On Friday, November 29, 2019 youth across the Kootenays participated in various Fridays for Future marches as part of the global climate change movement. The Kimberley Youth Action Network (KYAN) decided to switch things up and do something a little different this past Friday.
Rather than march, several KYAN students set up a display at a local business to raise awareness of climate change by highlighting local businesses that are leading climate change efforts in the community.
KYAN student Holly Gale explained that KYAN has an environmental action team. That team took time after their school day on Friday afternoon to learn about ways Kimberley locals are taking action on climate change.
“We focus on global climate change and a couple of Fridays ago we went to the Platzl and we all gathered and expressed our feelings towards climate change and this Friday, instead of doing that, we’re finding local businesses that are promoting greener ways of shopping,” explained Gale.
The students set up a booth in the Platzl to take part in a project that local business Arrow and Axe is putting on called the Be the Good Project.
“The KYAN team chose not to march this Friday but celebrate with a green initiative, and to highlight people in the community who are on the forefront of that,” said KYAN Coordinator Lori Joe. “They set up a table with a demonstration on how to reduce plastic waste and consumption, one example is by making a blanket from plastic bags.”
KYAN was also hosting a contest where people tell them what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. The winner received a mesh re-usable produce bag, donated by a local business.
“These kids want to help spread awareness in the community about climate change so people can become more mindful of their eco-footprint,” explained Joe. “They did a great job with the global march, but this time around they wanted to celebrate success and action in the community instead.”
The Be the Good Project was started by Arrow and Axe owners Jarret and Denai Bell. They launched the project just a few months ago, however it’s been in the works for some time.
Denai explained that both her and Jarret never intended on owning a retail store, but it was an opportunity that they have been happy to have, and through that, their goal is to make an impact on the planet in a positive way.
The Be the Good project sees that every purchase made in their store gives back to three different streams: wellness, water and wilderness. A minimum of three percent of each purchase is donated do various organizations. Their own line of clothing, the Parks Forever line, donates directly to the BC Parks Foundation at 10 per cent of each sale.
Not only that, but they support local and Canadian businesses; the only items stocked on their shelves are either made locally or made in Canada.
“We wanted to go back to our roots,” said Denai, as her and Jarret presented the project to KYAN students.
She explained that she has a background in both art and health and wellness, while Jarret has a background in outdoor pursuits. They wanted to combine those passions with their retail business in a way that would make a difference.
“We wanted a bigger purpose, not just moving merchandise,” said Jarret. “We do that through give backs.”
He pointed to several sustainable brands that they carry, such as TenTree and United By Blue. TenTree, for example, plants ten tree for every product of theirs that is purchased. They are a Canadian company that was started by two men in Saskatchewan. Over 34 million trees have been planted through TenTree. TenTree sales at Arrow and Axe have seen 210,080 trees planted.
“We’ve always been contentious about the products we carry, but we decided we wanted to start our own give back system as well,” Jarret explained. “We’ve partnered with the BC Parks foundation, we donate to ocean clean up initiatives, and we want to get people off of their screens and in the outdoors.”
Going forward, the duo will be donating to local projects and organizations, such as Wildsight and the Trails Society, while also hosting youth paddling adventures and other teen initiatives.
“We thought, being a small business, how can we make a big impact?” said Denai. “We want to grow with purpose and do something that makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning.”