Footprints Running Camp Australia


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Footprints Camp, where Trail Running and Future Climate Leaders meet.

Do you see yourself as a climate leader in your community? 

Footprints Running Camp is about to touch down in Australia, at Warburton Camp, Wurundjeri Country, Victorian Central Highlands (20-25th April). There isn’t anything else like it. You’ll either want to follow along if you can’t make it or apply to attend for yourself. Imagine a week where trail running, science, entrepreneurship, storytelling, leadership and advocacy meet to help empower the chosen individuals to take climate action. 

Chosen participants will learn to become climate leaders, prompting education and collective community action. The Australian camp is slightly different from the US, where individuals proposed their own outdoor-focused projects. At Footprints Australia, individuals will work together to preserve the Great Forest, whilst using running as a means to get there!

Whilst new to Australia, Footprints Camp was created by professional trail and NNormal athlete, Dakota Jones and was hosted in the San Juan Mountains and Silverton, CO in 2022.

Check out the Footprints 2022 Running + Climate Action Trailer here. 


What is Footprints Running Camp?


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Image by Kurt Matthews, Insta: @kurtmatthewsphotography

At Footprints, individuals will workshop their ideas and collaborate with climate leaders and mentors, including: 

  • Award-winning filmmaker, Beau Miles 
  • WWF Threatened Species and Climate Adaptation Ecologist Dr. Kita Ashman 
  • New world crafter and  Co-creator of the  bestseller book ‘The Great Forest’, Sarah Rees
  • 150 marathon in 150 days marathon runner, Erchana Murray-Bartlett
  • Creator of Takayna Trail, Pilliga Ultra, For Wild Places and Footprints, Simon Harris

Alongside this, they’ll have the opportunity to run or hike amongst ancient forests, including the world’s tallest flowering trees. Generally, you’ll get the morning to immerse yourself in this environment, guided by trail runner and camp facilitator, Majell Backhausen, Patagonia Sports Community Manager. In the afternoon camp participants and mentors will meet to develop actionable plans to preserve the Great Forest in the National Park, take away actionable insights from mentors and presentations, and learn from each other.

‘Campers will have a fun experience and be inspired by what others are doing, by what they can do, and come away feeling prepared to take action on climate change. We want to provide them with the inspiration, know-how, and confidence to be effective climate action leaders.”

– Simon Harris, the Co-founder of Footprints Australia


In essence, Footprints facilitates the meeting of like-minded individuals in the ultimate environment to grow as future climate leaders who can make significant waves in their communities and the broader outdoor industry. The camp is held somewhere with limited phone and internet reception, deliberately. Fostering connections and intentional conversation is really important.  It’s environments like Footprints Running Camp where the magic happens.


How Can I Apply For Footprints?

Image by Majell Backhausen Insta: @majellb Footprints running camp, footprints camp, footprints running, footprints running australia
Image by Majell Backhausen Insta: @majellb


Be a part of the first Footprints camp to take place in Australia, on the lands of the Wurundjeri people, in the beautiful Victorian Central Highlands. 

You can apply directly through, and more specifically, the application form found here. 

Footprints Scholarships:

There are 2 scholarships available, thanks to Wild Allies for participants regardless of financial needs.

If you would like to apply or know someone that would benefit from a scholarship please send 500 words to as to what it would mean to take part in Footprints camp. All participants need to be over 18 years of age.

The scholarship includes:

  • Full entry into the camp
  • Running kit provided by Patagonia
  • Running shoes provided by Paddy Pallin
  • Food across the event
  • Accommodation
  • Assistance in transport from Melbourne to camp and return


Australian Trail Athlete Paige Penrose’s Experience at Footprints Running Camp in Colorado.


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Image of Paige Penrose provided by Kamil Sustiak.

Paige Penrose is an outstanding trail athlete, hailing from Stanwell Park, Australia, and currently studying Kinesiology whilst competing in NCAA Track/XC at The University of Nevada, Reno. She was lucky enough to be chosen to attend Footprints Running Camp in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado in 2022. She shares a bit about her time at the camp, her project, and key learnings below.

You can’t stand and care for something you don’t know,  so allowing these people to get outside just increases the number of people who are standing up for the planet.’

– Paige Penrose


Tell Us About Your Experience at Footprints.

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Footprints Camp in Colorado, 2022. Sourced from 2022 Trailer.


