At the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018 Expo, I ran into the You Too Can Run man - Venkatraman Pichumani. Before I could say Bye to him - he quickly threw me a question - Have you ever thought about your impact as a runner? Giving him the most confused looks and before saying anything back, he threw another one at me - Okay – a better question – have you ever thought about your impact as a runner on the environment? I knew I wasn't leaving that conversation for the next 30 minutes at least!
Coming back to the question, I never gave much thought to -
HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT YOUR IMPACT AS A RUNNER ON THE ENVIRONMENT?
What if I told you that 3 pairs of running shoes per year creates 215kgs CO2 (Carbon dioxide)?
- According to a Runner's World survey, the average participant purchases 3.1 pairs of shoes per year.)
- 1 kg of CO2 needs 1 full tree for 6 months to be wiping out those carbon emissions.
- The running apparel we buy with much happiness that includes socks, shorts, running tights, etc has an equal amount of CO2 release in the air.
Hence, your and my Running Shoes have a LARGE Carbon Footprint
WHAT IS A CARBON FOOTPRINT?
According to a Runner's World Definition : Many activities, from driving to work to using the toaster, require energy created by burning fossil fuels—a process that pumps carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases into the atmosphere. The term "carbon footprint" reflects an individual's contribution to these greenhouse gasses, which scientists believe are warming the Earth. Carbon footprints are measured by the weight of the gases produced. One pound of CO2 has a volume of eight cubic feet—about the size of a two-drawer filing cabinet.
Now you know that your shoes aren’t so green! Production is energy- and toxin-intensive! Leaves a lot of waste. A kind of waste that is of no use to any living creature on this planet! Even though we runners might think that our sport is simple, it turns out that it isn’t nature friendly. I had no clue of it myself. Read this article by Runner's World and get some facts on it.
So then should we stop wearing shoes??NO!!! We do need to know that our shoes are engineered in a way that it costs the nature a lot! They are made from heavily processed crude oil.
Okay, so – asks the Runner, Yet again - Should I stop wearing shoes?
No. But there are ways of helping out wipe that large carbon footprint you and I are leaving behind. Nature friendly shoes will take their time to come by and will cost a huge dip in our pockets!
As a Runner what and How much can you really do? Well - you can:
- Use reusable bottles instead of throwaway plastic water bottles
- Start all your runs from your home or office
- Leave your car in the driveway and bike or run to the gym once a week
- Participate in eco-conscious races
- Use carpools to drive upto events
Going with point number 4 - I found the SBI Green Marathon first of its kind. I read read all about CO2 emissions and what exactly it meant and how could a running event do anything about it!
So what's different about the SBI Green Marathon:
- For the first time runners will be given soluble bibs with seedlings which they can plant post the run.
- Runners will also be given plant saplings to plant as a part of one of the green initiatives.
- First 750 runners from each city to register will be given a special t-shirt made from recycled plastic.
SBI Green Marathon is the first event where the three principal stakeholders, viz State Bank of India, Radio Mirchi and YouTooCanRun have signed a Charter to reduce the environmental impact of the event.
I found the key highlights of the charter interesting:
- The event shall ensure that maximum procurement is from Reusable or Biodegradable sources
- All waste generated during the event shall be measured and disposed off in a environment friendly manner
- Water consumed for the event will be measured and use of bottled water will be minimised and empty bottles recycled.
- The carbon footprint of the entire event will be measured and published as per international standards.
It's India's first Green Event, a large event ( taking place in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai edition, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh) taking all the pains to educate the runners about the environmental impact they can reverse by taking a few precautions - creating a conscious group of Green Runners!
I would also urge you to read this article here on how beautifully Green Running Events work outside India. It will help you appreciate the effort SBI Green Marathon is making to start this culture in India.
Click here for the registration. You can call this event a drop in the ocean or an OCEAN in a DROP !