Volkswagen's Ulrich Hackenberg presents the Cross Blue Concept car at NAIAS. Photo: NAIAS
The latest update of the National Climate Assessment, a federally-mandated report written by a panel of 240 scientists, was released January 11 and is meant to erase any doubts as to whether climate change is having a real, palpable impact on our daily lives.
"Climate change affects everything that you do," co-author Susan Cutter, director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, told the AP's Seth Borenstein. "It affects where you live, where you work and where you play and the infrastructure that you need to do all these things. It's more than just the polar bears."
Aside from making everyone rather depressed by the changing climate and the resources that are at stake, the report is meant to push regulators into action. That process is maddeningly slow—arguably slower than the pace at which the climate is changing. When Cutter talks about our climate impacting the places we play and the infrastructure we use, that includes the cars we drive to access the places we love. The Obama administration has made some bold moves in fuel efficiency standards, mandating an average of 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks. By 2025. That's impressive, but loses some of its shine given our imperative to significantly reduce carbon emissions starting now (or decades ago).
Still, carmakers are reacting to fuel standards that are coming into play now—a 35.5mpg average by 2016. Because it's an average, and because efficiency is easier to obtain in smaller vehicles, the most efficient vehicles have traditionally not been the same cars and trucks people use to play in the mountains. That is starting, ever so slowly, to change.
In a few days,
Black Diamond Equipment will unveil its new collection of clothing to media and
retailers at the Outdoor Retailer Trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah. The clothing has
been under development for two years, and you’ll be able to buy it at outdoor
specialty shops this coming fall.
Tim Bantle, head of Black Diamond’s clothing team, from the ski slopes
at Utah’s Canyons Resort for an exclusive interview on design, philosophy, and
why the world needs another outdoor apparel line.
On Black Diamond’s
Design process and ethic: Design. Engineer.
Build. Repeat. Black Diamond has been doing this for 55 years. Though really
the process starts with use. Field use is the first point of entry into product
here. Then we go through design, engineer, build and we’re manically addicted
to starting it all over again. It’s iterative over time. You can look back over 50
years at carabineers to see how this has played out in history. In apparel we
will see a similar evolutionary path. The “BD-ness” of the process is a
guarantee of great apparel to come. Does that mean we’ll redefine
silhouette of jacket? No. We didn’t do it with the carabiner.
On why the world
needs another high-end apparel brand: The narrative of
our industry is the movement of equipment brands into apparel over time. This
usually takes place early in the lifecycle of the brand. The situation we
find ourselves in here at Black Diamond is a bit unusual. We have a
legacy reaching back five decades and have built a global business on hardgoods
that’s as big or bigger than most existing apparel brands. As we build
into apparel, we're simply trying to take everything we've learned in
equipment and apply it. We want to build product that matters.
Norrona, Mammut, Arc'teryx, Mountain Hardwear—they all make equipment plus
clothing. Nobody has hung onto $130 million of pure equipment sales. Apparel
makes those kinds of numbers possible.
One of the brands
we admire for balancing hardgoods and softgoods is Burton. What Burton was to
snowboarding, Black Diamond has been to alpine climbing, climbing, and backcountry skiing.
Burton has developed into a world-class hardgoods and softgoods brand.
I am pretty sure
when I bought my first Black Diamond headlamp, Princeton Tec and Petzl were on
the shelf too. It was the same with gloves. Black Diamond has done a superb job
of grinding out really successful business initiatives, of competing in a space
that sometimes seems saturated. I think it’s because we’re engineering-minded
outdoor lovers who live at the base of a mountain range.
In November of 2012, Surfer posted the 28 invitees to the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, a 28-year-old event in which the world's best giant riders drop into 25-foot-plus swells to honor the late Hawaiian surfer. Left off the list, though included as an alternate, was 55-year-old North Shore veteran Michael Ho. Commenters sounded off:
"Mike Ho should be in before anybody wats goin on?? He has been in the
first one invited every year and actually knew Eddie Aikau blown!"
Food for thought, at La Montanita Co-op. All poems courtesy of Snow Poems Project, Santa Fe.
It didn’t exactly come as a shocker: 2012 was the hottest and driest year on record. But winter isn’t dead yet. Literally or metaphorically. There’s fresh stuff under the boards from the Sierras to Maine, and in Santa Fe, a cool new creative venture is turning snow into art.
The Snow Poems Project uses spray-on fake snow to stencil poetry on windows around Santa Fe. For the past two weeks, poems written by local residents have been popping up on schools, galleries, government buildings, restaurants, libraries, and yoga studios in town. The poems are short—one or two lines of blocky, uppercase type—and most of them aren't even about snow, but the feelings they convey are the feelings of winter itself: stark, pristine, and wild. Reading them is a little like watching your breath turn to steam on a frigid morning, or following a single pair of footprints across a high meadow blanketed in powder. Dazzling.
Poetry is beautiful at Body Santa Fe.
The idea came out of the Cut + Paste Society, a group of Santa Fe women artists and writers, as a way to illuminate public spaces in the darkest of seasons. It's a creative statement as much as an environmental one: "Winter is a time for reflection and the incubation of ideas," says Cut + Paste president Edie Tsong, who partnered with the Santa Fe Art Institute for this project, "and poetry reflects this." Many of Cut + Paste's members are mothers, so it’s also a parent’s effort to bring art into the everyday and to turn cities into “living books,” written from the perspective of the people who live there. Tsong and her team vetted 175 poems submitted by locals (nearly half of which were from students) and winnowed them down to 40, including this one by 12th-grader Pedro Tena:
Drive-by art at the Solana Center.
Putting a poem on glass is harder than it looks. Tsong hand cut letters from cardstock, used them to trace the stencils, and then held a stencil-cutting party at Whole Foods. To install, she and her team of volunteers lay lines down with dry erase marker, yardstick and level, and then tape letters and words backwards, so the poem can be read from the outside. Next, the faux frosting: The spray-on snow is squishy until it's dry (when it just becomes chalk). Finally, they remove and wash the letters to reuse again. "People may wonder if it's worth it, but think of the amount of hours of training athletes will do to compete," says Tsong, "and you never forget a race or some physical challenge."
Poems will grace the windows of Santa Fe for the rest of winter; by the first day of spring, they'll begin to fade out, like melting snow.