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Perspectives on Sustainability: Part Two

In our next athlete article Kasie Enman takes a look at the topic of sustainability from an athlete perspective. She urges fellow athletes to use their platforms to advocate for the causes they believe in. 

 From time to time in my life, there have been moments when it’s like my eyes have been opened for the first time to a new awareness. When I was pregnant with my first child, all of a sudden I started seeing pregnant women everywhere I went. When it finally struck me to question the fact that the women’s race distance and team size was less than the men’s at the championship level of mountain running, I suddenly noticed all the other examples of this type of inequity across the sporting world and beyond. I found it shocking, how blind I had been to these things before I felt their direct impact

An unexpected consequence of the global health pandemic over the past year and a half is that our eyes are now collectively open to the fact that we all share aKasie small 1 planet. That what affects one, affects all. We are also faced now with extreme environmental crises like the devastating heat wave that the Pacific Northwest is dealing with as I write, receding glaciers, races being cancelled due to wildfires, I could go on. Having your eyes open can be overwhelming. One thing that helps me is to set an intention to also open my eyes to what I can do to help, to stand up for what I believe in. As athletes, we are gifted with a platform to advocate for the things we care most about. I have come to know that I care immensely about the mountains, forests, and wild lands where I am privileged to run. I care about the air I breathe, the rivers and lakes I cool off in, the diversity of living things that make the experience of being a trail runner feel complete. I care about communities - local, global, running, natural.

When asked what advice he would give to someone who wants to become a climate advocate, Bill McKibben, renowned climate advocate and passionate endurance athlete, said, “The most important thing that an individual can do, is be less of an individual. Join together with others in movements big enough to make change.” I think this is a pretty important thing to remember. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing the little things, on a personal level. I drive an electric car, have solar panels, compost, am an informed consumer, volunteer my time at a grassroots level. But I can see now that there are opportunities all around me to join those “movements big enough to make a change”. None of this is a new concept, really, but it needs our full attention and I pledge to give it more of mine going forward, for my kid’s future and our sport. The next article will get into some examples of organizations leading the way.

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