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Over the last few years getting out on the trails more and more, I’ve been increasingly struck by the true need for conservation. Because once you truly experience the beauty of remote places, it’s hard to not want to protect them. I have learned that we who call ourselves “Adventure Athletes” experience the world in a way that is often different from most people. We are off the beaten path on a regular basis and, as such, are given a unique glimpse into the environmental challenges facing our planet.

Those of us who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors can clearly bear witness to the fact that something is horribly wrong. Be it mountaineers witnessing the shrinking of glaciers in remote mountain ranges, long-distance trail runners seeing the effects of hydrofracking deep in the woods, or open water swimmers experiencing the results of irresponsible pesticide application running into our water systems, we are witnesses to the changes going on in the remote places of the world – “canaries in the coal mine” if you will. I believe it is our obligation to tell our stories so that more informed decisions can be made about the sustainability of our world.

This is why I choose to use the voice I have as an athlete whenever I can to speak up for smart conservation of our planet. Do humans need to grow economies, innovate technologies, and build infrastructure? Absolutely. But we must do so in a well thought out and sustainable manner… something which humanity has a poor track record of doing.

Conservation – whether we like it or not – is not just a nicety anymore. It is of critical importance to the sustainability of humanity’s way of life.

I urge you to educate yourself about the world around you, the challenges facing it, and how the choices you make daily can either help or hinder the sustainability of our planet.

Image by Alan English, Flickr. Used Under Creative Commons License.

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