Global warming and climate change are at the forefront of nearly everyone’s mind as of late. And for good reason. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been on a meteoric rise since the 1950s. The result? The average surface temperature has risen almost 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the latter end of the 19th century.
For a long time, the conversation about the impact hasn’t been very tangible for the average person. The concepts of glaciers melting, the oceans becoming acidified, the oceans warming and the likes isn’t something that directly impacts the masses in their day to day life.
In order to reach people on this topic, you have to connect it to them, their lives, wellbeing, and their passions.
According to a recent report presented at the IAAF Global Running Conference, in 2018, there were almost 8 million runners who participated in a marathon, half-marathon, 10k, or 5k. 8 million people with a passion for running who are only getting slower.
A recent study, analyzing 19.6 million race results and the trends of climate change makes it clear; one of the culprits for this slowdown is global warming. But just how much can we really blame on climate change?
What the data shows us is that the average runner can expect to have their race times increased by as much as 1 minute and 25 seconds for every additional degree in Fahrenheit when racing. With the overall yearly climb in temperature being approximately .07 degrees Fahrenheit, runners are experiencing a 6-second increase in their average race time every year.
Although the blame of rising ocean levels and glaciers melting does not fall on the running community, there are many “runner specific” ways you can help!
1) Start by recycling your shoes
Avid runners increase the mileage on their shoes quickly. With some runners needing a new pair every 3-6 months. Even when we buy new shoes to run in, sometimes we just convince ourselves that we should hold onto these old pairs. Until something sparks the need to throw them out.
Instead of waiting and trashing, recycle your shoes. There are many organizations that will take care of price tag of you mailing them your old shoes but you can always find local options as well. For example, some Nike stores actually accept your old shoes for their “Reuse-A-Shoe” project.
2) Staying on the topic of recycling, gadget-loving runners need to recycle your products
Every year there are more and more unique gadgets coming out. Over time, these products end up breaking down or replaced with the next best thing.
There’s no convincing millions of people to not use their favorite fitness trackers and watches, but what you can do is just recycle them. There are a bunch of organizations and programs that accept old electronics to be recycled and disposed of responsibly. Organizations like Call2Recycle, Earth911, and even BestBuy offer these services locally. A quick search can help you find the closest electronic recycling drop off spot near you.
3) Don’t participate in races if they aren’t eco-friendly
When it comes to making organizations and companies change their ways and go more green, let your participation and wallet do the talking.
How do you tell if a race is not eco-friendly?
– Is the race still using paper cups?
– Do they give out water or sports drinks in plastic bottles?
– Do they specifically work to recycle all paper, plastic, and old shoes on location?
– Is the food given out at the races or at the finish lines eco-friendly?
– Do they support locally-grown food or corporations at the race?
– Are the leftover food and drinks being donated or thrown away?
If they don’t have the answers for this on the website, all it takes is a simple email or call to find out. If the race isn’t “running green” then let the organizers know that you won’t be attending for this specific reason.
4) Skip the jog and go for a plog!
Plogging is a newer trend that picked up some attention in 2018. Simply, runners are making a massive difference in their local communities by picking up trash as they go for their runs.
All they have to do is bring a small bag with them on their runs. As they go and come across trash, whether it is recyclable or not, they are picking it up and bringing it along for them on their runs.
Many running trails and local communities have seen a rise in plogging that has significantly reduced the amount of litter, trash, and damage to the environment. When all of this is then disposed of properly, whether through recycling or composting, the end result can be an amazing one for climate change. Especially if we were able to activate the full 8 million runners who are out there every day.