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The Canary In The Coal Mine

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We all know about the canary in the coal mine.  It’s the first living organism to die if the air in the mine becomes lethal from carbon monoxide and methane gases.  The global climate negotiations in Copenhagen have been ignoring the canary in the mine.  One of the most vocal business groups that is screaming about global warming is the ski industry.

The Future of Winter Sports?
The Future of Winter Sports?

The U.S. ski industry membership currently numbers 326 resorts.  Their organized trade group has an interesting tale to tell the world.  Since 1990, the ski industry is losing one day per year due to global warming.  Despite their efforts at producing snow during their operating season, and even investing in equipment that can generate snow in warmer temperatures, they are still losing one day a year.  And that number is cumulative.  The ski industry even put together an effort to raise awareness of this growing problem.   They called it the Keep Winter Cool Program.  Since that program began, 60 resorts are now purchasing renewable energy credits to lower their own carbon footprints.  Thirty of the resorts are now operating their ski lift equipment from renewable energy sources that they have installed on their properties.  They will be the first economic casualties of the current climate change debacle.  Perhaps a small one, since not everyone is involved with winter sports.  Will people miss not having the Winter Olympics once all of the snow is gone?  Will people miss shoveling their driveways?  Probably not, but once the snow is missing from the Rockies to the Swiss Alps, will people realize that the canary has finally died?

John Vlahakis

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