PROTECT OUR WINTERS
As a supporting partner of Protect Our Winters (POW), a non-profit organization committed to finding systemic solutions to climate change, we’re inspired by the work so many passionate people do every day to preserve our outdoor playgrounds. Founded in 2007 by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, POW leads a community of athletes, thought pioneers, and forward-thinking business leaders to make a difference because We All Need Winter. Brita Staal is one of those people.
A snowboarder, skier, runner, climber, and climate advocate, Brita lives in Lofoten, Norway and volunteers for POW in her spare time. By day she is a Senior Sustainability and Climate Advisor and Climate Reality Leader trained by Al Gore. She’s also an accredited Future Fit advisor. Our POW partnership supports the work Brita and her peers do to spread vital information about climate challenges and educate outdoor enthusiasts throughout Europe about good climate policies.
Embracing Work/Life Balance
A low-carbon lifestyle had been a goal of mine for years, but living in Oslo and Malmö working as a sustainability manager for global companies meant a life of excessive traveling with a huge carbon footprint to go with it. It didn’t help that I also longed for mountains, altitude, and snow on the weekends. Arriving home Sunday after midnight and emptying my bag into the washing machine made me increasingly aware of the impact of my choices before zonking out and beginning the cycle once again when Monday morning dawned a few hours later.
This stressful pattern reached its culmination during the fall of 2018 when I found myself with a long daily commute between Copenhagen and Oslo. When I was offered a position as a senior advisor in a smaller yet very conscious consultancy in Lofoten, I just had to accept. The projects and salary were smaller, but I added years to my life account, gaining more ski-days than a commuter lifestyle would ever allow. I even got my Sunday afternoons back!
Making Good Life Choices
So what does it mean to embrace your lifestyle and make choices that align with your values? For my partner and me, it meant limiting travel time, stress, and consumption, and in doing so, maxing out our life together. Setting these limits has been the most significant contribution to our health and to fully enjoying our lives. By following a low-emission lifestyle, our backyard has become our playground, and we can finally live the lives we want—without feeling guilty about the negative impact of our choices.
Climate Actions Everywhere
Living in the north, we have been able to choose even more low-carbon alternatives. Because goods travel farther to reach us, buying locally-produced goods has become more important than ever before. We have found a wonderful local farm and have made some new friends there as well. We use the car less and attempt to only tour as far as our hybrid car battery will take us. This encourages us to get out and explore other mountains, even if they are less famous...and feel proud that we have only filled our gas tank five times in the last few months!
These choices are more than symbolic; by living in alignment with our values, we know that even small actions make a difference. We know that political and industrial changes are necessary as well, but each of us must do our part. We have found a way to live sustainably which makes us happy. We hope others can do the same!