August 24, 2021

Professional athletes & climate advocates call for climate finance action from mountain top

Climate advocates ascend Teewinot Mountain ahead of the 2021 Jackson Hole Economic Symposium to place a “Stop the Money Pipeline” banner, calling attention to the connection between climate and finance 

Photo credit: Eric Roepke

Jackson, WY Ahead of the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, professional athletes are calling out from the mountain tops for private banks, corporations and the Federal Reserve to end fossil fuel finance and make climate risk a deciding factor in major financial decisions going forward. Protect Our Winters (POW), 350.org, and the Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition have teamed up to place a banner on the summit of Teewinot Mountain, overlooking the planned site of the Symposium, which is now happening virtually. 

Together the organizations are releasing a short film, Action Jackson, starring Protect Our Winters’ athletes Kai Jones and Zahan Billimoria, on the impact that financial decisions are having on the planet. The effort gives a voice to the urgency of steering the economy toward a clean energy future. 

“It’s going to take all of us to make clear that our economy must shift away from fossil fuels immediately in order to keep us below 1.5C degrees of warming. The Federal Reserve must account for climate risk and stop the money pipeline before the window of opportunity closes. Incorporating climate risk is prudent, responsible, and necessary investment strategy,” said Brett Fleishman, Head of Finance Campaigns at 350.org.

Teaser for Action Jackson (:30): download here for social
Watch and Embed Action Jackson : https://youtu.be/cbhlzgBcNVY
Images for editorial use: here (photo credit: Eric Roepke)

The “Action in Jackson” is centered around the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium (August 26-28, 2021), where Federal Reserve officials, central bankers from around the globe, and government representatives connect to set important policy and trade goals each year. These independent agencies have a massive influence in global and domestic economic policy, which must be steered toward a modern, clean energy economy to meet the demands of climate change. 

On August 7, 2021, a multi-generational team of professional climbers and skiers including Zahan Billimoria and Kai Jones, who are local to the Jackson, WY area, set out on a journey, ascending 5,600 feet over boulder fields and up prominent rock faces, to drape a large “Stop the Money Pipeline” banner off of the summit of Teewinot calling for climate fiance action. The effort aims to inspire conversation and action on the climate emergency during the Symposium. The organizations will launch a digital media campaign including the documentary film Action Jackson that captures the climb up Teewinot and draws the connection between climate and finance.

Zahan Billimoria, a world-renowned mountain guide and Protect Our Winters Alliance member, who led the Teewinot summit party said, “the ecosystem in the Tetons, and natural landscapes like them across the world, are changing right before our eyes – climate change isn’t theoretical, it is well-under way. In the last decade climate change has completely altered how, when and where we move through the mountains with repercussions that flow downhill to all life on the planet. But what’s most startling is that we are financing this destruction through irresponsible economic policy. We need leaders in government and business to step up and take action on climate finance putting clean air, clean water and a livable planet first.”

“Living here allows me to wake up every morning, take a breath of fresh air and realize that I live in the coolest place on the planet. I owe everything I have to growing up in the Tetons and I’m planning on protecting them for the rest of my life, so that my generation and future generations can continue to enjoy them,” said 15 year-old professional skier, Kai Jones, another member of the Teewinot summit party. 

“The IPCC has yet again issued a dire warning as climate impacts intensify daily from record breaking temperatures, fires, storms, and droughts. We need central banks that are up to the task of moving finance away from the culprits that have led us into this crisis,” said Fleishman. “We are sending a clear message to the Federal Reserve and banks around the world that our communities deserve better, our land and water deserves to be protected, and our livelihoods are dependent on shifting our economy off fossil fuels.”

In “The economics of climate change: no action not an option,” Swiss RE, the global reinsurer, warns that we will lose 10% of total economic value by mid-century if climate change stays on the currently-anticipated trajectory. Without substantial action the world is on track to miss emissions targets outlined in both the Paris Agreement and a 2050 net-zero pathway. 

“Ending fossil fuel financing and making climate risk a deciding factor in major financial decisions going forward costs nothing, but has the power to move mountains for the climate. It is not only the right thing to do; economically and financially it is also good business,” said Mario Molina, Executive Director of Protect Our Winters.

The athletes who made up the Teewinot summit party and executives for Protect Our Winters (POW), 350.org, and the Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition are available for interviews by contacting [email protected] or [email protected]

Photo credit: Eric Roepke

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