I arrived at Footprints having just moved across the world to find my way in a new sport at a new school. What I found in that mountain hut at 3500m with no electricity, minimal running water, and indoor drop toilets, was family, hope, and whooooole lot of stoke. This period of my life was one of the most unsettling, a close second to the first few days of basic military training in Wagga Wagga at age 18 a couple of months after finishing high school. The week I spent in that hut made it all ok. Each day we ran, we ate, we bathed in ice-cold creeks, we learned about peatlands, the impacts of warming oceans, and how to tell stories. Everyone came from extremely different backgrounds, but we all belong to the same Earth. We started to learn how many different ways it can be experienced, how many ways you can connect to it, and how many ways we can help to make sure it is taken care of.


What is your project? How did Footprints help you develop your project further?

I came into footprints knowing I wanted to do something towards making it easier for athletes with disabilities to get outside. I didn’t know how to turn that into a tangible project but that is exactly what those seven days on the side of a mountain were for. My project is centered around increasing the outdoor state. That is, the number of people, from all walks of life, who feel a connection to want to stand for wild places. I find human movement phenomenal but it’s not so simple for everyone. We like to think of trail running as a welcoming sport and community but the truth is that we have a long way to go in making it truly accessible.

It’s taking some time and longer than I would like because NCAA running and full-time study is no joke but I’m in the process of developing a package for race directors to implement at their events to establish a para category and provide the means to get as many people out on trails as we can. Human movement and sport have deep-seated conceptions about what movement ’should’ look like but in reality, there are many many ways to traverse a trail. Eventually, I hope to tie this directly back into climate action and make sure those trails are there for a long time. For everybody.


What are some key takeaways from your trip which you think we could all benefit from hearing?

The biggest thing I took away from Footprints was the variation in what environmental advocacy can look like. You don’t need to be studying environmental science, engineering, or law in order to make a difference. Footprints brought together a small group of hugely varied individuals. There were students, researchers, teachers, professional skiers, writers, and lawyers turned environmental/social justice entrepreneurs. We need people in every sector of society to do what they can because that is what it’s going to take. It doesn’t matter what position you find yourself in right now, there is always something to be done. It doesn’t matter how big or small. You don’t need to change careers (although you could!) you don’t have to be doing every single thing “right”, although some people and some companies seem to make you want to believe that. We are all drops in a very, very large ocean

Thank you Paige for sharing some of your experiences and learnings.

For more information on Footprints Camp in Australia, visit: 


footprints running sponsors, footprints running camp australia, wild allies, patagonia australia footprints camp Website:

Click to view the: Footprints Running Camp 2021 Full Film

Get in contact:

#runforchange #trailrunning #trailrunningaustralia #trail #abetterworld #wildallies


Athlete Climate Sustainability


This is the first in a series of posts about Athlete Climate Sustainability. Updated July 2022.

(*Action points are places where I’ve identified calls to action you can do)

Almost all photos are my own, taken with various iPhone cameras, except those taken in Moab.

athlete climate sustainability

Tyrolean Alps, Near St Anton am Arlberg, Austria. Taking a break for lunch on a beautiful day.


Athlete Climate Sustainability


Do you know what athletes and the outdoor industry are good at? Solving problems. 

Well, we’ve got one of the biggest problems of all to solve right now.

How often do you check the weather? I personally check the weather around 2-3x a day, centered around what training I need to do in the morning and evening, and if I need to get outside work done. Here’s where athlete climate sustainability comes into play. 

We need healthy environments to be able to enjoy the outdoors. 

We also need educated athletes and the public to be able to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

Climate Change, in the long term, is more destructive than COVID-19 in the current state. 

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Skied up to watch the sunrise over the Kosciuszko Range, NSW, Australia.


Weather patterns are becoming more extreme and/or more confusing in patterns which will no doubt impact when and how you can train, compete and potentially perform your job and outside work (such as gardening, projects, etc.) 


“Engage with other people who care…you’ll feel less alone”

–  Clare Gallagher (Elite US Trail Runner and Major Climate Advocate)


If you love to be outdoors and be active in nature like myself, it is our responsibility to be aware of how climate change is impacting our training playground and competition localities. Your favourite places to run, ski, surf, bike… We are a part of the environment, not separate from it. We have to start aligning our ways of thinking in that direction. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said to people I’m living or traveling with – “I’m going for a run, I need some time to be alone outside.” I laugh at myself because you are less alone running in the mountains than you are inside a home! 

