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How To Be A Sustainable Climber

Sustainability is a topic close to our hearts. 3RD ROCK was founded in 2010 to create the kind of sustainable climbing clothes that we wanted to buy ourselves - the kind that help protect our environment, rather than exploit it. Our efforts have led to us being awarded “Most Ethical Climbing Brand” by the Ethical Consumer industry body, beating out Black Diamond, Prana, and even Patagonia.

We know that the right clothing is only a piece of the puzzle though. Loving the outdoors means we need to be part of a broader solution to protecting it.

As the very people who are putting our treasured natural resource under strain, it's our responsibility to do everything we can to protect them.

Here's how we think you can start.

1. Ask Yourself A Question

The science of positive change has found one thing you can do to make the biggest impact in your lifestyle & behaviour. All it takes is asking yourself a simple question:

"What can I do to make this situation better?"

By asking ourselves this question every time we come across a problem, we're reminded to make important decisions that reflect our values, rather than our desire for convenience.

Go on, try it. Think of a problem, and ask yourself "what can I do to make the situation better" - you'll be amazed at how many possible solutions come to mind, and how naturally it feels to act on them.

2. Buy Less, Buy Better

When it comes to climbing, being told to “buy less” isn’t as easy as it sounds. Whether high-performance activewear or high-performance safety gear, there’s little room to be using worn-out kit.

So instead, the best advice is to buy better. Look for items that will last, and have as minimal footprint as possible. That means avoiding fast-fashion, supporting organic farming, and sourcing items with up-cycled and recycled materials like our Bertie Barrel up-cycled chalk bucket.

Some great examples of this are La Sportiva’s Mythos Eco, Edelrid’s Parrot rope, or even our Ramblas Organic Climbing Trousers, and Recycled Titan Solstice leggings.

3. Carbon Offset Your Travel

Did you know you can offset your travel by planting trees in Brazil for only a few pounds? Neither did we!

We know the best step you can take is to reduce foreign travel. So the first step is to consider cancelling a foreign sport trip to discover the wonders of your local crag (we're looking at you, Peak District National Park)

But if you do travel abroad, remember you can calculate your emissions with online apps like this. Then all you need to do is visit the Carbon Footprint Organisation to offset your impact by supporting one of several amazing projects they run.

If you can’t offset your carbon travel, then it's the planet that's paying the real cost, so ask yourself - can you really afford to take that trip?

4. Buy A Membership To The Outdoors

When was the last time you paid entry to our natural resources? Now think of the last time you paid money to your local bouldering gym. Funny, huh?

Our public access land is supported by multiple amazing organisations, that preserve, protect, and promote our natural parks and resources. Whether it's creating the paths that stop us having to bushwhack our way up the approach, or the stewards who implement wildlife protection and preservation, these critical organisations are the reason we can enjoy the outdoors with the freedom that we do.

We know that our hobby has a monetary value. So, next time you visit your local crag, find out details of the governing organisation, and pay what feels like a fair access fee to support its upkeep.

Think of it like paying entry to the wildlife who let you into their home.

5. Move To A Plant Based Diet

Think moving to a plant based diet is difficult? We've got two words for you: unlimited avocados.

With recent developments in plant-based eating, there's an alternative for every product that previously would have come from the industrial farming process, so there's no need to go without. Not only would you be making the single biggest lifestyle change to stop global heating (up to a 75% reduction in your total emissions!), but you'd also be helping free up 75% of the earths’ livestock farming land for other purposes - that’s an area of land bigger than the USA, Europe, and China combined.

There's no hiding from it anymore - with the growth of industrial farming, purchasing meat and dairy is no longer an indicator of status, it's an indicator of climate irresponsibility. Tell the environment you care by going plant-based.

6. Wash Less, Wear More

Just brush it off, folks!
Featured, our Women's Skat Climbing Trousers

It you think this section is going to be about showering less, then think again. As climbers, we're close to bottom of the pile when it comes to taking unnecessary showers.

Instead, it's about your clothes. The environmental footprint of the items you own comes from three things - manufacturing, maintaining, and moving around. So as well as buying smarter, we need to look after our items better.

Washing your clothes takes water, energy, and resources. Become an expert at brushing chalk off your trousers with a climbing brush, rather than throwing them in the wash. When you do wash your clothes, do it on a 30 degree wash, and always when you have a full load.

Make a game of it - only wash your trousers every time you send a project. That way the planet gets a break, and you get nice clean clothes to celebrate in!

7. Travel Light

Other than manufacturing and maintaining, the final impact of what you own comes from moving them around. The weight of your items takes energy to transport, whether on a plane, or in a car. Every extra kilogram in a plane’s hold burns more fuel into the atmosphere, so packing fast and light isn’t just the best way to avoid holiday clutter, it’s an important step in further reducing our impact.

If you've never used all 30 quickdraws on your sport climbing trip, then maybe it's safe to leave those 10 spares behind.

8. Practice Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace provides training and education in all the basic steps we need to live in harmony with the outdoors. Their standard 7 Principles form the cornerstone of responsible relationship with our natural environment.

In their own words:

"Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics focuses on educating people—instead of costly restoration programs or access restrictions—as the most effective and least resource-intensive solution to land protection."

Click through here to take a look, and get involved.

Thanks for reading. We're 3RD ROCK. We design and manufacture sustainable climbing clothes & activewear that's made to move, and made to last. Using recycled ocean plastic, organic cotton, and upcycled materials, we're making items that help protect the very environments we depend on for our adventures.

We've even been awarded "Most Ethical Climbing Brand" by the Ethical Consumer trade body, beating out Black Diamond, Prana, and even Patagonia!

It's our way of saying "no" to fast fashion, "yes" to the protecting the climate, and "absolutely" to a life spent outdoors.

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