I came across an interesting article today through the Treehugger newsletter, The Five Least Green Ways to Break a Sweat. Much to my dismay, training for a distant marathon was #2 on the list. For me, it is exciting to run races in other cities and, I hope, other countries, in the near future. What better way to take in the sites and sounds of a location than by covering 26.2 miles on foot? Unfortunately, being a globe-trotting marathoner is a major eco-sin.
It can be a huge challenge to balance your love of an active lifestyle with strongly held values of environmental sustainability. Think of the impact of all the travel to far-off locations for hiking, running, biking, paddling, or climbing. Add in all the waste generated by race events, most of which does not get recycled (something we are addressing). Finally, top that off with the environmental consequences of the resource- and energy-intensive gear and equipment required to enjoy your active pursuits. When you add it all up, even the most eco-conscious athlete treads pretty heavily on our planet.
When we launched Atayne, our goal was to address the gear issue. My own bad experience with a new red performance top led me to research the safety (people and planet) of performance apparel; I learned how destructive the current industry model is. I felt like I had to compromise my environmental and social values, to attain my athletic goals. I asked myself a simple question, “Do I continue to compromise my values, or do I be the change I want to see?” Atayne (pronounced attain) was the answer to that question.
What started out as a bad experience with a red performance top has transformed into a company dedicated to inspiring positive social and environmental change through the power of active lifestyles. One way we are fulfilling this mission is by creating high performing athletic gear that is sensitive on the planet and safe for the people who make and use it. But to realize our vision we need to be more. I think we need to continually create tools for the eco-active set to reduce their impact on the environment, as well as help them inspire others to do the same.
I want to end this post with a few questions in the hopes of facilitating a conversation and generating some new ideas.
- What is your “red shirt”? What are the environmental and social compromises you feel that you are making in your active lifestyle?
- What part of your active lifestyle do you feel has the biggest impact on the environment?
- What can people do to reduce their impact on the environment by engaging in the activities they love i.e. running, hiking, cycling, paddling, climbing and generally leading an active lifestyle?
If you have other thoughts, ideas, or questions outside of this list, I would love to hear them. The more information we get from our friends, the better we can meet the needs of the Atayne community and our planet.