This is why I decided to release a series of researched athlete climate sustainability blog posts to not only help myself become further informed, use my digital space voice I am lucky enough to have, educate other athletes, and play my part in the education piece of sustainable climate practices. 

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Beautiful Killcare beach, around sunset, NSW, Australia


Climate change affects EVERYONE. Anthropogenic climate change is the number one issue. Anthropogenic means human-caused. It’s not a matter of ‘leaving it up to those in charge’, ‘society labeled or Instagram eco warriors’ or ‘those with an interest in climate change’. Much like the proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. It takes all of us to raise issues of concern and act accordingly. 

In the case of climate denialism, one of the primary reasons it exists is because if an individual or group holds a certain belief and they search the internet enough, they will always find content to support the argument whatever that may be. Hopefully, all the fantastic and accurate content available in such a diversity of forms helps some of those individuals who are uncertain shift towards a climate-aware mindset. 

Action: It is crucial to learn about athlete climate sustainability as sportspeople, and act accordingly. Whatever area you have the privilege to hold a strong voice in – the workplace, home, school, university, a sporting club, a race organizer, it’s time to use it!

In saying this, this is a massive topic, it would take me years to talk about everything I want to, and I still would want to experience, watch, read, follow and hear more! It can become quite overwhelming. In this post, I’ll focus on how athletes can play a role in climate advocacy and conservation efforts. Essentially, how to be an eco-athlete (I do believe this term shouldn’t exist in the future – we should all be eco athletes in my opinion). 

Let’s get to it. 


How can athletes be sustainable?

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Running in the Moab Highlands with the wonderful Salomon USA team, Photography by Jamil Coury

Athletes, sport, and sustainability are becoming a bigger conversation in the sporting world. You’ll notice many athletes are speaking up on social media, sponsors are beginning to voice their opinions, race directors are ensuring their events are ecologically sustainable (that means, no plastic cups, refillable bottles, and packs, ensuring athletes, crew, and aid stations are as minimally invasive to the surroundings as possible etc.) I don’t know about you, but I can’t just train, run for fun, and race. I know I have to make an impact because I care too much, and I believe it is the responsibility of everyone. Not everyone will agree with your decision to speak out, but a majority will. 

Just like everything else is an ‘ecosystem’ in essence, the forward path of improvement needs to also be an ecosystem – multiple parts, en masse, working for common goals. If you’re like me, I wanted to know how I could further play a role other than smaller impact activities like cleaning up my local area (which, I’ll continue to do, alongside other things!). 

According to Project Drawdown and Trail Runner Magazine (Sourced from Spring 2020 Issue), the best 4 actions an individual can take are:

  • Avoid air-based travel
  • Have fewer children
  • Live car-free
  • Eat a plant-based diet

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Mt. Gower Summit Trail, looking over at Mt. Lidgebird. Lord Howe Island, NSW, Australia


However, it isn’t about prescribing a list of things you ‘need’ to do. It is about doing what you can do, which could mean minimizing the meat you eat, reducing flight and car travel. I am by no means perfect, I travel by air a lot. If you’re like me, make sure you offset your carbon emissions when travelling.  Further on in this post I’ll discuss very simple and more complex ways to implement more sustainable practices into your athletic life, and become well versed in Athlete Climate Sustainability. 

Remember, to have the ability to train, safe spaces to train, the resources to train and fuel to train is a massive privilege not to be taken for granted. Have a listen to a discussion about this with Caroline Gleich here on Spotify. 

So, what actually makes a long-term climate change difference?

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Running around Seefeld, Mosern – Austria. 

All talk and no action is way too common nowadays.  Tom Carroll, Economist and microeconomic excerpt around climate believe that whilst activities such as beach clean-ups and plogga make a small difference, in the grand scheme of things the long-term impact of recruiting those with powerful voices in an array of industries to speak up will have a far larger impact. We can’t leave it up to climate activism industries or large sporting corporations to do all the talking and take all the action.

For example, the head of a multinational finance company begins speaking about climate change in relation to how it will impact their industry specifically.  

Action: Instead of the individual and their team simply speaking about it, they engage a CTA (Call-to-action) and start doing. What could doing look like?


