The BMC and Climate Change

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 22/04/2020
Happy Earth Day 2020 Photo: Shutterstock

Climate change is already affecting large parts of the world, including upland and mountain areas that we love and which form the basis of our outdoor activities. As climbers, walkers and mountaineers, we all have a responsibility to try and reduce our impact.

Today is Earth Day and now more than ever we mustn't forget the deeper environmental emergency facing the planet, even during this ongoing pandemic.

Why is the BMC tackling Climate change?

We only have 10 years to limit global warming and avoid a climate breakdown; ultimately the outdoor experience is set to change. Already we are seeing the loss of Alpine climbing, European ski touring, and even the deterioration of limestone crags. Changes in rainfall, melting permafrost and the increasing number of extreme weather events is evidence of what’s to continue. We are the last generation that can stop devastating climate change.

Spring 2020 Issue of BMC Summit Magazine. Photo by Jethro Kiernan. 

BMC Climate Change Declaration

The BMC has declared a climate emergency and sets out our commitment to tackle the issue now and in the coming years. 

The declaration will be available to read in a few days once the final edits have been made. 

We're also working with government and partner organisations to bring forward policies to reduce UK emissions in line with national targets.

How the BMC and its members are tackling climate change

The BMC in 2020 and beyond is launching a range of ways to highlight and act against climate change and reduce our impact on the environment under the banner, The Climate Project. This will be an ongoing campaign of changing mindsets and embedding good decisions and choices into everyday activities.

Support peatland restoration in the UK - One of the key things we have recently launched is to offer our members the opportunity to support a climate change project in the UK at the point of purchasing travel insurance and when they take our BMC membership – you can choose to donate from £5 to £10,000.

Working in partnership with Moors for the Future, we are teaming up for an innovative way to support a carbon capture project. Your money will go back into helping restore our peatlands in the Peak District which are amongst the most important in capturing and storing carbon. They in fact store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests.

READ: The BMC launched The Climate Project

The money raised through our Climate Project will be used specifically to help purchase and transplant peat-forming Sphagnum mosses onto bare ground to help fight erosion.

By conserving, protecting and restoring peatlands globally, we can reduce emissions and revive an essential ecosystem that provides many services, for people, the planet and the climate.

What else?

  • We’re offsetting all our HQ operations and will be carbon neutral by the end of 2020
  • We are also working with Montane who have launched a new range of Montane X BMC clothing, with 5% of profits from UK sales funding The Climate Project
  • The BMC HQ are already single-use plastic free – we have just applied for an industry commitment mark
  • The BMC shop is 100% ethical
  • We will be hosting a lift share site to crags and events…coming soon
  • We will be offering our members a £50 incentive to transfer to the Green Energy Provider Octopus
  • We will be hosting a recycling centre where you will be able to find out where to recycle all of your old gear and in some instances, get it repaired.
  • We’re running a series of articles in Summit and online about the best of British venues (we’re calling it Climb Britain). 
  • We will be producing a series of articles on low carbon travel plans and being environmentally conscious
  • We’re encouraging all members to opt out of printed Summit magazines.
  • We are continuing with our Hills 2 Oceans campaign to encourage as many people as possible to reduce the amount of litter that ends up in our oceans. 
  • We will be working in partnership with other organisations on a number of other initiatives throughout 2020 and 2021 including collecting together photographic evidence of receding glaciers and changing landscapes.

It is our hope that by raising the issue and by leading the way, we will inspire others to want to make changes. Ten years from now the world will look a very different place and ‘we’ will likely have very different priorities. The BMC is very much at the start of this journey but we hope it will gain momentum throughout the year and more and more of us will be thinking about our own personal choices that might be affecting climate change.


We want to say a big thanks to every BMC member who continues to support us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t do it without you.

Did you know that we've just launched a new U27 membership offer for just £1 / month? And with full membership from £1.66 / month, it's never been easier to join and support our work: 

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/join-the-bmc-for-1-month-U27-membership


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Anonymous User
07/05/2020
This is a very important and timely initiative. The climate crisis is like a slow-motion pandemic, and needs to be addressed with concerted action NOW. Well done to the BMC for taking this issue seriously! As a glaciologist, I have been investigating glaciers in mountain and polar regions for nearly 50 years. The changes in glaciers world-wide have been dramatic and should be deeply worrying for humanity - from sea level rise to decline in water resources. Glaciologists recognised human-induced global warming at least thirty years ago, but politicians have preferred to listen to big, polluting businesses. Mountaineers are probably more aware than most people of the impact of climate change. Now is the time to engage with politicians, and I would encourage everyone to write to their MP. This post is excellent, but maybe an indication of how individual members can play a part in BMC would be welcome.
04/11/2020
I fully agree with the comment of the 7 May 2020. The task is urgent.

President, Lynn Robinson has responded positively with my questions, below and Catherine Flitcroft,
with others like Rob Dyer and Elfyn Jones are all doing excellent work:

Where do you stand over how we all, as hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers, react to the climate emergency?

Should we, individually and as BMC, have a strategy to respond to the December 2018 statement at COP 24 from David Attenborough? He spoke of the "collapse of civilisations" and "extinction of much of the natural world" and "time is running out" warnings.

How do you respond to a teenager, last year who sailed instead of flying across an ocean to pursue her goal?

How do mountaineers who jet all over the world to climb the high peaks respond to that challenge?!

How do we all walk, climb and run the talk to lessen our impact?

Has anyone else cut their travelling and explored lower hills and new, even remote countryside nearer to home with fewer long-distance expeditions? I've had great navigation training for remote hillwalking, even in deepest, darkest, rural Worcestershire and Shropshire!

In so doing, has anyone else found wrongly mapped public rights of way and missing or closed footbridges on our OS maps and on the legally enforceable definitive maps? Report them!

Can access to some crags, hills and countryside be boosted by fossil fuel-free, active travel if all cycle-walkways were upgraded to be free of mud, waterlogging and widened for greater use? Especially, the 22 Kms, major, Black Country Cycle-Walk-Horse Mudway!

Can more disused railways that can't have their trains back be used for walking/cycling/horse riding, as some are? To improve access to crag and hill!

Any other thoughts or suggestions? Tim Weller

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