We recently had the opportunity to sit down again with professional runner and entrepreneur, Grayson Murphy, who uses her platform to advocate for causes near to her heart. You may recognize Grayson from running headlines or from some of our previous blog and social content. We’ve interviewed Grayson in the past to gear her insights on all things mental health and environmental awareness. As we’re celebrating Earth Day all month, we’re excited to share Grayson’s easy, eco-friendly swaps & habits.
What have you been up to since we spoke in 2019?
“I have been spending a lot of time running, participating in track season, and I actually moved to Montana last June. I’ve also taken a lot of time to learn about sustainable natural resources through Oregon State as well as finishing my capstone thesis.”
How has your platform or ‘brand’ as a runner and personally evolved over the last few years?
“It started out just about “Grayson”, but it grew organically with time. I wasn’t touting any messaging specifically or trying to use the platform for anything. Turns out, I have a space and responsibility for things that matter and can stand up for things that need to be heard. It’s less personal, but I try to keep it genuine and purpose-driven.
Personally, it’s been the journey a lot of people have after college, filled with a lot of years of exploring. Everything is new when it comes to self-exploration. Each year I’m trying new things and learning how to be an adult in a hectic world. I’m slowly starting to find bits and pieces of what’s part of me and what’s driving my life.”
As a successful prof runner across roads and trails, you have the chance to partner with many different companies. What are some of the criteria you look for in a sponsor? What have you learned from your sponsors about sustainable practices?
“When looking for a sponsor, I always look for a brand that aligns with my personal values and who cares about my mental health and general wellbeing, versus being primarily focused on results and times). I’ve learned what sustainable practice looks like on a corporate scale versus an individual scale so I can look for that.
For example, Saucony is moving in a sustainability direction so it has been great to grow with them. Nuun, another one of my sponsors, is not performance-based and truly wants to support me for being me. Plus they often have a holistic approach to things.”
What role does climate advocacy play in your career? Can you tell us about POW and how they activate members to influence climate change policies?
“Climate advocacy plays a significant role in my career. When I invest in climate advocacy, it makes me feel better and I get to apply my degree.
Working with Protect Our Winters (POW) has been really fun. It’s made me feel like my platform is being used for something good. I came in touch with POW because I reached out last summer when I was getting into my degree as well as when the election was coming up. POW started with snow sports athletes advocating for change, but now they have all kinds of athletes involved. It’s been incredible to learn from POW the power of advocating as well as really cool to see other athletes use their platforms for good.”
What are 5 sustainable swaps we can make in our everyday life?
I have a few more than 5 but they are all so important + simple to integrate. Here are my favorites :
- Cotton produce bags in addition to switching to reusable bags at the store
- Silicone zip lock bags instead of single use ones
- Invest in a Soda Stream, this helps reduce waste from sparkling water cans
- Ditch your coffee filters and switch to using a fine mesh stainless steel filter
- Instead of using aluminum foil, use silicone mats
- Invest in refillable soaps, like Grove or Blueland
- Use the Dorai Dish Pad instead of paper towels and rags
- Switch out your cat litter for finely chopped wood that’s totally biodegradable
- Use doggie bags that are compostable
What are a few sustainability behaviors that people can adopt?
- Implement no drive days. This was a POW challenge in March that involved committing to 10 no-drive days. This is helpful in putting more thought into combining your errand day so you drive less. This makes you more mindful of your actions and also saves time.
- Try running, walking, or biking to your errands!
- Get involved. You can start advocating with POW. It’s a great resource for each state that has a bunch of legislative actions in your area.
- Voting! Be aware of your cities climate action plan and what measures are up for a vote.
How do you inspire change in environmental practices in older generations?
“No matter the age, it’s hard to get people to change their set ways, make it easier to swap or make alternatives. It’s as simple as starting with things that don’t feel like they are huge compromises. The older generation has definitely become more open to plant-based lifestyles, so now they have more meatless meals. A simple tip is just helping to get your parents more involved in the movement if they aren’t already. Something like gifting your mom reusable produce bags or a refillable cleaning kit for Mother’s Day would be an easy and fun step.”
Last but not least, if you could come up with a 1-week challenge to get people into more earth-friendly habits, what would that look like?
“I would challenge people to not use any single-use plastics for a week. It doesn’t have to be forever, just one week! The goal is to get you thinking about and acknowledging how much single-use plastic we’re really using. Even if you fail, see what your result is after that week and what you can carry over to the next.”