  • Establishing sustainable workplace climate practices and ensuring it is upheld. For example, single-use plastic reduction, recycling, glass and general waste (compost too!) 


  • Incentivize employees to commute to and from the workplace in a more sustainable manner


  • Where zoom meetings are possible, encourage this to reduce client travel


  • In newsletter drops, sharing client and staff stories of how they made a short or long term impact, or somewhere outdoors they value and why. This is a bit like storytelling marketing – put a story to the issue, and people are a lot more likely to engage with the content.


  • Pick an area of impact within the greater climate change issue, and commit to events to fundraise for that area that incorporate employees. It can double as office events and bonding. 


Start by identifying what you are most passionate about in the area of sustainable sport.

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Falls Creek Altitude Training Camp, 2017. 

I know when researching, writing, and collaborating on this content it was easy to become overwhelmed by the enormity of routes I could take in discussing athlete climate sustainability and sustainability in sport in general. 

But how do I identify what this is for me?

Action: If you’re a runner or an athlete that competes in a multitude of different environments, I’d suggest figuring out how either your local playground (by playground, I mean outdoor adventure area!) or favourite place to travel for sport or competition is being impacted and start there. It will take some research, but the resources are definitely out there. I listed some at the bottom of this article that may help get you started! 

If you’re a swimmer, for example, you likely already hold a passion for movement in the water, so you could begin there! Same for skiing (nordic, alpine, skimo, etc.) – how is your favourite mountain being directly impacted? What resources and groups already exist that you could explore? 


Eco-conscious Footwear

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Training Partner Extraordinaire Madi and I on a run in the Karwendel Alps, Austria. 

There’s a major issue with running shoes and footwear waste in general. If you’ve watched the Salomon Sustainable series – Solving the sample challenge (available here on Youtube) you’ll observe how there is a massive issue with sample shoe production. Salomon has actively reduced their production of sample shoes by switching to 3D digital concept technology and sending 3D samples to reduce CO2 consumption.


New to the scene, NNormal, has the key goal as an outdoor + adventure brand to reduce environmental impact. The mission of NNormal is, ‘ To Inspire people to enjoy and respect nature‘, and won’t be another company that is ‘all talk, no action.’ They will be transparent about their footprint when it comes to the production and consumption cycle of their products. They also value a high sustainable standard for their products – they won’t compromise cost of production for a high environmental impact.  You can join their growing community by clicking here to learn about work, trial, and community opportunities.

On Running

On Running’s Cyclon shoe – the first circular pair of running shoes which run on a subscription is also groundbreaking. This way, On Running states they do not generate waste, they recycle the shoe. It is made entirely of Castor Beans – from a tree, harvested and processed into a plastic sustainably! 

Shipping shoes utilizing non-plastic materials is also ideal, including recycled shoe boxes, which many outdoor industry leaders are doing. 

However, we as consumers also need to consider how to reduce our own shoe waste. 

Some simple things you can do are (*Action):

  • (US) Donate your old shoes @ 
  • (AUS and US ) Nike Reuse-a-shoe program – hand your old Nike shoes in to your local store, or Rebel Sport in Aus, (with bins, where applicable) –
  • (AUS) Donate your old shoes @
  • Find another use for them. A few of my funky racing flats make for great sneakers. I still wear them to walk in, and do outdoor chores. 
  • Enquire at your local running store, more often than not they will have either a donation bin or shoe drive. 


Reduce Single-Use Plastics


I was stand-up paddle boarding in Hardy’s Bay around sunset, on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia. I was very lucky to see a turtle on this particular outing. On my paddle back to the dock, I noticed a plastic bottle bobbing around in the sea foam. Having just encountered a turtle a little further out in the bay, I immediately was saddened by the common reality of litter floating around in water bodies, or entering the waterways. 

It’s our responsibility to lead by example, here are a few:


  • Reuse water bottles and take a hydration pack
  • Take our keepcups to the cafes
  • Return our cans at return and earn centers
  •  Bring reusable bags
  •  Try beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap
  • Don’t order takeout with utensils
  • Enquire at your local food joints about single-use plastics, if they haven’t jumped on board a sustainable path yet.
  • Fabric wrap your gifts.
  • Invest in sustainable fashion and gear, not fast fashion – look for bamboo and cork in gear. 


This is a great video from Patagonia regarding waste and human consumption in relativity to clothing. Click here to watch it.



