Davos – Your Path Is To Nowhere

A sustainable skitour climate action to World Economic Forum 2020, in Davos.

Climate change is real, and it’s caused by human activity.

Since I understood this reality, my life completely changed.

My first reaction was to change my personal habitudes: I dramatically reduced my flights, I bought an electric car, I radically changed my consumption habitudes. I also started judging my friends, arguing with the ones still ordering beef at the restaurant and keep flying just to visit a random european city every weekend.

In this way I considerably reduced my carbon footprint (from more 20tons to less than 5tons per year, plus 2000 tree planted in a single year), but I was also starting being frustrated, as I felt this just as a personal change, not making a difference in a consumerist world governed by greedy people.

My path bring me crossing with old time friend Giovanni, that started me on the route of climate activism. Together we understood that more than changing our single habitudes, we must change the political and economical system.

We started working together to some projects: the first one was Allontanare le Montagne, the short documentary (on my Youtube ) that explains why and how we are choosing every day more a by fair means approach to mountaineering. We presented the video at Milano Montagna Festival 2019, and we got a good feedback from the mountain culture in Italy.

We were getting ready for the big step, and we got the occasion with World Economic Forum in Davos.

What is World Economic Forum (WEF)? Every January in Davos all the most powerful people of the world meet, to choose the strategies for years coming.
It’s not just a political meeting, alongside people as Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, also the most important CEO and financial bosses of the world meet there.

The focus of WEF2020 was sustainability: in the last year the public opinion changed a lot about the climate change, and everybody is speaking about it.

The greedy powerful people saw a big consumeristic opportunity in this new attention of the people. For this reason every product we buy today try to have a “green” facade. Many companies are also centering their marketing in showing sustainability.
They are using our hope for a better future to make even more money, again.

There is a name for this: GREENWASHING.

The most relevant data is that, still today, the powerful people meeting in Davos and speaking about cutting Co2 emissions, abet 300 billion Euros of public funding to fossil fuels, worldwide, yearly. This mean about 40€ for every single citizen of the world, included the ones of state that their income is less than 1000€ per year.

One day I met Giovanni for a run in our local forest and, talking about WEF, he told me: 

“Luca, I can’t stand that these people are coming speaking about sustainability, but coming by private jet and funding fossil fuels, we must do something”

“What do you have in mind?”

“We must do something spectacular, but in our way. Something that can be told to national media.”

“That’s a difficult goal!”

“Yes, but…I have an idea! Let’s go there, but by ski”

“By ski??”

“Yes, skiing by fair means!”

“Giovanni, but Davos is in the middle of Alps, and it’s winter!”

“Winter is every year warmer Luca, and we are good skier. Let’s find out how to do it”

We than spoke with our other friend Michele and Marco. The first is a strong endurance athlete and very nerdy designing on maps, and the second an experienced mountain guide.

We didn’t know that we would have been soon become famous as The Four of Davos!

In the month prior to our expedition, our Whatsapp group were full of options and crazy ideas (someone stated “let’s climb Bernina too!”).

At the end we got a final path: 100km and 6000m of positive elevation, starting from the alpine city of Sondrio, to cover in 2 and a half days.

But we added some points: we should reduce as much as possible our impact, even to reach the mountains. For this reason we started from our hometowns (we all leave around Lake Maggiore, 150km from Sondrio) by train.

And we decided to sleep with 0 impact: for this reason we only used winter bivouacs, and a cold Igloo for our night in Davos. And we bring our own food.

All our travel was made to be as sustainable as possible, not only for the personal Co2 reduction, but to discover what does it mean in enjoying an expedition.

Now imagine these 4 mountaineers, with huge backpacks and ski in hand, crossing the Milano Central Station, surrounded by posh people, wearing their fashion brands, watching dazed to us.

It were 3 dreamy days, walking something like 15 hours per day, I not only touched but I braked every single limit of my resistance. 

I was for sure the less fit of the group, but Giovanni and Michele were great helping me with photographic equipment and pushing me up. Marco had a problem with a foot on the first day, and arrived in Davos some hours later of us.

This huge effort helped me reconnecting to the deepest part of my soul.

Every single km we got closer to Davos, I felt more lucid, more awaked, more part of our beautiful Earth.

We all got this sensation, and talking together we realized this connection was possible only thanks to the fair means and 0 emission approach.

Our solitude was creating it, our effort, it was the lack of any external help.

I already touched this truth, and I had a confirmation: it’s not important the destination, but it’s more important how you get it.

And we discovered that going by 0 emissions was the most interesting and even funny way to get Davos.

We then reached Davos.

All around were black Mercedes with chauffeurs, and the “sustainable speaking” powerful people sit on the back of them. The most of them reached Davos by private jets or helicopters.

A true example of sustainability.

We even saw a tobacco company pop-up store making advertising to “unsmoke your mind”…

A question started tormenting us:

To reach Davos we had to do at our best what we can do better, going across the mountains. Those powerful people, whose job is to decide about the future of humanity, are doing their best to make the future of our children possible?

We have 300 billion Euros of reason to doubt about this!

What we didn’t expect was the media reaction on our expedition.

We got a huge feedback: Italian National Television interviewed us before and after Davos, we got cals to participate to programs in Rai (the Italian State Television), articles on national newspaper, and interviews on huge international media as Associated Press and Reuters.

It went much beyond every forecast, making us 4 little stars of sustainability in our country. Greta Thumberg (that is a hero for me) is not well admired in Italy, as most of the people claim her to go back to studying. 

Giovanni explained this very well: in Italy still exist the “macho” culture, a small teenage girl is not macho, 4 men crossing alps is macho.

To each country it’s own soup…the point is that we have now a small visibility to make a difference, and we are going to use it at our best.

Because the best way to change the world is to change the person that manage it, with our votes and our actions.