Youth climate champion, Wilson Oryema, plus Philly’s Bennett Composting. Climate sporting champ, also Lew Blaustein and his EcoAthletes.
Climate Champ: Wilson Oryema, Bennett Composting, Climate Sporting Champ: Lew Blaustein & EcoAthletes
YOUTH CLIMATE CHAMPION, WILSON ORYEMA
Wilson Oryema is a model, poet and environmental activist. At just 25, he’s already co-founded of Regenerative Futures, a Gen Z social change initiative, and Surface Tension, a platform dedicated to the positive potential of materials. Wilson also made the documentary “How Toxic Are My Clothes?” back in 2019, which looked at the use of chemicals in the industry and their effects on the human body.
A staunch advocate for sustainability in fashion, he participated as an ambassador for fashion label Mulberry’s Made to Last Manifesto. The manifesto marks the brand’s pledge to become a fully regenerative and circular business by 2030.
Oh and he just wrote a book. It’s called, Wait, a collection of short stories and poems shedding light on contemporary consumption and our perpetual obsession with acquiring the next best thing. In it he argues the whole world needs to slow down.
Why does Oryema’s obsession with stopping the trend for fast fashion matter to us? Impacts from the fashion industry include over 92 million tons of waste produced per year and almost 21 trillion gallons of water consumed.
(If Americans waste almost 8 trillion gallons of water a year, and fast fashion is almost triple that—that’s inconceivable!)
He says in an era of drop culture and fast fashion, where the speed at which we operate has become our biggest obstacle in shaping a sustainable future, his goal is to remind people to remember the too often forgotten piece of advice: think before you act.
Says Oryema, “I feel like we’re at a beautiful point in history where we should be pushing for the things we really care for.”
BENNETT COMPOST, PHILADELPHIA
If you had a hundred dollars and a hunger to do something about food waste, what would you do? Well, that’s the story of Tim Bennett from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2009, Bennett lived in an apartment in South Philadelphia. He had food waste, no backyard and a desire to do something about the environment. And one day, he just couldn’t take it anymore.
He took that $100, deposited it in a bank account, stuck flyers up in a coffee shop with the offer to haul food waste from homes for a fee, rented a truck and waited. Bennett then attended Greenfest Philly, an annual festival on sustainability, to find customers. Have you ever seen an old timey photo of a person wearing a sign to advertise something? Well, that’s just what he did. Tim wore a sign that read “composting”, and in a short amount of time, calls and emails were coming in.
Today, 13 years later, and through a global pandemic, Bennett Compost has reached 5000 customers and kept a yearly amount of about 70 tons of food waste out of landfills! And, if you thought working for a composting company would mean low pay for a lot of hard work, think again. During the pandemic, Bennett raised the worker’s pay rate from $15 to $18, also providing healthcare and a 401K.
Why does this matter to us? Well, according to the EPA, “63 million tons of wasted food were generated in the commercial, institutional, and residential sectors annually. Food waste in landfills contributes to 33% of all methane emissions.
Bennett thinks about this work as more than just a business; it’s “an opportunity to do something that I thought could have an impact in our city and in the world”.
CLIMATE CHAMPION, LEW BLAUSTEIN
Lew Blaustein launched GreenSportsBlog in 2013 to cover the increasingly busy intersection of Green & Sports. From LEED certified venues to zero waste games to eco-athletes, GSB has Green-Sports covered. Our audience includes league commissioners, venue and team executives, corporate sponsors and more.
After a successful career in sports marketing communications and advertising sales, Lew Blaustein became passionate about the environment and climate change as a patriotic reaction to the 9/11 attacks.
He was trained by Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project team as a Climate Reality Leader in 2012. Since then, he has given the slide show that was at the heart of An Inconvenient Truth to 35+ schools, religious groups, businesses and more. He also volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, lobbying members of the US House and Senate on behalf of the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019,” the first bipartisan carbon pricing bill to be introduced in Congress in a decade.
Since then, Blaustein has helped build a myriad of green-focused businesses and non-profits by creating, tell ing and selling their green stories.
- Creating: Develop and implement winning sustainability-themed marketing programs
- Telling: Generate media coverage for sustainable events, write environmentally-focused thought-leader articles and OpEds
- Selling: Close green sponsorships for events and non profits.
Clients include from Bright Power, Empire State Building, Sumitomo Electric, Whole Foods Market and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Eco-athletes. It’s a thing now. Really. So, of course, you’re wondering: What is an eco-athlete, pray tell? Well according to its website, it’s ‘An experienced team of athletes and academics, climate scientists and ecopreneurs, green business leaders and journalists, devoted to identifying & equipping the Jackie Robinsons and the Megan Rapinoes of the climate crisis to lead climate action.
Eco-Athletes is legit. But why does it matter to us? Its goal is to identify, inspire, coach and deploy to talk about climate change. EcoAthletes will be given the tools to talk intelligently about climate change in interviews and social media.
Professional athletes have a long history in America of leading the way on social and civil rights issues, so it just makes sense to continue that tradition with the existential threat of climate change. Also, sports plays an enormous role in American society, so training athletes to become climate change influencers is a fantastic way to turn the tide.
The site is chock full of resources for athletes signing up to join the team.
Check out MLB Brent Suter’s video sharing his excitement on becoming an EcoAthlete by clicking on the link in the Deeper Dive Section of this story at theclimate.org/episodes.