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Without the ocean, we would not be here. Unfortunately, microplastics, dumping, oil rigs and drilling, and overfishing to name a few, are leaders in adversely impacting the environment. Increased atmospheric CO2 levels also have an impact, leading to increased acidity,  warmer oceans, increased ocean temps, and the decay of shell-based organisms.

What can you do? The suggestions in this post that guide you in reducing your carbon footprint, reducing single-use plastics, and being mindful of where you pour liquid wastes (for example, if you wash your car) are all good starts. Take 3 for the sea is also a very good micro-initiative. If you’re around a body of water, take 3 pieces of trash with you and dispose of it properly. 


Travel for Competition and Training


When traveling for competition and training, travel responsibly. This means:


  • Travelling in groups (where possible) to reduce transportation means
  • Offsetting flight emissions
  • Holding virtual meetings where possible to reduce travel
  • Competing in and supporting local events
  • Mend gear, instead of buying or requesting new gear for travel. You don’t need a new jacket if it can be mended. 

Race Organization and Competition

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Pre-run, Moab, Photograph by Jamil Coury


Event organizers and sponsors should make every effort to be free of plastic cups and dispose of all wrappers (gels!!) responsibly. Entrants should be encouraged to carry refillable water packs/handhelds etc. in endurance events. 

Sourcing race fuel from local businesses is also a great idea. Prizes from local companies are also forward-thinking sustainable decisions. 

Races with a high budget should avoid using helicopters where possible, particularly for the purpose of content creation. Drones are way better anyway!


For athletes, remember:

  • If you pack it in, pack it out
  • Make sure you do your business far away from any water source
  • Stick to the marked course.


Water and packs (tips and tricks)

  • Don’t drink straight from the stream (in most cases), iodine is the lightest water purifier for water, then something like SteriPEN and a portable filter is next. 
    • Always go for a running water source, and upstream is best.


Eating Sustainably for Athletes

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Anna’s Vegie Dahl Recipe – Thank you Anna!

I understand it is not easy for everyone to go entirely plant-based. The UN Climate Report of 2019 called for people to eat less meat. As an athlete, it is possible to fuel yourself and do this. Try having meat-free days, and experiment with other forms of protein for cooking. This could look like, and by no means limited to:


  • Tofu – you can get silken, moderately silken, firm, or extra firm (all have different purposes!)
  • Tempeh – Try pressing them in a sandwich press after marinating in brown rice syrup and soy sauce, great in stir frys and buddha bowls of sorts. 
  • Edamame 
  • Lentils and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds to boost protein levels – try this nut and seed bread recipe!
  • Eggs from cage-free, free-range sources (or if you’ve got enough land and time, invest in some chickens!)


Anna suggests that you could try replacing beef with kangaroo meat, as this is much more sustainable and ecologically friendly. Kangaroo meat is more ‘chewy’, high in iron, and lean. We suggest cooking it in a curry or fragrant dish. Try this Kangaroo Coconut Curry. 



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Local Cave Running Adventures

Awesome Endurance athlete Sebastian Salsbury (@sebrunsfar) recently posted on Instagram about creating a blanket from race old t-shirts. Creative ideas like this are a great alternative to donating to charity, which often is inundated with old t-shirts anyway. 

Fixing old gear might take a bit of time, but it’s cheaper and much better for the environment. 

Patagonia has a repair center in Reno, Nevada for worn-out gear. Read more about it here.


Plogga or Plogging

Plogging is the act of jogging or hiking (or any movement in general) and collecting trash/rubbish. The word plogging was created by combining ‘jogging’ with ‘plocka up’, a Swedish term for ‘picking up’. Struggling to get out to train? Incorporate plogga for a bit of fun.


Vote to elect those who are willing to speak


We need collective and individual action to vote ourselves, and educate others on how crucial it is to vote for those who will speak in the places where legislation is made.

Use your voice and create content.

Social media and increasing access to digital platforms has allowed for more people to promote their values on the internet. Whilst this can be a negative thing in some cases, such as the spread of misinformation, when it comes to climate action it’s time to speak up. Creating shareable content such as Instagram reels around athlete climate sustainability is a fantastic idea. 

Sponsored athletes who may have content support and extra leverage should use these resources to advocate. It is so important to utilize your influence and voice to make an impact. Athletes more often than not are a well-respected voice in society, who people are willing to listen to. We need to set ambitious goals and be bold. 

