I knew of Amy Roberts years before I got to really know Amy Roberts. She is one of these women who is hard to read at first; tough, and yet… a sly smile that makes you realize she has this underlying wit and compassion, like a secret that spills through the more you talk with her.
Amy led government affairs for the Outdoor Industry Association before she went to Mountain Equipment Co-op, the prominent outdoor retailer in Canada, to manage their social responsibility and then their sustainability strategy.
As a Canadian and previous Vancouverite, I found myself up in her area often and would make sure we had time for coffee and lunch, so we could talk about the industry, the outdoors, and trail running, and share a few good laughs.
It so happened that Amy took the role of Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association at the same time we launched The Renewal Workshop and she has been an incredible supporter of our work. I have admired her approach, her thoughtful work and her wicked sense of humor for quite a while now, so I reached out to see if we could share her story as she embodies the Renewable Life. Here is a little bit on our conversation.
What do you do and why?
I’ve chosen to work on behalf of the outdoor industry - working to preserve public lands and to create more places for people to get outside. I help our outdoor companies work together to make products that consumers love and are lighter on the planet. I am also able to raise dollars to fund programs that enable more kids to get outside to hike, camp, explore and have FUN.
What is your internal monologue when you should recycle something but it is a pain in the ass?
I’ve dedicated my career to improving the way the outdoor industry makes products - so certainly I should make the extra effort to walk the talk myself. Having to make the effort also highlights what the barriers to recycling are and helps me learn how we can improve and ease the process as an industry.
What is your self-care routine? How do you care for the community and the planet?
Going for a hike, a day of skiing, trail run or climbing one of the many peaks here in Colorado - really taking the time to enjoy a day in nature with family and friends. It’s important to prioritize that time for all the physical and mental benefits.
What do you hope people say about you?
Not only that I stand by my values, but that I also have the ability to bring disparate voices together to solve problems and create positive change that is scaled in its impact.
“The Renewable Life is our invitation into a different style of living. One with simple habits and practices that center around love, joy, meaning and appreciation.” Can you share a behavior you think someone would benefit from hearing about?
I try to stay curious, and, as often as possible, I say “yes” as the default when invited on a new adventure or being asked to join a new situation that might be out of my comfort zone.
The Renewal Workshop is trying to change the apparel industry. Why is that important to you?
Everyone on the planet buys apparel and the making of apparel uses a lot of water and often involves pesticides and chemicals. The potential negative impact on the environment is huge and therefore we can make a huge positive impact by making better choices in what and how we buy as consumers.
What's one question you wish people asked you?
What's on your 2019 bucket list?
Now please answer that question?
Learning to surf, helping to elect Republicans and Democrats who care about our public lands system, and taking care of, repairing and keeping the clothes I have plus pledging to check out the Renewal Workshop as my go-to when I need something new.