Mt Baker to Host The Future of Ice, March 4th and 5th


On the weekend of March 4th – 5th, Mt Baker will be hosting “The Future of Ice”, a University of Washington initiative to further knowledge about the polar regions and the environmental, economic and political pressures that these regions face. The event is a two day discussion on global climate matters and the successful efforts of the Pacific Northwest advancing toward solutions.

Sightline Institute’s mission is to make the Northwest a global model of sustainability—strong communities, a green economy, and a healthy environment.

The conversation includes panelist Eric De Place, Policy Director of the Sightline Institute. De Place is an expert on energy policy in the Pacific Northwest and has researched and published over two hundred articles, reports and analyses on a range of issues surrounding fossil fuels. I spoke to Eric and it turns out that Mt Baker began his love of Winter at a young age. Eric skied for the first time at Mt Baker and is looking forward to skiing there again and being a part of this great discussion. “On a personal note, Mt Baker is where I learned to ski. It’s phenomenally gorgeous. It’ll always occupy a special place in my heart”

La Place says that Mt Baker is part of a Northwest community that is dedicated to action in saving Winter. “The Northwest has in many respects been a case study in how localities can fight back against the ravages of the coal and oil industry.” He goes on to express gratitude to Mt Baker for leading the charge in climate advocacy. “I’m deeply grateful. As a community of recreationists we should all be grateful to (Mt Baker) for beginning a conversation like this. It’s something that we need to do a lot more often and in a lot more places. They are the trailblazers in many ways.”

We also spoke with Executive Vice President at Mt Baker, Gwyn Howat, and she echoes Eric’s feeling that Mt Baker is leading the way to a new model of community involvement. She says that the initiatives coordinator, Sarah Myhre, learned to ski at Mt Baker as well. “Sarah grew up at mount baker and came through our Komo Kids program. Now, she is a very  influential global scientist. She came to me with the idea of trying to present information about climate in a different model.”

Howat believes that community conversation is a better way to distribute the information than relying on politicians or media.  “We wanted an opportunity to have a community interaction between some of the world’s globally recognized scientists directly with community members and people whose lives are influenced by this. Hosting the Future of Ice is a potentially new template for that opportunity.”

Sustainable Connections is a Northwest non-profit that helps local businesses build relationships that promote community, sustainability and prosperity. They will be represented at Mt Baker by Executive Director Derek Long who says, “In my experience, locally owned and place based businesses in all industries include some of the first community leaders to notice environmental, social and economic challenges, and among the first to propose and implement innovative solutions. It’s not surprising to see this experience prove true for the ski industry and climate change action. They deserve our support and I’ll be cheering for their success.”

The panel also includes global authorities on climate science. Cecilia Bitz, is a professor in the Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University of Washington. Cecilia’s research focus is on ice and climate. She has traveled to both the Arctic and Antarctic to make measurements to understand sea ice physics and has testified to congress on the state of ice in our world. Eric Steig, the founder of the Future of Ice initiative will moderate the event along with Gwyn Howat.

In short, these people know their stuff and they love their mountain communities as well as our world community. Mt Baker’s Gwyn Howat says that “To be able to have such renowned knowledgeable people come and actually have interactive conversation is an important step in our ongoing efforts as a community, as a country and globally. It can simply start somewhere as simple as the Raven Hut lodge on a Saturday afternoon around a pot of fondue.”

Visit the UW Future of Ice Page
Visit the Mt Baker Event Page

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