Sherb Talk: An Evening with Dakota Jones
Join ultrarunner Dakota Jones for an a talk on the ultrarunning, his love for wilderness and his thoughts and efforts to create environmental awareness.
"Being a mountain athlete is inseparable from caring for mountain landscapes and wild places in general, and it doesn't take much effort to see their fragility and the changes people are inflicting on them. People who love wild places can cause them damage too. This has led me to consider my own actions on a fundamental level, such that my priority now is to be able to use my notoriety as a runner to promote a greater environmental awareness in the outdoor industry.
That led me to my best example of this in practice last August, when I bike toured to Colorado Springs to run the Pikes Peak Marathon, then bike toured home. Along the way I raised nearly $11,000 for Protect Our Winters, a climate change nonprofit I work with. Like most grand experiments, this one had many failings. I've done my best since then to understand what was successful and what I can do better in the future.
My goal onstage is to present my story as a work in progress; to demonstrate that anything is better than nothing and thinking in extremes is detrimental to everyone's goals. We have to take small steps if we hope to achieve large goals. What this ultimately comes down to is the imperative of communication. I rode my bike to Pike Peak and back to set an example, but if I don't make an effort to talk to people about why I did that, then I will be written off as another rich white kid who has more time than most people to do crazy stuff. My message is not that everyone has to stop driving or flying; it's that we all care about protecting our planet, and we can do that by honestly acknowledging our own impacts - painful though it may be - and then systematically working to reduce them. It's a matter of clearly defining priorities.
I want to start the discussion on the historical and cultural reasons that cause us to want to explore wild places in the first place and how that leads us to want to protect them. I'll talk honestly about the outdoor industry and how it can sometimes promote good values and other times it hijacks deep, almost spiritual values to sell products. And I'll talk about the dominant forms of discourse in the outdoor industry, which are primarily social media and videos."
About Dakota: Dakota Jones fell upon running by chance when he was reprimanded by his high school football coach and was asked to run up a hill. After that, he fell in love with the sport while volunteering at the Hard Rock 100 in Colorado, and hasn’t looked back. In 2012 alone he won the Transvulcania ultra marathon in Spain, won and set a course record at the Lake Sonoma 50 here in California and placed 3rd at the Hard Rock 100 in Colorado, among other accomplishments. He now travels the country and the world running, climbing, racing and pushing himself beyond his limits believing the only thing that stands in his way is his imagination.