Climate change and mounting environmental degradation poses an existential threat to life as we know it. We are in a period of crisis that those of us living in richer areas of the world cannot yet see. Snowboarders - a privileged minority of the population - may be particularly oblivious to this. For now, the lifts are running, and the winters are consistent, but the signs are there if you look hard enough. Below the surface, winters are becoming less so, glaciers are melting, and the ecological impacts of endless consumption are starting to pile up. Our relative wealth will temporarily insulate us from the oncoming suffering, while those who haven't the means to adapt, die. If we wait till the chairlift stops spinning to take action, it will be too late, and the lack of snow will be the least of our worries.

As snowboarders we must recognize the link between capitalism and climate change, and radicalize our responses to both. Capitalist logic of understanding the world around us as an infinite supply of “resources” to be freely exploited for the benefit of the few and the suffering of the many, particularly those in the global South, is becoming increasingly consequential. Continuous record-breaking fire seasons, droughts, and other “natural” disasters make it clear that suffering is encroaching and multiplying. New extractive technologies such as fracking have brought the consequences of a capitalist relationship with the landscape to the front doors of even the wealthy, who have historically enjoyed shelter from ecological violence. The ability of the Earth’s ecosystem to accommodate further growth is being seriously questioned.

Simultaneously, the snowboard community echos capitalism's de-politicized solutions to climate change: buying greener products, split boarding instead of riding chairlifts, and carpooling to the hill - Frankly, it's exhausting. These solutions may need to be part of a larger strategy, but are they radical enough? Are “green” products and split boarding really going to stop this crisis? We need to fundamentally challenge our economic and political systems and not simply the mechanisms through which they function. Because, at the end of the day, capitalism is predicated on the exploitation of environments and communities. 

By politicizing snowboard spaces and collectively engaging in struggle, we can begin developing a future outside of the restraints of capital and ecological violence. Hopefully, snowboarding, or some variation of it, can be a part of this future. With this in mind, here are a few steps which can help us radicalize our own responses to capitalism and climate change. 

What you can do:

1. Read far and wide: Education is the foundation for action. Zines are always a great way to begin to engage with a topic. Your local anarchist, socialist, or radical bookstore is a great place to start; alternatively, search online for radical zine libraries (Sprout Distribution is a place to start.)

2. Give yourself time: Engaging with material won’t happen overnight and learning is a life-long, dynamic process.

3. Start a reading group: Engage with your friends, families, and communities; radicalize the circles you find yourself in.

4. Resist Capitalism: On all fronts, particularly its attempts to co-opt radical solutions to the environmental crisis.

5. Buckle up and get your hands dirty: Work for systemic change and stand in solidarity with others fighting for a more just world, we are stronger together.

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