Hey everyone, hope everyone is having an awesome Earth Day 2012! We made it another year, so things aren’t that bad right? Apart from all the wildfires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, and tornadoes, things are going to be okay, yeah? Heh heh (cough)… eh. Well, I am sitting very still in my room, doing as little as I can to negatively impact the environment beyond exhaling carbon dioxide into the surrounding environs. Oh, wait, I am on a computer right now. Damnit.
I don’t know about you guys, but it is really easy for me, when I start thinking about environmental problems, to go down the rabbit hole of increasingly negative thoughts until arriving at a state of despair. But, it is Earth Day and it’s important for me not to be a downer. Actually, one thing that is very encouraging is the existence of this blog, as well as that of you, the audience. To think that people actually care about animals not to eat them and buy products that exclude animal products is very cool. And whether you realize this or not, you are doing the environmentally responsible thing. Consider this – more greenhouse gas emissions come from raising farm animals for food than all the planes, ships, trucks, cars (all forms of fossil fuel based transportation) on the planet combined! This is such an insane statistic I will link to some articles here, here, and here in case you doubt me. Don’t forget all the air and water pollution, rainforests cleared to make way for grazing, and the grain that is used to fatten these animals up that can be used to feed way more people.
So, as a vegan or vegetarian, you are partaking in a lifestyle that is much more environmentally responsible than your average meat eater. And you should be proud of that. I just want to comment that it is unfortunate that, by perception or self identification, vegans and vegetarians tend to get pigeonholed. It’s probably time to view ourselves as representing responsible living beyond just animals – be it the environment, human rights, or something else. It would be a shame to be limited to being identified with PETA. Indeed, the more we learn about our diet it becomes more obvious how a lot of problems in our world are linked to what we eat and how we use animals.
But enough of my ranting. I wanted to bring to the fore some interesting things that are going on in the world of shoes and environmental responsibility.
New Balance NewSKY
Probably the coolest thing I have discovered is the recycled shoe brand NewSKY from New Balance. I have heard of shoes made out of P.E.T. (recycled plastic bottles) before, but never an entire line from such a major brand. These running shoes are not only 95% P.E.T. (including the stitching, tongue label, and laces) but are pretty fly. They have a minimal aesthetic and a nice low profile sole. My fave is probably the men’s 01 (pictured above). Check out the whole collection here.
Nike Reuse a Shoe
Nike and Converse has partnered up to create a great sneaker recycling program called Reuse-a-Shoe. It’s pretty much what it sounds like, except the shoes are not recycled to make new shoes. Here’s how it works. It’s broken down into three parts: rubber from the outsole, fabric from the upper, and the foam from the mid. The rubber is melted down to make running tracks, the fabric is used for padding in basketball courts, and the foam used to make tennis courts. To see how it works, check out the video here.
According to Nike, 25,249,000 pairs of shoes have been recycled since 1990. How did I not know about this before! Think about how many sneakers I have gone through in the last 15 years or so. Man. And they just go in the garbage. Fortunately, you can find a local store where you can drop off your old pairs. Or you can organize your own used shoe drive. Word.
If you’re not feeling guilty after reading all of that, here are a few sneaks that are eco-friendly. Enjoy!
These sport a bamboo fiber lining and a rubber/hemp outsole
Available at Swell
I never heard of this brand before but they seem pretty legit. These Klimate shoes feature hemp and cotton uppers, recycled P.E.T. laces, and water based inks and glues.
Also available at Swell.