Let’s be honest. On November 8th the country made a decision that put everything we hold dear under attack. On January 21st, millions of women worldwide stood up and howled their dissent. That was day 1. But we need to show up for days 2-1,460. This is why outdoor women need to lead the charge in the new political climate.
1. We’ve got a lot of skin in this game.
We are women. Our rights are being compromised, our abilities questioned, and our worth belittled. We are told we have no say over what happens to our bodies. We are paid 88 cents on the dollar (and even less, if we are women of color). We are treated as objects rather than complex, intricate human beings. We are spoken to and about with disrespect and disregard. We are told that there is a right and a wrong way to be a woman.
We love this planet. We thrive on time spent in the outdoors—in the mountains, the forests, the oceans, the rivers, the lakes, the deserts. We understand that science is real, and that we are actively destroying the environment that we live in. We know that we are on borrowed time—and that we have to fight every second to protect our home if we want to save it.
We play on public lands. We spend our early mornings, our evenings, our weekends, and our vacation time enjoying the natural splendor of this country in parks, forests, wildernesses, recreation areas, and open spaces that have been protected for everyone to enjoy. We run, hike, camp, backpack, bike, climb, ski, snowboard, snowshoe, surf, raft, fish, kayak, SUP, and swim in these special, sacred spaces that are now under threat.
Many of us have even more to worry about. People of color. Immigrants. The LGBTQ community. People with disabilities. Those who need access to affordable health care. Those who want a quality education for their children.
This affects all of us, most of us in more ways than one. It’s time to stand up and fight.
2. We’re tough as shit.
Ladies. We are outdoor women. We run uphill and ski technical lines and haul our bodies up rock faces and shred singletrack and drop cliffs and navigate rapids. We set gear and dig snow pits and manage backcountry risk and respond to emergencies in the wilderness and get back up when we fall down. We sweat and we reach and we hold on and we dig deep.
We do hard things for fun. We keep going even when we feel we cannot. We are the ideal soldiers for change. We will stare seemingly unsurmountable odds in the face and feel energized rather than discouraged. Our fellow humans and the planet need us. We need us. And so we must rise.
3. We are excellent at bringing the stoke.
Remember all those times you rallied the crew for dawn patrol? Those times you kept the morale high when it poured rain for the third day in a row on your backpacking trip? When you woke up after a terrible night sleep in an uncomfortable position and kept going uphill anyway? When you laughed through the tough parts? When you danced out the nerves at the top of a scary line? When you got out of your warm sleeping bag to go out in the cold and kept a smile on your face?
We are magnificent, blindingly indomitable balls of energy, capable of riling up those around us. We must channel this energy not only toward early morning missions and long slogs, but also toward refusing to accept the status quo. Refusing to allow humans to be mistreated. Refusing to allow our planet to be destroyed. Refusing to let fear and ignorance and cruelty drive out kindness and unity and love.
4.Our spheres of influence span the entire globe.
We are outdoor women, and we are also so many other things. We are lawyers. We are engineers. We are entrepreneurs. We are teachers. We are scientists. We are writers. We are doctors. We are coaches. We are conservationists. We are artists. We are analysts. We are consultants. We are community organizers. We are policy makers.
We all share a love for the outdoors, but we all exist in such vibrant and unique spaces in our professional lives. We all have levers—we all have ways in which we can influence and affect those around us. And we need to use those levers to do this work. We need to do what we can in the space we occupy to create the largest amount of change.
We need to write letters and essays and articles. We need to testify and lobby. We need to keep certain legislation and prevent others. We need to teach children to love the earth and each other. We need to draw and paint and sculpt and create. We need to protect the spaces and the people that we love. We need to rally the troops.
We are all powerful in our ways and in our own spaces. And together, with widespread, far-reaching action, we can fight for the kind of world we want to live in.
5. We are doers.
We get up for sunrise. We travel long distances using only the power of our own bodies. We push ourselves to the limits and then past them. We drive long distances to spend time in the places that fill our hearts. We get up, and we go.
And so in addition to sending and sliding and summiting and seeking, we need to do a few other things too.