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“The global plastic waste crisis has reached mission critical,” Cyrill Gutsch, Parley for the Ocean founder, announces as his collaboration with adidas enters its sixth year and they share a co-branded call to arms. “It’s now everywhere on the planet – in the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe.” Together, they’ve made good progress since 2015, intercepting plastic waste from shorelines and upcycling it to create 30 million pairs of shoes, but collective action is needed. Today, they’re calling on everyone to join the fight by launching a series of missions for the oceans; “only together can we end plastic waste.”
With 350 million tons of virgin plastic produced every year, new research has revealed that plastics have now made their way into every part of earth’s ecosystems. From improperly discarded plastic waste to microplastics which migrate through rainwater, the material is polluting some of the most remote places on earth – from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains.
To raise awareness of the recently-discovered issue and inspire people to take action – whether by reducing plastic consumption or actively removing it from nature – adidas Ultramarathon athlete and climate activist, Timothy Olson, will attempt to run the entire 2,653-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in record time. With the current record set at 53 days, 6 hours, and 37 minutes, he will aim to run over 50 miles a day for 50 days. Taking him from Mexico to Canada via the California coastline, Timothy will endure temperatures ranging from below freezing to above 30 degrees Celsius, experiencing weather conditions from all four seasons as the route takes him from mountains to the ocean and everything in between.
“I think a lot of people don’t realise how bad the problem has gotten but my training takes me to some seriously remote places, and I’m always shocked to find plastic waste even in the smallest of corners,” Timothy explained. “But what’s even more alarming is how plastic is now being found in glacier water at the tops of mountains thanks to microplastics which are carried there from the ocean via rainwater. I want to use my PCT record attempt as a platform to help educate people about this new problem and inspire them to start making small steps towards the solution which can make a big difference – if we all work together.”
Taking action against the spread of plastics in the environment and offering high-performance choices to those who are trying to reduce plastic consumption in their daily lives – something that collectively will have a major impact – adidas and Parley introduce a new collection of weather-resistant outdoor clothing. Made with Parley Ocean Plastic – upcycled marine plastic waste that is intercepted from remote islands, beaches and coastal communities – each piece in the collection reimagines plastic waste while equipping hikers with the latest technology to go further, explore more, and have a bigger impact. Key pieces from the collection include the FreeHiker Parley developed for long distance hiking on trails with gradual elevation while wearing a backpack and the MyShelter Parley that is lightweight, breathable and fully waterproof, ideal for a fast-paced environment where the weather moves as fast as the wearer.