Since I was a child I have been educated about the importance of protecting the environment. I have been climbing mountains and crossing glaciers my whole life, and I could realize the devastating effects of climate change. We all have a role in reversing this tendency and ensure that the next generations are able not only to play in the mountains but to live on a healthy planet.
I love mountains, deeply, and I believe that since a young age I had a great consciousness about the importance of its preservation. Despite my environmental conscience, I’m one of the greatest environment destroyers. My lifestyle for the past decade as a professional athlete has been closely linked to traveling frantically around the globe and with that contributing in a large scale to global warming.
Mountains are essential for life on earth. They provide us with water stored in their glaciers, rivers and lakes. They provide us with resources as aliments and renewable energies. A third of the world forests are in mountain regions as well as more than half of biodiversity hotspots. Mountains also have a specific role in preventing global warming with phenomena like the albedo, the sun reflection by snow and ice, or the CO2 absorption by rock weathering. And also, egotistically speaking, they are the most amazing terrain to have fun practicing numerous activities like running, skiing, climbing… you name it!
It is scary to think how global warming can shape the planet in the next decades or how pollution can change the world’s biodiversity and the way we eat or find water to drink. This fear made me realize that I need to change the way I live to be more coherent with the values and love for mountains I have, and to take this conversation with you.
Advocating is important, I think one of the great challenges is to convince the bigger part of the population about the reality of the climate emergency we’re facing and for that all the visibility of the climate discussion has a big value. But we’ve come to a time where advocating isn’t enough. Talk minus action equals zero. This quote brought to the climbing community by Steve House can’t be more right than now.
We don’t have much slack left, we haven’t been looking at the problems we’re facing with the seriousness it requires until the last moment. But I believe we can change this, and that the next generations will be able to enjoy mountains as much as we do, but we need to start moving. We need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. We need to cut our global emissions by at least 50% in the next 10 years, and be carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest. That means fast, dramatic change to everything in society, including our values, economics, how we work, travel, buy, climb, run, go on holiday or expeditions - everything.
That’s why I commit to have a more sustainable lifestyle, reducing all the non-essential travels, only for those races and projects that have an important meaning for me and in any case never surpassing the 3 CO2e tons/year for all travels. I also refuse to use high carbon emissions for communication purposes (filming with helicopter, photographers traveling from far away, travel far to do a shooting) and do carbon offset of all my emissions.
As an athlete I use and get a lot of gear and clothes that have a big impact, that’s why I also commit to Recycle, reuse, reduce and re-purpose the equipment and to reduce the product allocation received to the minimum required for my activities. Also to push the brands I collaborate with to reduce the ecological footprint of their products.
One of the lifestyle factors that damage our planet the most is diet, and this was one of the major reasons that made me vegetarian some years ago. Another of these factors is finance, what is our money doing when we have it in a bank or an insurance. That’s why I commit to have all my savings in an ethical bank that does not invest in fossil fuels and to donate a part of my income to sustainability projects and part of my time to help protect mountain environments through the Kilian Jornet Foundation.
You can find some of the commitments I took as an athlete in the https://outdoorfriendly.org
And some tips for the daily sustainability: https://www.kilianjornetfoundation.org/tips/