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Climate: Saving snow

A newly released film, "Saving Snow" is making its way along the North Shore. How are the milder winters affecting northern communities that rely on snow, and how are these communities adapting? This is what "Saving Snow" is all about.

The prerequisite to solving a problem, of course, is being honest about the problem in the first place, and that is where this film is important. Scientific graphs that show long-term trends work for some people; others need to see or hear it for themselves.

The film narrows its focus to skiing — ski races, ski resorts and the pure joy of plentiful snow.

One resort owner admits: "This (documentary) flies in the face of the most major marketing tool of most resorts ... just look at any resort's marketing. 'Deepest snow, best powder, most snowfall ...'"

Another says: "We're starting to lose faith in the fact that we're going to have a winter every year, as it was even 10, 15, 20 years ago."

Other big players in the skiing world are also speaking up. The U.S. Olympic cross-country ski team, before it won its first gold medal in the spectacular race of Minnesotan Jessie Diggins and Alaskan Kikkan Randall in February, created its own video, available on, acknowledging the lack of snow. Members of the team admit their fears for the survival of their sport. Andy Newell, Olympic Ski Team member, says: "The last thing I want is for the next generation of skiers to grow up without snow."

Jessie Diggins, in an interview with the New York Times, says that man-made snow is icier, faster and more dangerous. Asked about solutions to warming winters, she has a simple answer: "You can look at different solutions for the economy, but you only get one Earth to live on, and you have to breathe the air that is on this Earth. We have to do it in a way that doesn't hurt families economically, which is why I'm supporting the carbon fee and dividend solution, because it puts a fee on carbon and returns the revenue to households."

The first showing of "Saving Snow" for Lake County residents will be at Tettegouche State Park on Saturday, March 10, at noon. Afterward, there will be a gathering of volunteers and interested residents. Several mini-presentations will show what local groups are doing to create political will for the same carbon fee-and-dividend legislation that Jessie champions.

This is a great opportunity to learn. If you can't make that event, perhaps you can make it to the showing at the Two Harbors Library on Thursday, March 22, at 6:30 p.m. The film is 53 minutes long.

In addition to watching the film, you can listen to KTWH 99.5, the Two Harbors Community Radio station, for a live interview March 19 around 8:15 a.m. Jackie Rennwald will host guests who can speak to the impacts of mild winters to our area.

The shortening of winter and the unpredictability of snow cover is something that people who love snow, or whose livelihoods depend on snow, are more acutely aware of than many of us. No matter how inconvenient snow is, its presence is critical to our northern climate. As Andy Newell reminds us: "It's not too late (to save the snow)."

There is a tired old story that many of us told each other for years: We can't solve climate change — the problem was too big, too inconvenient, too many powerful interests at stake.

That story, thankfully, has been ousted from its primal throne, dismantled into a heap of refuse at the foot of a new, energetic, active story that is injected with new life every week as people, organizations, corporations, governments and nations take action in a thousand different ways.

We can solve climate change, and we are solving climate change. More help, as always, is needed. Do your part.

Katya Gordon is a volunteer for the Citizens' Climate Lobby and a Two Harbors resident.