WSU Speaker Warns of Utah Ski Seasons with No SnowOGDEN, Utah — As part of its commitment to sustainability, Weber State University will host avid skier and environmental activist Porter Fox on Nov. 4 at noon in the Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater. Fox writes, teaches and edits the literary travel-writing journal Nowhere and is author of the book Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow.
“The book describes how, over the next few decades, the ski industry is likely to suffer due to climate change,” said WSU sustainability coordinator Jennifer Bodine.
Fox has written for publications such as National Geographic Adventure and the New York Times. Fox contends that due to climate change, fewer locations will be able to host the Winter Olympics. Porter’s presentation will include video, slideshows, animation and a discussion of the best skiing in the world.
“He grew up skiing in northern Maine and has since skied on five continents,” Bodine said. “It was through his skiing adventures that he came to understand the issues with climate change and decided to write the book.”
Along with his book, Fox has set out on a nationwide college tour, in collaboration with the winter-sports activist group Protect Our Winters. His goal is to educate students about climate change.
For some people, the term climate change isn’t as meaningful as the understanding that snow and skiing could significantly diminish or eventually disappear in Utah and around much of the world, Bodine said.
“It will hit home when people realize that if we continue to consume fossil fuels the way we currently do, our ski industry could possibly disappear in the not-too-distant future,” she said. “Skiing is significant to our recreation economy and livelihood. I think people will find Fox’s message interesting and meaningful.”
As an institution, WSU shares Fox’s passion for preserving the environment. In 2009, university administrators signed the Climate Action Plan with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Since 2007, when talks of the climate action plan began, WSU has reduced its electricity and natural-gas consumption by one-third. The university has upgraded lighting across its campuses to high-efficiency fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs.
In addition, WSU has upgraded its mechanical and electrical equipment and installed multiple solar panels. In all, more than 50 projects have been or are currently in motion in Ogden and at WSU Davis. For the third year running, WSU was recognized as a green institution in The Princeton Review Guide to 332 Green Colleges.
“At this university, we take the goal of becoming carbon neutral very seriously,” Bodine said. “We have been making some substantial progress. In the meantime, we have saved the university money. This past fiscal year, we saved the university $1.4 million in utility bills and $1.2 million the year previously.”
In addition to its own efforts, WSU has consulted with local officials and businesses to help create their own climate action plans.
“We have been working with the community, letting them know what we have been doing, why we have been so successful, how it has saved us money and how they can do it, too,” Bodine said.
WSU’s Office of the Provost, Environmental Issues Committee, Energy & Sustainability Office, Department of Geography, Ogden City and Ogden Nordic will sponsor Fox’s presentation.
For more information on WSU’s sustainability efforts, visit weber.edu/sustainability. For more information on Porter Fox and his book, visit deepthebook.com/about.html.
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