The Big Picture

Big Sky Resort aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2030

Big Sky Resort unveiled its initiative, the Big Picture, to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. The plan to accomplish this encompasses four major components and includes accountability-holding actions in and out of the Resort. “It really means that we’re taking responsibility for our impact. We’re recognizing where our contributions to our emissions lie and then making a commitment to address those,” Kyrn Dykema, sustainability specialist for the Resort, said. Dykema was hired in October, just as the ski season and plans for the Big Picture really started unfolding. At the base level, inspiration came from the desire to preserve the beauty and health of the environment surrounding the Resort. Waste, energy, resources and the newly opened Vista Hall serve as major players in the initiative. Commitments such as recycling oils, planning mountain clean-up days, installing keycard-based thermostats that regulate heat in-room when guests are out and using solar-powered avalanche beacons work to save energy. Grooming and idle times of snow machines will be optimized, and employee housing and carpooling promoted to maximize resource usage. The Vista Hall introduced a handful of trial ideas including the use of real silverware and plates to reduce single-use items and partnering with a composting company in Bozeman to reduce food waste. “We’re recognizing that it’s a very ambitious goal and are seeing the scope of what we’re striving towards, but also are very confident and empowered to work towards a net-zero goal and really encouraging others to follow suit,” Dykema said. Published in 2019, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) identified Social Tipping Interventions (STIs) with the potential to take relatively small changes and turn them into ideas that stick. Many Big Picture plans embody two of these STIs, moral implications and climate education and engagement. PNAS acknowledged that if these STIs tip and become social norms, the effect can be real, positive environmental impact. Progress towards net-zero emissions will be regularly evaluated. Big Sky Resort joined the National Ski Areas list of 40 or so, produce annual products to further emissions reductions. Association 2019 Climate Challenge, which serves as a way to hold those dedicated accountable. Participants, including Telluride, Bridger Bowl and Jackson Hole among a Coming up, the Big Picture plans on investing in state-wide green tariffs once available in Montana. “We’re hoping that this might be one of the updates that we have a little farther down the line,” Stacie Mesuda, Public Relations manager at the Resort, said.

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