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On’s environmental ones-to-watch list

At On, we know protecting the planet is a team sport. Meet some of the people who are leading the pack.


On was inspired by the Swiss Alps. Born from a love of nature. We want to help people get out, whatever the weather, and see more of the world around them. Reducing our environmental impact is at the heart of our mission – but we have a lot to learn. Our products now include more recycled materials, and we have even created our first fully recyclable shoe, Cyclon. While we know these steps are important we have many more ahead of us. 


Young people are raising their voices to create change and challenge the systems that have chipped away at our natural resources. You’ll have seen them on the news, Instagram, even out in nature pushing the communities around them to live better. We reached out to some of these inspiring people to pass the mic and ask what motivates their work, how people can join their mission, and what the future holds for Mother Nature. 


Introducing Laurent and Active Giving

When Laurent started running, it was his way to explore local art-filled streets in the cities he visited. In 2017, a friend encouraged him to join a Berlin running group, and he was hooked on the energy that running together created. While Laurent had only been running for a few years, it didn’t take long for him to realize the opportunities that hid within this incredible endorphin release and the community that loves it so much.


“I have always been in love with the outdoors, traveling and discovering new places. But until a few years back, I wasn’t really aware of my personal impact on the planet.” From this moment of self-awareness, an urgency grew in Laurent. He had an idea – Active Giving. An idea where all the physical activity you do transforms into environmental action. “Nature, outdoors, forests and trees are such a crucial part of the sport of running. From the air we breathe, to the trail we run on. Preserving our nature is such an important part of our role as humans and in my opinion to our role as runners.”


From his experience with running in mind, Laurent had already seen the positive effect running for a cause had on people. Taking this inspiration he wanted to do more than just create one-off moments to access this feeling. Active Giving is designed to put this purpose into every step, every day. Each kilometer tracked is converted into planting trees with reforestation partners – it couldn’t be simpler. “2020 has proven us that despite a challenging socio-economical context due to COVID-19, the will of individuals to do good prevails. In the future, I think more brands and customers shall join forces and aim for collective action.” 


“With close to 200,000 trees planted in the second half of 2020, we aim for 1,000,000 trees in 2021!” Find out how you can join the On team in our mission to plant 5000 trees with Active Giving



Introducing Kiseki and Give and Take


Education doesn’t always come from the classroom. Japanese change-maker Kiseki quickly realized there was a lot more that should be taught about the environmental crisis and the responsibility we all share in protecting the planet. 


“Whenever I go to the mountains, I always try to make a resolution. This is where I realized the greatness of nature and wanted to create more ways people can come into contact with it.” Kiseki’s mission began and Give and Take became the community-led initiative that would bring it to life. Give and Take aims to inspire people to get back to nature in a way that benefits the world around us. By getting outdoors we can see firsthand what needs our attention. 


Each month, the community comes together to take action in line with The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Simple acts like plogging – picking up litter while jogging – are crucial in protecting our local landscapes and communities. “I value the idea that taking care of the earth is cool. Within the community, we focus on helping those who have been able to become interested in social issues. You can meet a lot of wonderful people just by raising your voice and sending out a message. I would like to make this year one where I can continue to provide those opportunities.”


Japanese readers can join Give and Take with their monthly actions or you can keep up with their achievements on Instagram.



Introducing Juju and Colour the Trails


“Community starts with an invitation,” Juju Milay tells us. And that’s exactly why she founded Colour the Trails – it’s a way of enabling the BIPOC community to join her in nature. “I wanted to let them know they belong. They can hike, ski, bike and enjoy nature in the same way as any Canadian.”


For Juju – and Colour the Trails – community is everything. And an authentic, well-rounded community cannot exist without inclusivity. Their initiatives act as an open invitation for all to respectfully enjoy the outdoors. By subsidizing adventures, providing mentorship and advocating for inclusive representation in outdoor spaces, Colour the Trails hopes to help create the change that they want to see in the world.


“Our goal is to produce more inclusive content and films to further support that media representation. We also started The “Like Me - Outdoor Edition Film Festival” – a film series that focuses on stories of communities that have been intentionally and historically excluded from outdoor storytelling. Our goal is to bring visual representation to the varying intersectional identities through meaningful conversations surrounding outdoor adventure, sports and recreation.”


Beyond those big-picture plans, the community itself is thriving in more ways than one. “I’ve come to meet amazing individuals whom I would have never met. We laugh together, fall together. We create friendships that go beyond just Colour the Trails,” Juju explains. “Diversity has always been present. Inclusivity, however, has been missing.”


Follow Colour The Trails on Instagram and join their allyship monthly membership to help them continue their work in literally diversifying the landscape. Be the change.



Introducing Diandra and Intersectional Environmentalist


Starting her in the world of fashion, Diandra’s eyes were opened to the reality that sustainability that claims to work for people and planet was usually more invested in the latter.  “My view of sustainability held a connected understanding of people and the planet from the beginning.”


“When we unpack the history of sustainability, you learn the history of Black, Indigenous and people of color. With the rise of low-waste and eco-friendly lifestyles, BIPOC histories have been heavily appropriated and diluted by the white-led narrative that fails to connect our youth with the ancestral wisdom that sustainability was founded on and that they are deeply connected to. You find very quickly that unheard voices in the environmental movement could have helped us build a legacy of reciprocity and not one of extraction.”


Intersectional Environmentalist, founded by Leah Thomas, is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for marginalized communities. It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality. When we asked Diandra what makes Intersectional Environmentalist such a success she said, “Our platform became what it is today because the community behind it has been doing the work to unpack systems of oppression for years behind the scenes; at our dinner tables, in our gardens, at local coffee shops, and within the walls of large corporations. The platform taught us that together we are so much more impactful and have the power to keep impact happening at the grassroots level.”


Want to know more? You can join the movement and support the cause by donating or joining their Patreon. “Our partners, donors and Patreon members help us sustain our work and pay our team members equitably to continue it.”



Show your support

It’s not only follows that fuel these amazing initiatives. It’s also change. Take their ideas and run with them. Next time you’re out don’t ignore the wrapper on the floor ten feet from the bin, and explore what initiatives your local community are working on.  


We all have to start somewhere. Start now.   

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