When we first started Barefoot Eco Outfitters, we knew we wanted to use this business as a vehicle to support non-profit conservation organizations through donations (and we’re proud of our track record there), but we also knew that we wanted to be hands-on in our activism. Sitting on the sidelines is not our style.
Beach Cleanup, Whidbey Island, Washington
We started volunteering to do beach cleanups several years ago, and they were very rewarding, but we found that we were always the last volunteers off the beach – we didn’t want to quit when there was still so much more to be done! We remembered then, that the trash was not only there during organized cleanups, but all the time, and we decided that we couldn’t wait. It seems like such an obvious thought now, but we somehow felt we needed permission to pick up trash, or that someone had to organize an event to do it; this just isn’t true. We have the power to make a positive impact any time we want.
From salmon streams to the San Juan Islands, we’ve cleaned the waters of Washington state, either by kayak or on foot. We’ve also cleaned trails and trailheads. Thousands of pounds of trash later, it was time to put a name to our efforts, and Seventy-One Percent was born! What does that mean? It’s a nod to the fact that seventy-one percent of the earth’s surface is water (and 96.5% of that is oceans). With so much of the planet being comprised of water (and our own bodies being 60% water!), it goes without saying that water is indeed life. Our very survival depends upon clean water and healthy and thriving eco-systems. Everything is connected, and it’s probably fair to say that all roads lead back to water.
In the course of doing our cleanups, we’ve found that people are curious, and they want to do more! We’ve been encouraged on almost every occasion by thumbs up, “thank you’s” and words of appreciation, and it really means a lot. We also found we weren’t alone in thinking that we somehow needed permission to pick up trash, or that it was someone’s job to do it. The fact is that even in places where trash is picked up periodically, there is still a need, and it eases the burden on workers who can’t possibly keep up. Believe me, there is sadly more than enough trash to go around.
Our new Seventy-One Percent tees help define our mission! These super soft tees are made from GOTS certified 100% organic cotton, and they are a great way to show your love of our oceans and waters, and your desire to protect them; you can find them here: (https://barefooteco.com/product/seventy-one-percent-unisex-organic-cotton-tee-white/ ). We’ll tell you right now that these tees are conversation starters – every time we wear them we get people asking what Seventy-One Percent means, what it’s about. What a great opportunity to talk about ways we can all do our part to keep our waters clean (picking up trash, being mindful of what we dump into our storm drains, and by using earth-friendly cleaning products, just to name a few). If you’d like some tips on how you can be a trash cleanup hero, you can find more info in an earlier blog post here: https://barefooteco.com/a-primer-for-becoming-a-trash-cleanup-hero/. And just a note, trash cleanups can happen anywhere! Trails, parks, shorelines, city streets, and even your own neighborhood!
We’re glad to finally be official, and we hope we can inspire and empower others to be proactive in caring for this planet that so desperately needs our help. In these challenging times, stress and a sense of powerlessness are high. We’ve found that doing these cleanups helps soothe our souls a little and reinforces the fact that we can all be active participants in preserving and safeguarding our future.
You do matter, and you can make a difference. You don’t need an invitation to do good. We’re committed to continuing our efforts to protect the places we love, and the wildlife that lives there. Don’t doubt your own ability to inspire others. If you do a cleanup, send us a photo at Barefootecooutfitters@gmail.com or post it to your social media with the hashtag #BEOcleanup and we’ll celebrate your efforts! We hope you’ll join us!
Cheers to a cleaner planet!
Tracy Strandness, Owner/Founder