VIVOBAREFOOT X ARCTIC ANGELS AT THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM 2020
Youth are the next generation of voices of influence; we have the power to change the world, for better or worse. This belief in the transformative power of young people is the foundation upon which the Arctic Angels Youth Action Network is built.
Like VIVOBAREFOOT, we believe that it is essential to place people and planet at the core of every action. We are delighted to partner with the brand as the 2020 World Economic Forum approaches, with the mission ‘to improve the state of the world’.
We are grasping the opportunity to raise our voices by giving away beanies to promote the importance of the Poles to the global ecosystem. We want Hands Off the Arctic. We want it to be protected NOW, not indiscriminately developed. With its complex geopolitics and security implications, we call for better governance of these critical ecosystems because they impact us all.
Currently, in anticipation of the Arctic ice melting, plans are afoot to drill for oil and gas, to seismic blast for deep sea-bed mining of minerals, and to break a shipping lane through the Arctic ice. This makes no sense in a world increasingly aware of the impact of fossil fuels.
Despite their remoteness, it is important for people to understand that the Arctic and Antarctic play a critical role in stabilizing the global climate systems, including the Jet Stream and the Gulf Stream. The Poles are Earth’s cooling system. As the ice melts, it reflects less sunlight, the oceans warm, sea levels rise with disastrous effect on human and natural habitats. Furthermore, the Arctic is truly a lived environment, with people and animals, all deserving of a voice. In particular, Indigenous wisdom has much to teach us. The Antarctic, though less populated, is equally critical to global climate stability, but is under threat from global warming and excessive krill harvesting.
Like VIVOBAREFOOT that makes sustainable shoes from recycled materials, we made the beanies from REPREVE recycled polyester yarn spanned by UNIFI USA. Each beanie saves 4 plastic bottles from entering our oceans.
We share the brand’s vision that sustainability needs to be embedded into supply chains if we are going to conserve the natural world. We have learned a great deal from them about the integration of Indigenous wisdom into business. Through this collaboration, we are supporting the development of a future in which businesses are accountable for their choices and global impact.
Our Co-Founder and Executive Director Inge Relph, with many years of experience working in global policy, comments: ‘When the Arctic was a commercially uninteresting frozen area, a Council of contiguous States and some observer members governed the space relatively well. However, progressive melting risks not only indiscriminate commercial exploitation, but also significant downstream harm from sea level rise that makes untenable the exclusion of the voices of those most affected. To those who say the ice is melting anyway, we say mindful, modest and well thought- through development incorporating Indigenous wisdom is possible. We call for fit-for-purpose and enforceable care of the ice and exposure of the financial institutions that fund profits over protection. We need people to know what is happening and feel empowered to speak out’.
This past year we have witnessed the power of public voices. We urge you to add your voice to protect our precious life-support systems, the Global Commons. We hope that those who receive our beanies will wear them for many years to come spreading our message while respecting the finite nature of Earth’s resources.
By Emma Wilkinson, 21 years old, Arctic Angels Coordinator
Arctic Angels is a part of the non-profit foundation GlobalChoices, a new organisation co-founded by Sally Ranney and Inge Relph, taking a fresh approach to protecting our precious ecosystems through high-level policy advocacy. Together, we are working to place the protection of the Global Commons at the forefront of the political agenda. Arctic Angels are innovative leaders within their communities and work together protect the Arctic, Antarctic and Global Commons on which we all depend. We are all speaking up for climate action NOW.