I recently returned from a trip to the French Alps, a journey that marked the 20th anniversary of a trip I took with some lifelong friends. We revisited Chamonix. A place we had spent a week at when we were in scouts, age eighteen.
This trip, however, left me with a heavy heart and a newfound perspective on the effects of climate change.
We visited the Mer de Glace, Europe's 2nd largest glacier, its in the Chamonix Valley. I had visited this glacier previously back in 1994 with my parents. The change. Was shocking.
Climate change is destroying this glacier at an alarming rate. The rate is getting faster.
(Taken circa 1994). (Taken Aug 2023).
Chamonix is a global mecca for trail running and adventure sports. It's an amazing place to spend time if you're even remotely interested in the outdoors.
The economic and social boom in the region is huge. No doubt business and people are in a good place.
Growth, however, has come at a cost. The environmental impact of this increased tourism is massive and often overlooked.
As runners, we can make conscious choices when purchasing products. It's crucial to understand the composition, manufacturing process, and origin of our much loved new kit.
Prioritise product longevity. We can mend, fix, reuse, or pass on to others. As consumers. Take a moment, consider the ethical aspects of our purchases.
Are they fair trade, actually sustainable, or supporting initiatives like 1% for the planet?
Support brands that genuinely care and are genuinely working towards sustainability. They don’t cost a whole lot more in our running world.
As members of the global community of runners and adventure sports enthusiasts, I feel it's our responsibility to lead the awareness of our impact on the environment.
I wonder how many people who have raced the UTMB have thought about their environmental impact? Have they offset their flights? Have they considered alternative modes of transport?
I've been lucky to visit the Alps many times, and I'm guilty of contributing to the carbon footprint. I've flown to Geneva and taken a bus to Chamonix. Like many others.
Nearly 20 years ago, during an Environmental Economics and Ethics exam, I wrote in an essay "leave only footprints and take only photos." This phrase feels more relevant than ever. Our community can be the catalyst for change. We need to understand our impacts and contribute to accounting for them.
In establishing Run Legacy I and the team have committed to being a positive influence.
The real key is to reduce our impact on the planet in the first place, not offset our impact.... All positive steps are required, big and small, its our cumulative effect that will have the greatest impact.
This isn't about criticising those who aren't doing anything or saying we should stop enjoying racing and our sports. It's about raising awareness positively.
We aim to ask more questions and provide more clarity. Let's start a conversation and make a difference together.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this issue over one @runlegacy
How do you achieve a balance? Unsure where or how to start? What action are you taking already?
Thank you for being curious