As a sports and outdoor photographer, I care dearly about the environment and nature. It’s where a fair bit of my shoots take place and a place I find joy on a personal level. I’m proud to now be a business member of the 1% for the Planet movement to put my money where my mouth’s at.
Let my people go surfing
Some time ago, I read Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s iconic book Let my people go surfing. In his book, Chouinard reflects on his business and life philosophies, among the origin story of Patagonia. The level of sincerity in Patagonia’s and Chouinard’s involvement with environment is incredibly inspiring to me. One of the initiatives described in this book is the 1% for the Planet movement.
One percent of sales, not profit
The premise of this movement is simple. Businesses members pledge to donate one percent of their sales to environmental nonprofits. The fact that donations are a percentage of sales and not profit is a pretty radical idea. It means businesses choose to pay a self imposed tax. It can be considered a cost of doing business and profiting from the earth’s resources. Today, over 2000 businesses joined the cause. This includes companies like Patagonia, Klean Kanteen and my local climbing hall Monk Bouldergym. Together, they have given over $225 million back to the planet.
No middleman for donations
One of the things I like about the 1% for the Planet movement is that donations can go directly to any certified nonprofit organisation, meaning there’s no middleman. This means donations don’t end up in a big charity with possibly larger than needed overhead costs. Instead, members of the movement are able to pick a local initiative very relevant to their own city or country, to make a maximal impact. At the end of every fiscal year, the 1% for the Planet organisation checks whether members met their 1% obligation and certifies their membership.
Currently I’m still considering where to send my donation. One option on my mind is Clean Climber, a Dutch organisation that focusses on reducing sport climbers’ footprints. Climbers go through quite a fair amount of climbing shoes, made of rubber. Clean Climber offers the option the resole shoes when they’re spent, or alternatively send them to regions of the world that are eager to climb but low on money to pay for gear.
Another initiative of Clean Climber is hosting cleaning events in outdoor climbing areas. While most climbers are quite careful not to litter when climbing outdoor, due to the sheer popularity of the sport many of these outdoor climbing areas are becoming quite polluted. Clean Climber unites climbers in cleaning events with the goal of negating the impact climbers have on these areas.
Going forward, I’ll be paying back 1% of my photography business’ sales to the planet. This feels like a substantial yet manageable amount which I view as a simple cost of doing business on this planet, not charity.