News and Notes

Protect Our Winters Mobilizes “The Outdoor State” for U.S. Election; Federer’s Vegan Sneaker, ‘The Roger’

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In today’s GSB News & Notes:

* Protect Our Winters or POW, the organization that has educated world class skiers and snowboarders to lobby on behalf of climate legislation for the better part of a decade, is now mobilizing millions of snow sports lovers — the #OutdoorState — to vote for the climate in November.

* Earlier this summer, Roger Federer, arguably the greatest men’s tennis player of all time, launched a vegan sneaker line. 

 

PROTECT OUR WINTERS LOOKS TO ACTIVATE THE #OUTDOORSTATE IN SUPPORT OF CLIMATE-FRIENDLY CANDIDATES IN 2020 U.S. ELECTION

With 39.51 million people, California is by far the most populous state in the U.S. But by Protect Our Winters’ reckoning, the number of Americans who love the outdoors — skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, rock climbers, trail runners and more — has an even bigger “population” than the Golden State at 50 million strong.

The organization is working over the next two months to mobilize this massive group — they’ve branded it the Outdoor State — to vote for pro-climate candidates in the U.S. election, and “deny the deniers”, from the Presidential race to local down ballot contests.

Given that mission, while the organization has not made a formal endorsement, it is clear that POW supports Joe Biden for President over the worst environmental POTUS of the modern era (my opinion), Donald Trump.

In case you aren’t sure where POW stands on the matter, check out the July 17 “In Case You Missed It” entry on their website. That day, POW 1) criticized the Trump Administration’s action to finalize the rollback of NEPA, a crucial environmental law, 2) cheered a judge’s decision that struck down a Trump Administration’s attempt to rollback methane emissions regulations, and 3) gave a hopeful review of the then prospective Biden climate proposal.

But that was then.

Now, the organization is sprinting hard towards November 3rd on several fronts, all with the goal of encouraging the 50 million Outdoor Staters to #vote. POW is:

  • Holding an online discussion about online voting at 2 PM ET this afternoon. According to the organization, the session, which will be hosted by world-renowned climber Conrad Anker and Justin Lee, director of elections for the State of Utah, will “dispel the myths about mail-in voting, paint an accurate picture of voting in 2020 and help you gain confidence in your voting process.” Click here to sign up.
  • Trying to inject some fun in this incredibly fraught election and especially the process of voting itself. POW has created “one-of-a-kind artwork that can be yours by making a simple pledge to vote. Choose one of six unique postcards, fill in your address, and pen yourself (or a friend!) a personal reminder to vote.” POW then mails the postcard, free of charge.

 

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  • Teaming up with legendary snowboarder, outdoor filmmaker and POW founder Jeremy Jones to produce “Purple Mountains.” The hour-long documentary follows Jones on “a physical and philosophical journey to find common ground with fellow outdoors people across diverse political backgrounds. He learns their hopes and fears while walking a mile in their shoes on the mountain and in the snow.”
    • POW is hosting a premiere screening of “Purple Mountains” on Wednesday September 16 at 8 PM ET. A Q&A with Jones and director Josh “Bones” Murphy will follow the film. Click here to sign up for the screening.

 

Trailer for “Purple Mountains”

 

GSB’s Take: Never has a major Green-Sports organization weighed in on a U.S. Presidential Election.

Until now, that is.

It says here that POW’s approach of mobilizing the Outdoor State is a brilliant way to exercise its influence.

By emphasizing the need to, in POW’s words, “protect our outdoor playgrounds from the effects of climate change”, a value shared by most of the 50 million snow and outdoor sports enthusiasts who make up the Outdoor State — the organization offers a relatable, positive message in its Get Out The Vote efforts without getting into the muck and mire of the Biden-Trump race.

Will the Outdoor State provide a boost to Biden and the climate in winter/outdoor sports swing states like Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin? I hope so.

 

FEDERER LAUNCHES VEGAN SNEAKER BRAND

Roger Federer, who is not playing in this year’s US Open due to a knee injury, looks like he’s interested in becoming a champion eco-preneur in his post-playing days.

Last fall, the 20-time major championship winner invested in On, a Swiss running shoe maker and clothing specialist. Then in July, the duo launched a vegan sneaker called The Roger, 17 years to the day since Federer won his first Wimbledon title.

 

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Federer — unlike Serena Williams — is not known to eat a plant-based-only diet, but his/On’s new unisex sneaker is made from vegan leather. It is also designed to be as lightweight as possible to reduce material consumption.

“This new generation of tennis-inspired sneakers has been created with sustainability in mind,” said David Allemann, co-founder of On, in a statement. “Our vegan leather has approximately 30 percent of the footprint of animal leather.”

On is far from the only sneaker maker to move towards more sustainable designs: established category leaders Adidas, Nike, and Reebok have all made major strides in the greener athletic shoe race.

“If you’re making a technical sneaker, you can’t compromise on performance, but [the question is] how can you make it fully sustainable?” Allemann asked. “That’s what everyone in the market is working on. It’s a race in and of itself.”

To Federer, another aspect of The Roger’s sustainability is that is not designed to be a tennis shoe — which would limit its scale and thus its green impact.

“It’s not for tennis, it’s for the street,” Federer offered at the time of the shoe’s launch. “I hope it’s a shoe you can wear every day, sort of like your watch—something that’s so comfortable, you want to wear it all the time.”

 

GSB’s Take: It’s great to see Roger Federer, one of the world’s most well-known and loved sports stars, affix his name to a vegan sneaker brand.

Going forward, I would love to see Federer lean into the environmental and climate side of this story. His quotes about The Roger focus mainly on the shoe’s design, style and wear-ability. Talking points about the environmental benefits were left to David Allemann, On’s co-founder.

But I’ll be optimistic — we’re only in the first set for The Roger — so there’s time for Federer to make a play on the environment. 

 


 

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