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Will climate change spell
so long for Sochi's snow?

Sochi, Russia—a seaside summer resort—is not the ideal spot for winter sports, and organizers have worked hard to secure its snow for the Winter Olympics that begin tonight.

And after a few more decades of global warming? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Facing that grim reality, five students from Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies have traveled to Sochi to draw attention to climate change and its threat to winter sports. They'll talk to athletes, fans, and—of course—journalists.

“Our goal is to call more media attention to the issue of climate change,” Taylor Rees ’14MEM says in an FES news release. “We want to make sure it is part of the conversation, where it should be.”

Rees and her fellow members of Team Climate—Diana Madson ’14MEM, Tom Owens ’14MEM, Bo Uaganbayar ’12, ’14MEM, and Kaylee Weil ’12, ’14MEM—are partnering with an organization called Protect Our Winters, founded by a professional snowboarder to "mobilize the winter sports community to lead the fight against climate change."

The Team Climate blog draws attention to a new study from the University of Waterloo in Cananda, which predicts that by mid-century, only 11 of the 19 previous Winter Olympics sites will still have enough cold and snow to host the Games.

Last February, Sochi's temperatures rarely fell below freezing. This year, the warmth could cause delays, flooding, and even avalanches.

If that happens, Weil says in the news release, Team Climate will be on hand: “Our hope is to be the climate change/winter sports experts on the ground."

Filed under climate change, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Olympics
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