Swiss ski resort Laax has come up with a novel way to raise attention about the rapid thawing of its Vorab glacier, and perhaps even slow its current rapid melting.
From 18 December 2020, visitors to the resort can purchase a ‘Last Day Pass’, a biodegradable, wooden card produced locally in Laax, and contribute to the cost to offset carbon emissions.
All proceeds from the Last Day Pass will be used to offset CO2 by planting 5,000 – 6,000 indigenous trees, slowing down the melt and pushing back the last day of the Vorab Glacier. That’s currently very precisely predicted on or before 3rd April 2056, after which date the glacier is predicted to have disappeared entirely.
Each card sold, available to the general public for 80 CHF (£67), will offset approximately 1 tonne of CO2, slowing the melt down by 10 minutes.
Global warming has already had an affect on the region. Up until 1999, LAAX used to run a Summer Snowboard Camp on the glacier, which ran in mid-June. Nowadays, this is no longer possible due to the massive, premature melting of the ice, which sees the season ended in April in order to preserve the glacier.
“If the Vorab Glacier disappears altogether, it will affect more than just keen skiers; the local economy will suffer, and the ancient landscape will be irreparably damaged. It’s up to us as residents, as well as visitors to the region, to put a stop to unchecked climate change before it’s too late,” said Reto Fry, sustainability expert at LAAX.
The project aims to sell 500 passes to offset a total of 500 tonnes of CO2 during the winter season, as part of the region’s commitment to The Greenstyle initative, a regional climate protection organisation dedicated to saving the glacier for future generations and become a self-sustaining alpine destination through economically viable initiatives.
The Greenstyle initiative, launched by the Weisse Arena Gruppe which operates in the Flims Laax Falera region as well as the municipalities of Trin and Sagogn, is also funding further projects to protect the unique nature around the Vorab Glacier. It aims for the region’s entire energy requirements to be covered by 100% renewable energy, produced locally.