Representatives from the mountaineering industry and community are being invited to discuss a groundbreaking project to calculate the carbon footprint of hill walking and climbing based in England and Wales.
The BMC’s Access and Conservation Trust has funded the first stage of the independent study, to be conducted at Surrey University, in response to growing concern that climate change is causing irreparable damage to mountain environments worldwide.
Climbing walls, gear manufacturers, outdoor leisure, clubs, retailers and enthusiasts are due to come together in April to discuss the study, which will begin to chart the carbon emissions of hill walking and climbing, including consumerism and travel, and produce recommendations on what the sector can do to help tackle climate change.
The project’s discussion group already has participation from Mountain Equipment, Patagonia, the Castle Climbing Centre and the European Outdoor Group, an industry association. More members are welcome, especially from the hill walking and climbing community.
Audrey Seguy, former British climbing champion, BMC vice president and managing director of the Castle is offering her support:
“We all want to save the planet, but we first need to find out what our environmental impact actually is. How can we effectively focus our resources to tackling a problem that we know so little about?
“This study, the only one of its kind, would enable climbers and walkers to see how their decisions about where they go, how they get there, what they do and what they buy can make a difference. I hope that we get as many people involved as possible to get the most accurate picture of our activities in the UK.”
Professor Martin Price, joint Nobel Prize winner and director of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Mountain Studies, added a scientific viewpoint:
“Mountain environments are among the most sensitive on our planet - for instance, glaciers and permafrost are melting, snow and rainfall patterns are changing, species are moving uphill and sometimes going extinct. There will be profound changes in the mountain landscapes that hundreds of millions travel to enjoy.
“Climate change in the mountains will affect both mountain people and billions downstream, especially those depending on mountain water. As climate change is caused by human activities, including travel, this study will provide a way to increase awareness of how decisions to travel to and in the mountains are linked to their fate.”
Discussions on the carbon footprint study will be held at the Innovation for Extremes conference at Lancaster University on Wednesday 13th April (following the main conference proceedings) from 3.30-6.30pm.
We are currently recruiting participants for the project, especially members of the climbing and hill walking community in England and Wales. If you or an organisation that you represent would like to attend the meeting or be involved in the study please contact Zara Maung at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr Catherine Flitcroft at email@example.com.
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