Freestyle gives “1% for the Planet.” What does that mean?

Antarctica is the world’s last great wilderness. The white continent’s unique geography and fauna are novel for even the most experienced traveler, which is why the remote region attracts over 30,000 visitors a year. Such a singular ecosystem requires careful preservation in order to be sustained.

Although melting Arctic ice receives much attention in the media, climate change also directly affects the wildlife and terrain of Antarctica. These changes will have great repercussions throughout the planet. As a business founded based on our passion for Antarctica and the great outdoors, we feel compelled to protect the environment.

Therefore, we have committed to contributing 1 percent of our earnings to environmental causes. In April 2014, we joined “1% for the Planet,” an alliance of businesses around the world who pledge 1% of their sales to approved environmentally-focused organizations. Started in 2002 by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Craig Matthews, Blue Ribbon Flies founder, the network comprises over 1,200 businesses and thousands of nonprofit partners in over 60 countries. To date, 1% for the Planet business partners have collectively given over $175 million. We are proud to be a part of this movement to build a healthy planet.

For the past three seasons, we have split our 1% contribution between two organizations: Yadkin Riverkeeper (Winston-Salem, NC) and the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC). These selections reflect our organization’s values as an American business promoting exploration of the Antarctic.

Yadkin Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization with the mission to protect and preserve the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin through education, advocacy, and action. We recognize the importance of local action to make a difference, and we have seen first-hand the impactful work of the Yadkin Riverkeeper. Sarah’s brother Will has worked for this nonprofit as a lawyer and riverkeeper for the past years, and we remain impressed by the results of their projects.

The second recipient, ASOC, is a coalition of over 30 NGOs interested in Antarctic environmental protection. As the only non-governmental organization working full-time to preserve Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean, this organization achieved early victories in protecting the region from exploitation by mineral and gas companies. Today, the ASOC is concerned with issues of tourism, shipping, and climate change in the Antarctic.

As a tour agency, we hope to bring people to the furthest corners of the world on journeys that are sustainable and respectful to the environment. Therefore, we only work with ships that are members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), a regulatory body which ensures that trips to the Antarctic are safe and environmentally responsible.

We love sending people to the magical, white landscape of Antarctica, where they can witness a topography unlike any other. This is why we are aligned with organizations like 1% for the Planet and IAATO: to ensure that this incredible region retains its vibrancy for years to come.

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