11,646 metres above the eastern coast of Greenland, the ancient, rock-grey glaciers of Ittoqqortoormiit merge powerfully into the ice-blue Arctic Ocean.
Or at least they used to.
Nowadays they don’t even reach the sea - reduced to mere shadows of their once great-extent, kilometres of baron rock separating them from the ocean they once poured into.
Just hours earlier, we flew over the wind-battered mountains of Western Iceland, where in 2019 the first glacier in human history was officially declared extinct.
Within 200 years, all of Iceland’s glaciers will have vanished.
Shortly afterwards, as we fly over central Greenland, thousands of turquoise meltwater pools glisten in the burning sunlight, scattered across the ice fields of Sermersooq as far as the eye can see.
If we had taken this route 50 years ago, we wouldn’t have seen anything but sea-ice from Rekyavik to Nunavut.
And so, as we gaze mournfully through the window of Lufthansa flight A330, it dawns on us that we are part of the problem. Much more so than we would like to admit.
What’s more, we are much less a part of the solution than we thought we were.
We take a long sip of our single-use plastic water cup.
3 years ago, inspired by the same glaciers we now fly over, we created our outdoor shop at the back of a high school geography class.
Iceland. Greenland. Antarctica. Three regions with the highest density of glaciers on earth.
Our goal was to create a project that merged our passion for the outdoors with our desire to protect the wild places we love.
3 years later and our naivety continues to amaze us.
Each new day we are introduced to an environmental tragedy that we were completely unfamiliar with 24 hours earlier.
Another dead coral reef, another receding glacier, a new species facing extinction.
We won’t even mention the passing of countless regressive environmental laws which go unnoticed each year.
Our initial idea to protect our planet through the sale of outdoor clothing was well-intended but, in hindsight, wildly ignorant.
We have come to realise that the problems we face are bigger than the glaciers that we are melting, more complicated then the ecosystems we are destroying.
By no means is this a compliment to the intelligence of mankind.
We need political, economic and social reform if we are to stand any chance of reversing what has been widely accepted as the irreversible. That is, assuming that we even still have a chance.
Where do we even start?
We wrestle constantly with the knowledge that our efforts to make a difference are tragically insignificant.
Despite this, we are committed to doing everything we can to inspire change. We simply wouldn’t be able to tolerate ourselves if we didn’t at least try.
In the past year alone, we have raised and donated £1000 towards grassroots environmental organisations around the world. We want this figure to be twice as big next year.
In 2019 we created a UK Beaver project to help raise awareness for the reintroduction of Beavers back into the UK. We want to create a project like this for all of the species we have eradicated from Britain - Bears, Wolves and Lynx included.
In the meantime we will continue to supply high-quality, re-used and sustainable outdoor clothing for our customers - whom without we would be unable to make the donations we are currently fortunate enough to do so.
But, just as we ask our-selves everyday, we want people challenge themselves to do more.
We lose all our power the minute we think we don’t have any.
If you have an idea that you think will change things for the better, pursue it.
If you have an animal that you think is worth saving, protect it.
If you see an environmental injustice going unchallenged, challenge it.
Lastly, before you spend your hard-earned money on our store, or any other ‘business’ for that matter, ask yourself what else could you do with that money?
£30 could protect 200 square metres of breeding territory for the Tristan albatross in the South Atlantic.
Closer to home, that same figure could fund the growth of 30 square metres of wildflower habitat for Britain’s desperately under-supported insects.
Why not start your own environmental project? We started with an initial investment of exactly £30 and have turned this figure into thousands of pounds donated towards the planet.
Finally, there are two quotes which we want to share with anyone who has read this far and who is looking for inspiration to make a difference:
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." - Greek proverb.
“When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can't eat money.” - Alanis Obomsawin
Money and wealth are temporary and subjective. Find what you truly value and do everything you can to protect it.