AdventureCORPS events happen not in a man-made stadium, but in the real world "out there." We care deeply about the natural world for we are intrinsically linked with it and because we want to enjoy these events in their awesome natural settings for a long, long time. Here is what we are doing, so far, to mitigate the impact of our events, as well as some current thoughts about doing better.
We are extremely excited to announce that we joined One Percent For The Planet on July 1, 2008. As such, we are now donating at least 1% of total revenues (in other words, "off the top," not just 1% of profit, which would be next to nothing!) to environmental causes. This is in addition to all the work we do on behalf of, and donations we make to, our Official Charities, Challenged Athletes Foundation and Major Taylor Association, as outlined or our Charity Page.
1% For The Planet is a growing global movement of over 1300 companies (and counting) that donate 1% of their sales to a network of over 1,600 environmental organizations (and counting) worldwide. We are pleased and proud to be in such good company!
We are extremely excited to announce that we joined The Conservation Alliance on September 10, 2008. The Conservation Alliance is an organization of outdoor businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas throughout North America.
Membership in the Alliance is open to companies representing all aspects of the outdoor industry, including manufacturers, retailers, publishers, mills and sales representatives. The result is a diverse group of businesses whose livelihood depends on protecting our natural environment. Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $6 million to grassroots environmental groups. Alliance funding has helped save over 39 million acres of wildlands; stop or remove 26 dams; and preserve access to more than 16,000 miles of waterways and several climbing areas.
In association with our membership in 1% For The Planet, we are very pleased to announce that we joined the Death Valley Natural History Association as Life Members and are recognizing DVNHA as an Official Charity of AdventureCORPS as of January 23, 2009. DVNHA is a non-profit organization supporting education, research, and preservation in Death Valley National Park and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Some of their efforts include DeathValley R.O.C.K.S. (bringing inner city kids to experience one of the largest outdoor classrooms in the world), Devil's Hole Pupfish Recovery, Death Valley All Taxa Biological Inventory, plus they run the wonderful gift shops at the Furnace Creek Visitor's Center, Scotty's Castle Museum, Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station, and at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Office.
What We've Already Been Doing:
As of 2010, we are no longer using standard plastic water bottles as promotional / commemorative items for our events such as Furnace Creek 508, Badwater Ultramarathon, Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic, and 80 For Haiti. All those those Specialized brand bottles we've always used are recyclable, and we hope that they are eventually recycled when they are worn out, we are concerned that they end up in a landfill, or lost on the side of the road, where they will spend a million years not decomposing. Besides, plastic is evil, so we'd rather not play that game. So it was with great satisfaction that we discovered the BioGreen bottles made by California Bike Gear. These bottles look and work just like traditional bicycle water bottles, and they are recyclable, however they are ALSO made of at least 20% recyclable material AND - amazingly! - they are biodegradable! This technology should be mandatory in our opinion. Also, proving that being green doesn't have to cost more, they cost the same as the bottles we've used in the past and they are produced right here in Southern California. Drink well, everyone!
As of 2008, we have replaced the Badwater Ultramarathon and Furnace Creek 508 goodie bags, formerly made of paper or plastic, with 100% recycled tote bags, or organic cotton duffles, which we have custom-made for us. These are great bags and will hopefully live on for many years as a stylish shopping bag or for lugging anything around. Want one? Enter The 508 or Badwater!
As of 2007, we are using 100% Organic Cotton for our event t-shirts and hats.
Extensive efforts are made to minimize the environmental footprint - and maximize safety - at Furnace Creek 508. RVs and motorhomes have been banned for many years. In 2006, The 508 became the only race of its kind to limit entrants to one support vehicle, and to continue to limit the maximum vehicle width to 78". In 2007 we initiated the Green Teams program to recognize and rewards entrants who take personal efforts to mitigate their environment footprint and educate the public about the environment. In 2007 we began limiting runners to no more than two support vehicles and six crew members for the Badwater Ultramarathon, while RVs and motorhomes have been banned since 2000.
We encourage carpooling to our Spring and Fall Death Valley Century and Double Century, to Hell's Gate Hundred, and to all our events, whether in Death Valley, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Laguna, or elsewhere. Riders looking for carpool buddies may do so through our Blog / Forum.
Since 2005 we have used online registration for the Spring and Fall Death Valley Century and Double Century, eliminating a lot of wasted paper and the pollution associated with mailing us over 1000 pieces of mail each year. We are exploring ways to use a similar approach to Furnace Creek 508 and the Badwater Ultramarathon.
We recycle extensively and relentlessly at home, in our office, and at all our events. We find it preposterous that the "standard issue" garbage cans at many homes are about eight times the size of the city-provided recycling bins. We always have far more recycling than traditional garbage. Paying our bills online also saves paper and reduces pollution. We run errands on foot or bike and routinely don't even drive a car at least three or more days a week. We want to drive even less. We're also vegetarian (since 1990) and promote this lifestyle choice softly but regularly.
The "AdventureCORPS News" email newsletter currently goes out to over 10,000 athletes and reaches even more every day. Our goal with it is to send only useful, informative, interesting, and entertaining info, insights, stories, and more about our events, the people who do them, the greater world of endurance and adventure sports, and the natural world in which these events are held. As such, we routinely feature environmental news from Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, and the world at large. This is always very well received and we are thankful for that.
We Want To Do Better
We'd like to require our official sponsors to provide any paper promotional products - for including in goodie bags and distribution to event participants and staff - on 100% post-consumer recycled paper with soy-based ink.
We want to use 100% post-consumer paper, and soy-based ink, for our annual Race Magazines for Badwater and The 508. We hope to convince the "mom and pop" printer we've used for the past decade to keep our business by making this possible. Beginning in 2008 we have also cut the size of the Badwater Race Magazine in half and pared its content down to the bare essentials in order to use less paper.
We support three Official Charities - Challenged Athletes Foundation, Major Taylor Association, and Death Valley Natural History Association - in may ways, including financial, promotional, providing opportunities and incentives for entrants to fund-raise for them via our events, and more. But we also want to get hands-on involved with, as well as financially support, more than one specifically environmental organization. As noted above, in July 2008 we joined One Percent For The Planet, so we are officially committed to financially supporting environmental groups such as The Conservation Alliance and the DVNHA, but there are other environment groups we'd really like to support.
We would also like to take care of at least one section of California roadway through the Cal Trans Adopt-A-Highway program. Would you like to be a part of these efforts?
This is just the beginning of a never-ending story. Let's write the future together!
- Chris Kostman, Chief Adventure Officer, AdventureCORPS, Inc.
PS Click here to read more about our charitable efforts.
Some Related Articles We've Published
"The Way of the Outdoor Athlete"
"A Plea For Eating With a Purpose"
"A Day in the Life of an Adventure Athlete"
"SCUBA Diving: A Lifestyle for the 21st Century"
"A Fitness Warrior's Guide to Daily Life"