, representing a community of 23 million winter sports enthusiasts, we’re witnessing climate change first-hand. Last year was the warmest year on record, and once again, we’re currently experiencing another winter season of inconsistent snow and questionable extremes. Without a doubt, winter is in trouble.

And with this lack of consistent snow, at risk are the economies of tourist-dependent states where winter tourism generates $12.2 billion in revenue annually, supports 212,000 jobs and $7 billion in salaries. Those are the jobs and businesses owned by our friends and families, generators of billions in federal and state income.

The economic angle: smart! That’s the right way to grab a politician’s attention. And yet, if they had just said: “Dude… we’re running out of snow,” that would have been enough to convince me. A world without skiing and snowboarding is not a world we should live in (though we could do without snowmobiling, to be honest).

So it may cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue; it’s a hot-button topic that has plagued the world for years; it will probably kill us if we don’t do something about it; Obama himself, at his latest State of the Union address, said that “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” Seems like an open and shut case at this point.

Obama discussed the letter at a fundraiser in San Francisco:

Obama went on to tell the fundraiser that efforts by campaigners – such as Tuesday’s letter – could help create room for action. But he made it pretty evident that that the time was not yet right for bold action.

His administration needed people in Washington who were willing to get ahead of the curve, Obama said, before qualifying: “not two miles ahead of the curve but just a little bit ahead of it’.”

Scientists tell us climate change is real. Snowboarders tell us they see the change first-hand. The President of the United States promises to tackle the issue, even if no one else is with him. And then… nothing gets done. Because the “politics are tough.” Why can’t we just treat this like Congress did the “Monsanto Protection Act” and slip some climate change protection into a bill anonymously? That way, even if no one has the balls to stand up for this issue, at least something will get done.


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