Author: Adam Bratton
Read Time: 5 mins
I’ll be honest; this Journal Entry is self-fulfilling. I’ll be honest again, explaining our deeper approach to Human Powered Movement merch and business in general is wildly more important than making a few extra bucks on swag. It’s no surprise to anyone that follows HPM that we are outspoken and unashamed tree hugging eco-lovers. Here’s why it’s so important to us.
Every single day, each of us impact our planet. Simple as that. This impact is either positive, or negative. That’s why our environmentally conscience approach to merchandise and business in general is so important to us. We are all playing an active role in influencing the future of our little blue marble.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m not ignorant to the fact that the HPM platform is not massive. We don’t boast tens of thousands of followers on InstaG, our subscriber list is growing but still small, our brand new YouTube channel was born just the other month, our Strava Club is far reaching, but limited in size. What we do have in spades is a wildly engaged, an undoubtedly authentic, and a truly meaningful platform that can, and very much does, have a rippling affect on our human powered and feverishly thirsty community … You are all bad-asses!
You’ve seen us post numerous times about our 100% recycled and eco-friendly merch, how we are a proud 1% For the Planet member, our adopted stream cleanups, the recent Sustainability Awards Nomination, and our annual #PlasticFreeFeb virtual challenge. Mix all that up and we can easily justify slapping a “We Love Mother Earth” sticker on our company website.
This is all amazing stuff, and I’m not downplaying our efforts … remember, this journal is self-fulfilling … but the approach goes way beyond the surface level mentions listed above and I can’t help but feel a sense of responsibility to use the human powered platform to facilitate a deeper and more meaningful impact with our sphere of influence.
For brevity's sake, lets peel back a few layers on our merch. When a brand says that they are “locally” or “sustainably” sourced … What does that actually mean? How do you know? Who makes that call? I certainly can’t speak for others, but I sure as hell can speak for HPM. “Local” is probably better defined as hyper-local in our case.
Rather than going into written detail, pop over to THIS short film (3min) right now ... yes, right now ... to better understand the backstory of how our longtime friends and merch partners at Recover Brands (also based in Charlotte) are truly making a positive impact on a daily basis. This isn’t just “local”; it’s hyper local. This isn’t just "sustainable"; it’s literally reversing human’s negative environmental impact. Dang! We need to be more aware of this when shopping for items.
Spoiler/Self-Fulfilling alert: I was fortunate to co-produce this film and can tell you that seeing the supply chain firsthand truly is perspective shifting and mind blowing!
That ride inspired another short film that HPM cooked up about our locally sourced and custom socks from DeFeet. Yep, you guessed it, go watch it now at THIS link. The socks are made from US merino wool and recycled polyester which we will proudly hand out for our Rocky River Shiver Mtn Bike Event. During our visit, we were fortunate to link up with DeFeet Founder Shane Cooper to give us an in-depth tour of their micro-sockery, their process, and their intentional approach to minimizing their environmental impact (for the pet lovers out there … they even upcycle all of their old yarn cones into dog bowls). Just like Recover, educating myself on the inner workings of the process further reinforced the decisions to spend a few extra bucks for a truly hyper local and high quality product. Check their blog post about the "pickup" HERE.
Speaking of bike merch, let’s make no mistake why we selected Giordana Cycling to produce our custom HPM Cycling Kits. Yes, their products are handmade all the way across the pond in Italy, but the family-owned company is based in Charlotte, NC which allowed us to not only throw a bit of a rager with Sierra Nevada in their HQ showroom, but also minimize the ancillary shipping distance from raw materials to cyclist.
We can’t talk about local and recycled merch without including our homies at MoosePacks as well. Although they recently moved (4 months ago) to Austin, TX, this family run small biz was born and still proudly has many ties to NC. I literally rode my bike to their HQ to select the colors and 100% recycled fabrics for our handmade collaboration bags. Again, I'd consider that "hyper local" for sure.
In addition to contributing thousands of dollars to the Catawba Riverkeeper, our South Fork Sampler Adventure Race also featured locally sourced bandanas showcasing the work of a local artist, DeNeer Davis along with NC sourced stickers, patches, etc.
We are wildly fortunate to be based in Charlotte, NC where there are thriving outdoor brands and recreational opportunities within arm’s reach (or a single day’s bike ride for that matter) that we intentionally tap into, but we know this is not exclusive to the Southeast. Go find your own way to support locally and sustainably in your neck of the woods.
The Human Powered Movement concept is universal in the same way that sustainably minded choices are universal. Every single day, each of us has an impact on the world around us. Our daily decisions determine that impact. Each of us should be more aware of the power we yield both individually and collectively within our decisions.
I am calling on each of you to be more intentional with your daily choices and to keep me and the HPM platform accountable … how was that next piece of merch sourced? (Spoiler/Self Fulfilling alert we just opened the pre-sale of our 100% recycled Elite Jersey HERE) Do we need to drive vs riding a bike or walking? Who am I really supporting when I buy new items? Am I taking the easy way or the right way? We all can and need to step up to the challenge.
Yes, we want you to buy our sustainable merch, and yes we want to you sign up for our events that benefit local non-profits, and yes we want you to join us in our ongoing efforts to influence others in the right way, but ultimately it’s up to each person to decide what type of impact they want to have each and every day.
We’ll continue to lead you to the aid station, but it’s up to you to drink the water.
Journal - Will You Love Mother Earth With Us?
Human Powered Journal
Writings and musings of an active lifestyle
Adam Bratton is the Founder and Head Enabler at Human Powered Movement.
Guest Contributors are more compelling in written word and life in general.