Big changes come from above. I am reading a great book called ‘Culture Code’ which stresses this. Amazing athlete Emilie Fosberg has also emphasized this point. Learn and seek education.


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Yosemite Valley, Yosemite NP

What parts are you most interested in? Learn more about those. Ultimately, sustainable athletes have sustainable skills for any scenario. Refreshing your skills is also important – just like when learning to climb, or in the backcountry. 


Why are sports so critical for sustainability?


Millions of people have an interest in sports and sports-people. I could prove this by showing the target market range on the backend of facebook ad manager when designing video advertising campaigns. Sports are an amazing platform to voice facts, tell sport specific stories related to climate, and conversations centralized around climate change. Rather than create new platforms, a more efficient way of communication is using those that already exist. 

Sport can promote grassroots actions, such as those in the sports team, outdoor company or individual’s local community 

Since outdoor sports people are the ones relying on the environment to play or do the activity, it is important that these environments still exist in the future to continue these activities. Hence the crucial importance of sustainable athletes and sustainable sporting actions. 


How has climate affected athletes?


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Tyrolean Alps, Austria (An all-time favourite of mine)


Increased extreme weather

From lengthy periods of time in extremely unhealthy AQI levels due to mass wildfires and bushfires, rainouts, heat as discussed above and increasing severity of storms – the changing weather patterns will have a significant impact on the ability to train and compete in sports. According to a NASA study, around 75% of the Swiss alps glaciers will have melted by 2050. The Norwegian National Nordic team trained in Italy this year as there was less snow in Norway than usual. Snowfall levels are dropping, and rising temperatures in normally arctic environments are causing massive changes in ecological systems (and most definitely all these changes aren’t visible to the human eye). New species actually get created in snow algae as the temperature warms.

Rising Temperatures: Heat and Athlete Health

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Lucky Peak State Park, Idaho. Thick smoke in September from the wildfires. 

During my middle school years, I fondly remember some touch football games where we were expected to play in 40 degrees celsius, or 104 Fahrenheit. That’s around 1 hour of running and sprinting in blazing heat. I believe the rules around play and heat are stricter now, but at the time it was pretty unsafe. The only way we made it through was with constant substitutions, ice, and shaded cool off sports. Unfortunately days reaching these temperatures are becoming more frequent as time passes which puts many sports at risk. 

Further, many events may have to be cancelled in the future, such as ultra marathons in extreme climates due to the participant and event organizing team health risks being too high. 

A series of two papers on heat and health were released by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington (Lancet 2021; 398: 698–708). The first paper identified the health risks of hotter weather and heat extremes. 

The paper discussed the concerning increase in deaths and illness as a result of extreme temperatures. To quote the paper, “Robust evidence of the relationships between hot weather and morbidity and mortality is being augmented with growing evidence of other effects, including on occupational works, and professional and recreational athletes.” (704-405). 

The thing is, we don’t even understand the full-scope of risk yet. The paper brings attention to the fact that heat-related health issues and deaths from the “first two decades of the 21st century will be poor predictors of risks over the coming decades.”  (698) All the more reason to mitigate the risks now. 


climate athlete sustainability awareness

Running Mt. Superior with Alyssa, Northern Utah

The key takeaway from the first of this two paper series was:

“without urgent investments in research and risk management actions, climate change will continue to increase heat-related hazards, and associated morbidity and mortality.” 

We will have to hold events and training in different areas as we shift into warmer climates and more extreme weather patterns. This will impact sports (but not limited to) such as running, skiing, hiking and open water swimming. 

A prime example I can think of is ultramarathons conducted in desert environments. In Australia with rising temperatures, it could become almost impossible to run these types of events. 

Externally to sport, the amount of people including indigenous communities being displaced is a massive issue. Climate refugees are being forced to evacuate their homes because of these environmental shifts which make the land uninhabitable. I recently watched a documentary on this topic for the native people of Kazakhstan who rely on horses and livestock to live. 


How do sports affect the environment?

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Nordic Skiing in Silverstar, Canada

Sports affect the environment considerably, as we move in nature every day. It is crucial that we conduct our sports and events sustainably to ensure that the very environments we train and race in still exist in the future. 

Whilst we may be more environmentally aware as outdoor sports people, the sports we play and do have more adverse impacts on the environment than most other sports. 

