In May 2018, GORE-TEX athlete Greg Hill set an ambitious goal, to climb and ski 100 peaks without burning any fossil fuels. This was an adventure aimed at challenging the way it had always been done: burning fossil fuels to chase adventures. So, Greg got a Chevy Volt, loaded it with skis and hit the road to prove that it could be done. His eyes were set on skiing massive peaks spanning the spine of the western US and Canada, and he succeeded in fantastic style (watch Electric Greg and see for yourself!). In his film, he shares that “the electric car is a vehicle for an idea, and it’s the idea that if I can adventure more sustainably, then maybe there are different ways to do things…I want to show that it’s worth trying to be better. For people to change they have to see value in it, and if they can see through my own social media, my own feats, that I’m a better person, that my life is more fulfilling, then it might help them change…”
Greg’s Take on Easy Steps to Adopt a Sustainable Lifestyle:
- I think all of us in the outdoor community are all pretty privileged to be doing what we're doing. And I think if we're not the ones out there advocating and becoming stewards for nature, nobody's going to. So, advocate!
- Progress over perfection and embrace the pivot: For example, during COVID, I built a chicken coop. We got five chickens. My kids and I, raised them from chicks, and they grew up and it was really neat. All of a sudden, I was getting 20 eggs a week. I did that for a couple of years. Then, I realized that I only eat four eggs a week. Nobody else in my family eats eggs, so I thought, is this worth it? Probably not. And that's fine. I gave it up. But I tried it. That’s what the journey is all about. Trying.
- I always try to take care of my gear with the mindset that eventually I will pass it on to somebody else, so it keeps living!
- Calculate your own carbon footprint: Why? Because if you don't understand where your impacts are, then obviously you can't change.
- Create a judgment free approach: I think we have to be judgment free everywhere because everyone's got their own story and their own reasons for everything. That's why I need to lead by example. So, at least my example makes people think, my actions tell the story of what to do or what to think or how to act.
When we think about the net effect of our actions spanning our many years on this earth, we are faced with the simple questions:
What will our legacy be? What will people remember us for?
During our conversation, a moment of reflection passed, and Greg looked up at me and said
“At some point in my life, I'll pass away. It feels better knowing that at least now, if I were to die in an avalanche, I’d feel good knowing that I cared and wanted to give back and speak up for my values...
I think that one of my favorite and best strengths is positivity. That's how I've achieved so many things…by trying my best to be positive all the time. I think that's also the way I want my legacy to be… to have lived positively and made a positive impact. Especially now, environmentally, the key is to figure out how to win this battle. The only way we're going to win is by trying. You can always use those analogies of one step at a time. That's how you climb a mountain, or whatever it is. It's these little steps that are all going to amount to a big change. And we don't need a few perfect people. We need many, many imperfect people. Many of us making small changes have a bigger impact than a few people making big changes.
For many of the talks I've done, I have a cartoon I like to show the audience. It’s a picture of two little grandkids sitting on their grandfather’s knees, and they've all got gas masks on...They're like, “Granddad, what did you do during the climate war?”
I always put that up because I want the audience to think, “What do you want your answer to be?”