You may find it to be no surprise that Winter means a lot to us at ROAM and our community of adventurers. We look forward to the wind’s first chilling signs of changing weather, bringing with it the hopes of a perfect powder day. Yet as skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and adventures alike prepare for a new season, we can’t help but to acknowledge that good snow is getting harder and harder to find.
On the chase for perfect turns, the rare days of perfect conditions help to remind us of how important it is to cherish nature’s gift, and more importantly, to be aware of nature’s susceptibility to climate change.
To address this need for awareness, we spoke with Meg Haywood Sullivan, an accomplished photographer, environmentalist, and Protect Our Winters ambassador who has dedicated her work to spreading awareness about the effects of climate change in the outdoor community.
Meg was recently a part of a trip to Baldface in British Columbia with professional freeskier/activist Sierra Quitiquit and legendary snowboarders Travis Rice & Jamie Lynn.
Meg captured the adventure in 35mm, and the following images are a reminder of the epic Winters that are just as delicate as the film stills themselves.
Here, Meg answers a few of our questions and shares how we can all make a difference as a part of the outdoor community. Step one? Get out and vote.
Your career has given you an incredible platform from which to make a difference. What led you to pursue photography as a means for environmental awareness?
I come from a family of photographers, three generations to be exact. Growing up, my aunt Meeki was one of my role models. As a photographer and public health activist in Africa, my aunt used her skills as a way to tell compelling stories while giving back. Ever since childhood, I’ve been inspired to dedicate my life to creating art that simultaneously highlights the beauty of nature and brings attention to the effects of climate change on our planet.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with negative news, you tend to tell a different story than most…
I’ve always believed in spreading positive messaging. I really found that to be a huge call to action. People aren’t going to jump on a sinking ship, and I think it is so important to highlight how far we have come because there is so much good that is happening right now. There are so many brands and non-profits doing amazing work and taking steps in the right direction. It’s about motivating and inspiring people, and that’s why photographers and creators have the ability – and the obligation – to give back and inspire others…
You’re incredibly right, the positivity is refreshing.
It’s incredibly important… For instance, it was just announced that 250 global organizations pledged to eradicate plastic packaging by 2050. Why isn’t that in the headlines?!
Nature is undeniably a source of positivity for all of us. What about it resonates most with you?
Humans need nature. Research has shown that the health benefits of spending time outside are unparalleled – A three day weekend spent out in nature boosts your immune system killer cells by 50%…
And its important to protect our natural world as a community. No matter what your nature is, whether its an urban park that you grew up going to down the street, or the backcountry of British Columbia, nature is essential to being human, and should be a fundamental right to anyone in our country. That’s why we need to fight for the conservation and protection of our natural resources.
So you are an ambassador for Protect Our Winters (POW), and they do some amazing work… what has that been like to be a part of their mission?
Working with POW has been beyond inspiring. They represent what we really need in our outdoor industry, a cohesive community coming together to push not only for awareness, but also action.
What is the best way for someone in our outdoor community to get involved in the collective effort to protect the places we love?
The first thing and the easiest thing you can do to make a difference is to vote. It is a necessity and a privilege, and essential to our democracy!
Secondly, I encourage people to change their personal day-to-day practices, whether that is through consumer habits (i.e. purchasing more reusable good or eating a more plant based diet) or donating to organizations that protect our parks, oceans, and more.
We need to invest in our community, and recognize we can collectively make a difference together.
There is incredible progress being made, and definitely more to tackle. Would you say you are hopeful for change when it comes to the issues around climate?
I’ll share something I recently heard that meant a lot to me… I had a super inspiring phone conversation with legendary environmentalist Paul Hawken this summer. On the call, I asked him, “Paul are you hopeful for the state of our planet?”
His response was:
“No i’m not hopeful. Hope is a reaction to fear, and if we want to tackle the issues that are at hand, we have to be fearless.”
So to that point, no I am not hopeful. I am fearless.