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Going Green
Action sports using natural resources
By Sky Sijeg

Sky Siljeg checks out a pair of shoes produced from organic materials
Skateboarder Sky Siljeg checks out a pair of shoes produced from organic materials at the Vans booth during the 2007 Action Sports Retailers Show.
(Photo: Courtesy Sky Siljeg)
Billions of people in the world rely on trees and plants for homes, paper, furniture, heat, food and even recreation. It's obvious that if we plan to support the world’s rapidly growing population, we must manage our natural resources wisely.

Many of the people of the action sports industry are trying to set an example by "going green," or taking actions that are environmentally friendly. It's all part of the effort to change the way we use and care for our forests and oceans while still having fun.

As a skateboarder, I'm always interested in an annual event—the Action Sports Retailers (ASR) Show. This year's show, held in San Diego, California, during the last week of January, introduced a program called Green Steps. The Green Steps program included a 100 percent wind-powered trade show.

"Wind is a clean-power alternative that helps protect the oceans, mountains and forests, vital parts of our customers' lifestyle," said Andy Tompkins, ASR Show Director.

Recycled paper products, badges printed with earth-friendly soy ink, recycled show bags and aisle carpets were other ways in which event organizers made this year's ASR a "green" event.

Action sports brands, such as Quiksilver, Roxy, Vans, Gravity and Element, are working to expand organic and sustainable product lines for fall 2007. These are mostly organic cotton T-shirts and shoes and other clothing, made from hemp and bamboo.


Skatebarn West
Skatebarn West in Renton, Washington (Sky's sponsor park) is a "green" wood park.
(Photo: Courtesy Sky Siljeg)
Board companies are also finding ways to reuse wood in decks, or snowboards, they create. Many companies are donating between 1 and 3 percent of the profits they earn from these boards to environmental causes.

Legendary Z-boy skater and environmentalist, Peggy Oki, was at the Ando & Friends booth at ASR with the "Origami Whale Project." The purpose of the project is to raise awareness about the number of whales that have been killed worldwide since the International Whaling Commission (IWC) voted for a moratorium on whaling in 1986. Industry representatives and buyers stopped in to help out the cause by folding 75 origami whales.

Back home in Washington State, I am on the team that supports a 25,000-square-foot indoor park called Skatebarn West (SBW) in Renton. SBW owners Peter Goldman and Jill Hanson held to their conviction to preserve our forests by building an almost 100 percent "green" wood park.

The lumber used for our park is called "Smart Wood." The wood is harvested from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council program. This program was developed to certify responsible forestry. This effort helps ensure we have forests that will both support our needs and maintain our planet’s wealth of diverse species and habitats.

We all have to do our part to protect the Earth.

Go Big, Go Fast, Go Green!