It was the first day of 2017 and I was feeling like hell. A wild evening of celebrations had become a low-energy morning of tidying up, making up and trying to not give up on the year that had only just begun. New Year’s resolutions don’t often stick but I decided that a lot of my energy from the previous year was being focused in the wrong places. Fun with friends is everything to me, but my lack of contributing to something beyond my own work or party ambitions was more sobering than New Year’s Day itself.
Cut to April that year, and I’d connected with the POW UK team on a few lunch-break phone calls. Working in London while recovering from ACL surgery meant that I was missing the mountains and skiing – but must strikingly I was missing the community around snowsports.
The POW UK team was newly built: the energy and excitement was infectious and I attended my first in-person meeting with the reckless confidence of a kid learning to ride a bike. An impressive group of people surrounded me: people that would go on to push, support, inspire and educate me around climate change awareness and the power of mobilising those who just love snow, to make positive change.
As our email inboxes started to overflow, we knew that the UK was responding to the Protect Our Winters message.
For many, environmental causes are hard to relate to if you’re not invested in them with personal experience, which is why the terrible snow conditions of season 2016/17 had triggered the consciousness of a lot of snowsports enthusiasts (myself included). The UK was starting to link the quality of their winter trips to the state of the environment and this awakening created an energy in the POW UK movement that I never expected to feel so far away from the politically-driven status of the original Protect Our Winters team in the US.
Alongside my own understanding (and panic) around environmental challenges, a knock-on effect to being part of team POW UK was being felt in my own professional work.
I had loved my few years working as a content producer in the fashion / innovation space, but I started to question why the world cares so much about omnichannel retail experiences when in reality, we (as consumers) should be encouraged to buy less stuff, not more.
I believe in the power of education which is why I love producing industry conferences. So when the opportunity arose to move my life to Denmark and work for a non-profit leadership forum steering the fashion industry towards responsibility, I took it.
Volunteering with Protect Our Winters UK directly steered my career in a life-changing way that I never expected. I’m now privileged enough to be engaging in sustainability on a daily basis with the world’s leading fashion industry businesses: working on circularity principles, social sustainability, cutting edge material and recycling innovation, the future value chain, responsible design and so much more.
We can only inspire our communities to take action by first doing so ourselves and in lieu of anything else, I feel so proud that I am able to give POW UK a small amount of my time. Late nights and weekends working on content campaigns have benefitted our mission, but have also critically educated me around priorities and possibilities for a better future.
Climate change awareness is the starting point for large-scale activism and god knows the world needs more of it in 2019 and beyond. This my testimony to how volunteering for your chosen charity’s cause can make an impact not just on the world around you but on your own life path.
Protect Our Winters UK is run almost entirely by a dedicated team of volunteers. We’re growing rapidly and are always looking for volunteers so please get in touch if you’d like to join us.