Can a website dedicated to crowdfunding new green businesses make a measurable impact on our planet? Park your cynicism and take another look at Kickstarter where simple environmental innovations seek investors for affordable green products that help us make easy positive change. Meet the Pangea bamboo towel.
Is Pangea the “ultimate adventure towel”? My biggest adventures these days is the schlep up 5 flights to my office, but I digress. The towel is absorbent enough to dry your entire body yet small enough to fit in your pocket.
Made from bamboo and naturally antibacterial, the towels are super lightweight and biodegradable. And affordable – backing this eco-product starts with a $9 USD commitment.
The company was founded by four outdoor adventure buddies fed up with finding trash in every exotic zip code they visited. First-name-only Marcos, Wiliam, Juan, and Dean (an American, Aussie, Columbian, and Argentine) met one another just last year and – sharing a passion for the unbeaten path – they teamed-up to explore the world.
Polution and waste they found in every new destination incited them to start a self-billed “new ecological movement”. They formed a community of volunteers from the travelers they encountered, people who also care deeply about the environment, to clean up sites and responsibly recycle the garbage. (While resident in Jordan, I had a large plastic bag entangle my foot while floating in the Dead Sea, collected a backpack-full of beer cans while hiking sand dunes in Wadi Rum, and scraped up handfuls of cigarette butts from the ancient mosaic floors spattered throughout Um Qais – but I never had the smarts to start a business to continue cleanup.)
This year the superfit foursome seek to expand that movement globally, organizing worldwide cleanups. To fund the effort, they are hawking environmentally-friendly towels for wallet-friendly prices. The products are useful, and the money raised supports continued clean up operations.
For every $10 USD they raise, they will fund collection and proper disposal of 1 pound of trash. Consider that every year 14 billions pounds of trash is dumped directly into our oceans. That’s one overloaded dump truck of garbage every second of every day offloading into the sea.
Buying a couple cool towel products won’t stop expanding global production of plastics or epidemic illegal dumping, nor will it strengthen worldwide environmental legislation and enforcement of violations. But what’s not to love about replacing a few old cotton or microfiber towels while putting some money into localized cleanup events?
This project is affiliated with the Seattle-base nonprofit Pangea Giving, founded in 2002 following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
From its founding, Pangea has been a community of philanthropic individuals whose members pool their resources to support people struggling to improve their lives in other parts of the world. Originally called World Venture Partners, the name changed in 2005 to Pangea Giving, consisting of 78 individuals and 24 Circle of Friends. Since 2003, it has partnered with 45 grassroots organizations in 13 developing countries and awarded grants of over 1.5 million.
Whether you’re looking for a novel gift or harboring ambitions of being an angel investor (writ small) – do check out Kickstarter. Enter a search on that site for “environmental” and you’ll get an array of interesting intiatives that may attract your support.
Green Prophet has featured several such projects in the past. See links below, and tell us in comments about others you may have unearthed.
- In 2013, Israeli activist Ari Leon Fruchter raised funds for Naked Sea Salt – a sustainable new brand of salt from the Dead Sea.
- A couple of Harvard students enlisted the world’s most popular sport as a generator of portable power with SOCCKET ball, the brainchild of Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, a toy that can produce renewable energy anywhere.
- A special one-week Kickstarter campaign attracted funds to assist the ballooning Middle Eastern refugee crisis, with all proceeds going directly to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).