Olympic couple joins fight against climate change

Two of Canada's top winter Olympians are joining environmentalist David Suzuki to fight global warming.

Two of Canada's top winter Olympians are joining environmentalist David Suzuki to fight global warming.

Skier Thomas Grandi and his wife cross-country skier Sara Renner were in Calgary Friday telling reporters they've personally witnessed the impact of climate change in the mountains where they ski.

"I've really seen winter change in a lot of ways," Grandi said.

"I've been all over the world chasing the snow, in summer and winter. Over the course of the years, I've seen a decline in the amount of snow, the warmer temperatures."

This year, several World Cup ski events in Europe have been cancelled due to lack of snow, rain or unseasonably warm weather.

Three years ago, a study published by the University of Zurich painted a picture with dire warnings for the ski industry.

The study's authorspredicted many ski resorts at low altitude could face ruin in the future — and they blamed global warming.

Grandi plans to donate half his World Cup winnings this season to the David Suzuki Foundation. He has twice won gold on the World Cup circuit in giant slalom.

"As athletes, we know we are role models. We feel it's our responsibility —our moral responsibility —to take some action and lead by example," Grandi said.

Renner, whowon a silver medal in cross-country skiing at the Olympics,is taking this season off because she is pregnant.

Couple goes carbon neutral

TheAlberta couple vowed Friday to go "carbon neutral," taking an inventory of the polluting emissions from their daily activities and reducing whenever possible, such as biking rather that driving in their hometown of Canmore.

To cover what remains, "carbon neutral" supporters purchase credits from another organization's project, resultingina reduction ofcarbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"I am not comfortable in 20 years telling my child I did nothing," Renner said.

Suzuki said Friday he hopes other athletes will join his campaign to protect the winter sports that are such a large part ofCanada's culture.

Long-time concern for Grandi

Last year before the Turin Olympics, Grandi talked about the big differences he's seen since he was child growing up in Banff.

"In hometown, in Europe, everywhere. We get more rain, the glaciers are shrinking. There's definitely real differences, which is scary."

But while Grandi was making those comments, another big name in Canadian skiing cautioned that people shouldn't push the panic button.

"I am very suspicious now when I see people make blanket statements because there are two sides to every issue," said Nancy Greene Raine, an Olympic gold medallist in the 1960s who has helped develop some of the top skiing resorts in British Columbia since her retirement.

"And in science there's almost never black and white. We don't know what next week's weather going to be. To say in 50 or 100 years, the temperature is going to do this, is a bit of a stretch for me."