Professional big mountain skier Nat Segal - Our woman of the moment!

Professional skier Nat Segal uses her passion for skiing as a platform for raising awareness about climate change and environmental issues in the snow sports industry.

We're so happy to share her with you as our 'Women of the moment' ...

1. Describe yourself in a few words?

Outgoing, enthusiastic, curious and empathetic.

2. Tell us a bit about your story, your work, and any exciting projects at the present?

I grew up in Melbourne in a snow-hungry family. I skied at Mt Buller from the age of two to twenty four; competing in downhill, moguls and working as a coach for the Team Buller Riders. I studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) at Monash University but after two years I missed skiing too much and ran away to the French Alps for a season. I never looked back (although I did graduate). I now ski over eight months of the year, competing in international big mountain competitions and working on film projects and ski expeditions.

This year I was a part of an all-female ski and sail expedition to Greenland. Shifting Ice and Changing Tides was a human and wind powered expedition to the west coast of Greenland. In this remote, fascinating and beautiful region, we explored and skied first descents while limiting our environmental footprint by sailing and climbing. We plan to use this expedition as a platform for raising awareness about climate change and environmental issues in the snow sports industry as well as for inspiring and promoting female participation in snow sports adventures.

3. What inspires you to lead a life that is better for the planet?

The answer for this one is simple. We don’t have another planet, this is all that we have and at the moment we, humans, are destroying it beyond repair to the point that it won’t be habitable for anyone.

On a more personal level, I spend over two-thirds of the year in the mountains of the Southern and Northern Hemispheres pursuing a career in snow sports. My passion and my livelihood rely on the mountains and an industry that is being threatened by climate change. As a skier, I spend a large portion of my time outside in nature. As a result, it is difficult not to notice and be concerned about the negative implications that climate change is having on mountains regions, winter snowfall and the communities who rely on both them. However, it’s not the fear of loosing my sport that inspires me, it is the cost of not acting that concerns me most. I believe Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Co. says it best in the recently published book ‘Deep’ (Porter Fox):

"Who cares if you can't go ski? Skiing and art and music and culture, all of those 'disposable things' are what make human societies flourish and are what moves us forward. What if we lose that? Well, that would be a greater tragedy than anything else."

4. What do you think are the unique strengths of women taking action on climate change and living more sustainably?

I don’t think women or men have a unique strength that helps them take action on climate. I believe that everyone has something special to contribute to dealing with this issue. In my opinion, the most important part is that we as individuals, communities and nations, take responsibility and take action. In Australia the tides are changing and more people want to see changes in our government’s policies on climate change, CO2 emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels over sustainable energy. It’s the time of the individual in our country to make choices to live more sustainably and show our government where our values lie.

5. Do you have an inspiring message about living a more sustainable lifestyle you’d like to share with our 1 Million Women community?

I think that when it comes to the issue of climate change I always try and stay optimistic. It’s a hard issue to stay positive about, especially when you are asking individuals and communities to change the way they work- but I see it is a worthy challenge. As a competitive skier, it’s hard to live a sustainable lifestyle, as there are some things, such as air travel and hard wear that I rely on. Working to change that is a challenge I face everyday but nothing comes out of inaction. When I am old, I want to be able to say that I didn’t sit around and wait for someone else to fix the problem.

You can find out more about Natalie Segal at her website , or follow her on Twitter and Facebook .

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