3 September 2018
More than 100 UK charities, heritage organisations and more will get together this October for our annual members’ event, the Network Harvest. This year’s theme is ‘Taking Charge of Change’, and in the run up to the event we’ll be exploring how our varied membership organisations are already instigating positive changes, and how they are responding to changes beyond their control. This week, we kick off with the British Mountaineering Council.
What has climate change got to do with the BMC?
An article in our Summit magazine by Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester, outlines perfectly the struggle we have as climbers and walkers to balance the desire to explore far flung places with the real need to take responsibility for our behaviour as individuals and as a community. Kevin writes:
“Each time we board the pinnacle of gas-guzzling activity and jet off to yet another vertical adventure we disproportionately threaten the very existence of those already struggling to eke out a living in grim conditions. Climate change is an existential problem; it begs fundamental questions about how we lead our lives and what sort of person we are.”
What is the BMC currently doing to try and address the issue?
The BMC has a sustainability working group made up of experts from the worlds of climate change, renewables, gear manufacturers and academics. The group meet at least once a year to discuss a ‘focus’ for the BMCs work.
This year we have been working with partners on the issue of plastics & responsible packaging, in particular single use water bottles. In conjunction with Wildlife and Countryside Link, for example, we lobbied Government for a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles and other recyclable drinks packaging, and were delighted that Michael Gove announced government plans for a deposit return scheme to crack down on plastic pollution in March of this year.
The wrapping in which Summit magazine lands on your doorstep has now changed from plastic to a potato starch wrap that can be composted at home. Later in the year, the BMC will also be publishing an article in Summit on the use of micro plastics, water repellence & use of chemicals in outdoor clothing manufacturing.
Joining the wider community for greater impact
As well as continuing to urge its members and the wider sporting community to really think about and engage in more concrete measures to reduce our own impact, the BMC is a member of a number of umbrella organisations, including Fit for the Future and the Climate Coalition, who are collectively raising the profile of climate change and sustainability through national campaigns and by providing valuable information, practical support and workshops on a variety of sustainable topics from waste and energy management to behaviour change – all of which give the BMC the opportunity to work in partnership with others and promote important messages to our members.
The BMC will also continue to build links with like-minded organisations and work more closely with the International Climbing and Mountain Federation (UIAA) and European outdoor industry on issues such as outdoor gear manufacturing and retail. We are planning a conference in the near future for other sporting and recreational bodies to share good practice and explore the idea working together.
Gathering the evidence
Climbers and walkers are in the best position to witness and record the impact of changing weather patterns but a lot of the evidence we hold at the BMC is currently anecdotal. So, over the coming months, we are asking our members to help us gather photographic evidence of change within the UK and abroad: melting glaciers, changes in vegetation, rock falls. By collating this photographic evidence as soon as possible we aim to really highlight the impact climate change is having on the places we love.
Fit for the Future's annual members' event, The Network Harvest, will take place this October 17th at the Law Society, London. If you are a member of the network, book your place here. If you are not a member but would like to join the BMC and more than 100 other organisations in collaborating for positive change, contact the network manager, Fergus Rolfe.