Issues such as microplastic shedding from clothes and gear is prominent, highlighted via testing of grasses and forms of moss in the mountains and trails – you could plot a map of high human traffic, even if we believe we are not leaving a trace. A few awesome climate-conscious companies are working on creating clothes and gear that do not shed in the wash and prevent this microplastic shedding. Make sure you read the label of the gear you buy, buy for durability and lifelong use (no fast fashion!), and from climate-conscious companies.

Race organizers, spectators and competitors also have a duty to the environment. Carbon Neutral events are a must goal for the future. A wonderful research article published by Pamela Wicker from Australia and New Zealand highlights how “participants in nature sports had the highest (CO2 equivalent) emission levels.” However, Wicker highlighted how environmental consciousness does reduce these levels on the larger scale. This is where smaller habits, education and speaking out are key.

Click here to request access to this great article (2018).

Educate and involve yourself as an athlete with these resources:

Utilize your digital platforms to speak up, and lead by example. Make the changes in your life, in your industry’s field, and ask others to follow suit. It is imperative that we all get involved in some way or another. This guide can help you find local groups and companies who are taking actions towards the global climate crisis. I hope you find it helpful.


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Blue Pools, Idaho. Around half an hour later, we had hiked down into the canyon. 


A summary of  sustainable and climate conscious habits you can action now (*Action):

  • Click here to visit Reach Not Preach, a forum of youth voices for climate including youth voice for climate. 
  • Calculate your carbon footprint.
  • Stay educated in areas which spark your interest. The climate crisis can feel overwhelming, so it can be a better idea to focus on areas you are particularly passionate about. 
  • Stay in touch about the next #thehumanrace which directly involves athletes and your training! 
  • Carry around a reusable bag (in your car, in your bike bag, folded in your handbag) so you can avoid using a plastic bag if the opportunity presents. 
  • Forfeit a few coffees a month and donate $10-20 to an organization of your choice. Most of us can do this. I do this. 
  • Carry a refillable water bottle, preferably made from more ecologically-sound materials.
  • Buy clothing that is durable and long lasting, and repair it when possible. Better to buy expensive and quality once, than less quality twice!
  • Implement meat-free days in your diet, or regular meals. 
  • Get a compost bin, and ensure you recycle – even better, recycle each component. In Switzerland I remember me and my cousin would walk to the recycling depot and separate each component, it was fantastic.  In Australia, I use a Bokashi Bin for compost. This is even possible if you live in higher density living areas. 
  • Walk and Bike more, use a car less. Even public transport is a better option. 
  • Carbon offset your travel – most airlines will offer you this. 
  • Look for tags when shopping that indicate the company you are purchasing from is conscious of sustainable practice and is making an effort to make their apparel and gear more climate friendly. 
  • Race in events that are sustainable, and if they aren’t, write to the race organization team asking for alternatives to plastic cups, wrappers and other non-sustainable activities. 
  • Start speaking up on your social media. Now’s the time to use your voice for something bigger than your own personal achievements in sport. 
  • If you’re a sponsored athlete, have open discussions with your sponsor about their sustainability practices, how you can best use your voice to raise concerns and bring attention to climate action events. Also make sure you’re aware of your sponsor’s climate policies and/or sustainability pledge.
  • Join the discussion at Athlete Climate Academy!

Online Education and Podcasts

snow algae climate sustainability

Freezing over of snow Moss and Algae, Idaho 


Athlete Climate Academy Forum and Podcast

The Athlete Climate Academy was established by renowned adventure athletes Kilian Jornet and Huw James. They speak about various topics weekly, and hold live seminars each month online which all are welcome to participate in! The Athlete Climate Academy Session 3 is on September 24th 2021. This is a sensible time for my European and US Friends. For my Aussie friends, this is 3am, and my US Friends,  I believe a lot of Australians will still be in lockdown, so if ever there’s been a time to stay up for something, I highly recommend this. 

Otherwise, give the podcast a listen – it is one of the easiest ways to learn more in any sub-topic. 

The Athlete Climate Academy Podcast is great. If you’re a spotify user you can listen to an episode (or 3!) by clicking here. If you’re an apple podcast kinda person, click here. 

House on Fire Podcast 

This is an awesome youth-led podcast about the climate crisis. Click here to give it a listen.

