Save our Slopes!
Climate change has become a central cultural point of concern since scientists initially made a link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Many areas have already suffered the effects of climate change, such as numerous Small Island Developing States that have received the attention of the recent World Environment Day efforts; however, as recent research suggests, increases in temperatures and geographical changes are having a detrimental, and palpable, impact on Swiss ski areas such as Verbier that must be addressed. At Chalet Apartment Rentals we try to be as sustainability-conscious as possible, to save our slopes and our wonderful Swiss skiing.
Over the past few decades, temperatures in Switzerland’s mountainous areas have increased by at least one degree celsius, and this trend is visibly continuing. The immediate impact of this on the Swiss community will be felt from the mountains as a result of this, as the cover of snow and ice depletes. The result of this is predicted to be that settlements will be affected by landslides and flooding. Between 1850 and 1970, alpine glaciers lost at least one third of their surface area and half of their density. This causes a sometimes sudden outflow of water which remains dammed by obstructions for some time, and then crashes through with enormous force, destroying the valley below. As between 4 and 6 per cent of Switzerland’s surface is a substance called permafrost – loose earth and stones held together by ice – the ground will become extremely unstable and may cause further landslides.
These short term effects are destructive enough, but there are also long-term impacts to be considered. As glaciers are the source of many of Switzerland’s primary rivers such as the Rhone, their disappearance will cause not only avalanches, but also river water levels to fall. As a result, the generation of electricity and ease of navigation for locals and visitors will become increasingly challenging. Furthermore, a rise in temperature of one degree centigrade pushes the tree line up by 100 meters (330 feet). This change to the line of succession will cause certain species to go extinct as they are unable to get the natural resources they need.
Of course, this is a disaster for the local flora and fauna, but it will also prove incredibly problematic for the European economy if not combated. The area available for winter sports will shrink, constricting the tourism industry, one of Switzerland’s main earners. According to expert David Scott, the average global temperature rise by 2100 could be more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit, the result being that of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, as few as 10 might be cold enough by midcentury to host them again. This means that many Swiss ski resorts may be unable to operate in under a hundred years if we don’t act now. Skiing is one of the most important parts of Swiss culture, and to lose it would be devastating.
Environmentally-friendly ski accommodation Verbier
Here at Chalet Apartment Rentals, we feel passionately about the stunning landscape we are based in, along with the amazing skiing opportunities it provides. We don’t want it to change and hope for many centuries of snowing in the future. For this to be a reality, we must all act in an environmentally conscious manner throughout our day-to-day lives. At Chalet Apartment Rentals we try to do our best to make our luxury accommodation Verbier as environmentally-friendly as possible, reusing vintage items rather factory-made items to reduce the effects of wastage, using efficient energy systems where possible and recycling.
We acknowledge that the skiing industry in fact contributes to these issues in mountainous areas by causing erosion, but as rising temperatures are the main issue that could cause change, we hope that by raising awareness of the importance of being environmentally aware and promoting good procedures ourselves, we can offset some of this effect. We also try to avoid heli-skiing, as this sport hugely impacts the slopes in a way that can be detrimental to the local environment. Ski holidays are a great way to realise the true beauty of the world we live in an remind yourself of the importance of trying to sustain it. We hope that our chalet rentals Verbier can demonstrate this beauty for many visitors in the future so that we can all continue skiing in Verbier and enjoying the landscape for many years to come.
For more information on the impact of climate change on the Swiss environment, click here. If you would like to find out more about our environmental sustainability policy, please feel free to contact us.