This is second of three guest posts on eco-friendly running from Melissa Schweisguth. (Here’s the first, on clothing and shoes. Tomorrow she’ll write about food and drink.) I’m featuring Melissa’s post because running and the environment are two of my passions, and she’s done a beautiful job of marrying the two.
Melissa is a 36-year-old fellow sustainability professional and writer who also enjoys running. She puts me to shame, and not just because she clocked an impressive 3:11:07 in the Eugene (Oregon) Marathon this year. Melissa hasn’t thrown anything into a landfill since 2006, which earned her notice in Time magazine (due to non-consumerism and creative reuse.). She thrives on an organic, whole foods, locally-based and almost exclusively vegan diet, (as does famed ultra runner Scott Jurek). She’s been working on improving her running footprint to avoid trampling people or planet and has written three blogposts on running “au naturel” for her blog, Living Acoustically, which she’s kindly agreed to let me share here. I don’t expect most runners to be as “green” as Melissa, but my hope is that she’ll inspire you, whether you run or not, as she has inspired me to make a change or two in your lives. When she isn’t running, Melissa works a freelance writer and consultant on socially responsible business and media relations, and as director of membership and development for the Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association.
This is the second post about my efforts to maximize and improve running performance while honoring a guiding principle that defines sustainability to me: “live simply so that others may simply live.” As noted…This is being shared for informational purposes only and not intended to be preachy or judgmental, as neither is my style. We all have different backgrounds and resource demands in our lives, and I’m the first to admit there are many things I can improve!
When choosing races, my inclination is to stay as local (for simplicity and cost rather than environmental reasons), where I can bike or jog to the starting line. (I also start runs from home or bike to a park 1 mile away.) When travel is involved, carpooling is a good solution, and of course public transit, where available. I volunteer to help set up and handle recycling at local race, and have started to share tips for making races greener, from the Runners World/Nature’s Path Green Team.
Races usually involve freebies, t-shirts, race numbers and medals. I generally decline the bag and swag, being stuff I wouldn’t use anyway and small sample sizes with a lot of packaging waste.
If shirts are optional, I decline to get one. Otherwise, I give it to my dad to wear in the garden or volunteering for Meals on Wheels to share new stories with his clients. Old shirts can easily be made into [click to continue…]