The Out of Bounds Podcast

An amazing podcast about all things outdoors, including important discussions around sustainable practice when getting out and amongst it. Click here to listen on apple podcasts.


A Few Ideas for Local Involvement and Action


Runners 4 public lands (USA)

Runners for public lands recognize that climate change is the most important issue at present. RPL helps connect the running community to resources that help mitigate climate change and reduce its impacts. RPL advocates across a variety of sectors, including Climate Action, Environmental Sustainability, Equitable Access and Public Lands.

Become a member and get exclusive access to RPL events and store discounts. Click here.


Bushcare, Landcare and Coastcare (Australia)

Bushcare, Landcare and Coastcare groups exist in abundance across Australia. In my suburb where I grew up in Sydney there is a different group for almost every nature reserve. I volunteered for Bushcare throughout most of my middle and high school career. It is only a few hours each week, or every odd week depending on the group you choose. These groups help to maintain or rehabilitate areas that are degraded. You can even hop around groups – super convenient! Click here to learn more.


Outdoor Friendly Pledge

Take the Outdoor Friendly Pledge by clicking here.

Ironically, outdoor sports people have a greater connection to nature than most other sports, however, we leave a bigger carbon footprint. Therefore, it is crucial we are educated about how exactly we impact the climate, and mitigate our impacts as much as possible, especially when we are outside doing what we love. 

This is an excellent website, with Calls to Action for the athlete. I sourced this from Outdoor Friendly Pledge website: 

athlete climate sustainability 20

Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge

This is a personal favourite project to follow – uniting major brands and outdoor focused entities for inclusion and diversity. It is important that all have a voice in matters concerning the environment. If we don’t promote diversity and inclusion, then we will never have the strength in voices and action we need.  Click here to learn more.



This is a movement for athletes, centered around making significant change in the world and addressing the climate crisis as a team. Sign up here.


Don’t own an electric car, but want to offset your emissions? Go Neutral!

By purchasing a Go Neutral Vinyl Sticker for your car, you’re purchasing 3.2 tonnes of carbon offsets. Click here to learn more.


Learn about the projects at The Kilian Jornet Foundation

Amazing and respected athlete Kilian Jornet has established and dedicated his time to an array of projects to lay the foundations of a better sustainable future. The foundation is directly affiliated with some of the projects I’ve discussed above, however here is the link to learn more about other projects, including the retreat of glaciers and educational resources: Click here.


Stay aware and up-to-date on Instagram with Climate focused accounts and organizations

(non-exhaustive, just touching on it here!)


Mountain and land related: 

  • @anturuseducation (Athlete Climate Academy) 
  • @united.mountains.of.europe
  • ( Swiss, lower human impact on the environment)
  • @plasticfreepeaks 
  • @protectourwinters (POW)
  • @unmountainsmatter 
  • @runforwildplaces
  • @runners4publiclands



  • @plogga (Swedish! – run with a purpose!)


Ocean related: 

  • @oceanplasticsrecovery 
  • @beachcleanups  (Australia and Japan) 
  • @Waveslobitos (act local, surf global – sustainable surf travel) 
  • @green_fins (helping dive & snorkel operators improve environmental practices) 
  • @take3forthesea (Take 3 pieces of rubbish when you leave the beach, waterway and everywhere!) 



  • @bamboo_clothing (sustainable activewear)
  • @treesnottees
  • @boody (sustainable clothing and activewear)



  • @outdoorceopledge
  • @unep (UN Environment Programme official account) 
  • @unfoodsystems (UN Food Systems Summit 2021) 
  • @freethink 
  • @ourclimateleaders
  • @earthshotprize (the most prestigious global environment prize) 
  • @unbiodiversity 
  • @unclimatechange
  • @earthdaynetwork (environmental conservation organization)
  • @join_un75 (UN identified 12 areas of action fo
  • @natgeoadventure
  • @nature_org
  • @ipcc
  • @forwildplaces
  • @wild_mag
  • @theplasticrunner


Clean Air

  • @upforairseries

An E-book guide for athletes will be released super soon. Stay tuned.

– There is no planet B –


athlete climate sustainability 21


A big thank you to the amazing Land Care Environmentalist and Lord Howe Island local Anna Charlton-Shick, who provided insightful points surrounding eating sustainably, reducing single-use plastics, and ocean awareness. Anna can be found on Instagram here: @annacharltonshick