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Kilian Jornet creates pledge to promote Sustainable Development Goals

The Outdoor Friendly Pledge is the latest project from the Kilian Jornet Foundation, and it's focused on "outdoor sports for the environment"

Kilian Jornet Photo by: Pascal Tournaire/UTMB

Spanish ultrarunning legend Kilian Jornet‘s foundation (aptly named the Kilian Jornet Foundation) has created a project called the Outdoor Friendly Pledge — a promise to “promote a more sustainable practice of outdoor sports.” The pledge has been signed by a number of elite and amateur athletes (including Western States 100 champions Clare Gallagher of the U.S. and Ryan Sandes of South Africa), outdoor sports events (like the Hardrock 100) and outdoor sports federations (such as the International Trail Running Association). The whole point of this pledge is to get as many parties — from athletes to race organizers and everyone else — involved to work toward creating a more sustainable model for outdoor sports.

The Outdoor Friendly Pledge

A photo of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be seen on the home page of the Outdoor Friendly Pledge website. In 2015, the U.N. presented these SDGs to all of its member states, with the goal of reaching each one by 2030. The goals range from ending poverty and hunger to dealing with issues surrounding climate change, and they provide “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”

While all of these goals are of course important, the Outdoor Friendly Pledge is focused on seven in particular: promoting good health and well-being for all humans, supplying everyone with clean water and sanitation, encouraging economic growth worldwide, the responsible consumption and production of goods, focusing on climate action and, finally, taking care of life both on land and under water. As noted on the pledge website, Outdoor Friendly is a platform that will be used “to advocate for a more sustainable society. It is also a space for sharing knowledge about becoming  more sustainable together.” 

Photo: outdoorfriendly.org

In signing this pledge, races, athletes, brands, and sports federations have promised to follow a set of criteria that will help the world reach these SDGs. For events, this means working toward becoming a carbon neutral event and/or using “100 per cent renewable energy to supply the organizing needs.” For athletes, it can be as simple as promoting participation in local races (which don’t require much time or resources to get to), but it can also be more serious, such as refusing to “participate in activities with high carbon emissions for communication purposes (filming with helicopter, photographers travelling from far away, travelling far to do a shoot).” 

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It might seem daunting to make such a big pledge and essentially promise that you’ll do your best to save the Earth, but as noted on the Outdoor Friendly site, “It isn’t about being perfect environmentalists, rather about walking toward a greener sports model … Commit to what you feel ready for. Focus on one, five or the 10 commitments to work during each year. Small steps lead to bigger ones.” 

On the Kilian Jornet Foundation Instagram page, Jornet wrote a bit about the pledge. “We’re all players in this sport,” he wrote. “This means we all have an important role to play in the sustainability of the sport and protection of the environment where we practice.” 

To find out more about the Outdoor Friendly Pledge, click here, and to learn about more of the Kilian Jornet Foundation’s other projects, click here.