Tires around the world are the unsung heroes of our safety and connection to the lives we all live.
They are indispensable to life as we know it.
In the Western world, they are what takes us to work on our bicycles, our cars, and sometimes our farm tractors.
They are the key factor that gets soccer dads and hockey moms to practice on time and with a thread of sanity.
In the developing world, those tires are often on motorbikes that transport everything imaginable. From newborn babies cradled against their mothers as they leave the hospital to farm animals that look a little suspicious of why they are tied to a motorbike seat, our world moves around on tires.
However, every hero has a shadow side - and tires are no exception.
Discarded tires pose catastrophic challenges for our shared humanity:
The sheer number of tires produced.
The estimates are that there are 3 billion tires produced every year. Yes, you read that correctly: 3 BILLION.
80% of tires are made from oil, which is a non-renewable resource.
Once that oil is used up, there is no going back to get more.
Although there are millions of tires re-purposed every year, still close to 30% of tires around the world end up simply discarded or stockpiled.
This is a crisis. Those stockpiled tires breed mosquitoes that carry deadly diseases. They leech toxins into the precious soil beneath them. And worst of all, they are burned and release scary chemicals into our shared breathing space.
But humanity is endlessly creative, don't you think?
When we let our imaginations run wild, the results can make the world sit up and take notice.
We are also far braver than we give ourselves credit for.
You may not have thought of creativity and bravery going hand in hand, but they do. Creative solutions can't happen in a vacuum. They need bravery to be able to prove themselves to the world. They also need early adopters to take a chance on them.
Putting forth solutions that could help spark change starts with our relationship to how we see ourselves.
Do you see yourself as a valuable part of the solutions?
Do you see your actions as truly able to change how things are done?
We see it in the choices you make and the story you want to be a part of.
Being part of change looks different for all of us. We have different areas of influence, passions and opportunities.
In 2018, we at Brave Soles are going to be focusing on one thing above all else: continuing to spark change through creativity, inspiration and participation.
We are embarking on some exciting new ways to use both up-cycled tires AND up-cycled leather. We are also growing our work with the communities we love. We are even starting to open up our work for visitors and tours.
We want you to be part of it all.
Whether you own a pair of Brave Soles (yet!) or not, we consider it a privilege to be able to remind you to be bold and brave with your desire for meaning and legacy.
Do something today that reminds you of how awesome you are.
And then do it again tomorrow.
When you love the earth and the people who live on it, you will never lack for a reason to move forward.
“We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
~ David Bower