Kjersti Buaas embodies the energy and curiosity of the human spirit. Her life path has been paved with accomplishments achieved throughout her incredible snowboarding career, but perhaps more impressive is the underlying simplicity that shines through her actions and teachings. The four-time Olympian currently spends her days deeply connected with nature as she spreads awareness on sustainable van living. Buaas exemplifies the positive ripple effect that can be accomplished when someone is passionate about what they do.
From designing and demonstrating sustainable vans, to guiding and lecturing on the practice of breath work, so much of what Buaas does is designed for positive change. She strives to be the best version of herself each day, constantly creating the future she envisions. Buaas sees a tomorrow where individuals are motivated to focus on the inner work necessary to allow for bigger movements to take place.
With the health of our planet in a state of urgency, Kjersti Buaas works with many nonprofits like Protect Our Winters, Lonely Whale, and Project Drawdown with Paul Hawken to fight for a better tomorrow. She and her partner, Chanelle, founded PRSNT Adventure Retreats to guide and empower women through the experiences of outdoor sports and excursions.
Buaas possesses a unique mindset and drive that inspires positivity and appreciation. Face the Current spoke with her to discuss her motivations, outlook, story, and more.
Ty Johnson: Currently, you and your partner are living out of a converted sprinter van, demonstrating its accessibility and spreading awareness on sustainable van living. What challenges and joys have you encountered throughout this process?
Kjersti Buaas: Yes, Chanelle and I have converted a sprinter van and we are now traveling around in it. We named her Lady Luna and she is powered to go anywhere with four-by-four, off-grid systems, designed and built to get lost for days in comfort! This winter was our first proper winter in the van, and it was magical. We traveled to different Ikon Pass resorts in California, like Tahoe, Mammoth and Big Bear.
Waking up in the van is so special. The walls are made from beautiful bamboo that we made and stained ourselves with non-toxic oil. We have a shower and a composting toilet. The kitchen is eighteen feet long because we love cooking! The van is insulated with wool and we made sure not to use harmful chemicals and materials in the process, as it’s a small space and living and breathing in toxins is no good. I usually do meditation first thing when I wake up.
Breathing calmly and consciously sets me up for a day of joy. I don’t really need much to happen; life feels good as it is in the meditative state of mind. After that I love making a fresh pot of coffee and enjoying it as I look outside the window. When we were on the road this last winter, we were blessed with fresh snow. Some mornings I climbed up on the roof to wipe off all the snow from the solar panels. It’s such a fun, adventurous way to explore life, nature, and an active lifestyle—always on the move!
TJ: You have a permaculture design certificate, are a Wilderness First Responder, and are a certified meditation teacher and teacher of presence. What fuels your desire to continue learning and expanding your abilities as a human being?
KB: Yes, I love learning and expanding my knowledge, especially when it comes to planetary and people health. I earned the permaculture certification back in 2012 on the Big Island in Hawaii, learning about plants and getting my hands dirty. Nature’s own systems are so clever! We humans tend to want to rip everything out, quickly labeling things as weeds. Learning how to work with nature, not against it, using all its properties and designing smart systems, you learn to think differently. And permaculture principles can translate into anything really—I absolutely love it! I use permaculture in other areas of life, too. It’s the same with meditation and being present—I bring that into everything I do. It creates a closer bond to nature, a stronger connection to myself and to others, and it deepens experiences and enriches activities. I truthfully and wholeheartedly love to be fully present. That is my fuel and also why we named our company and retreats PRSNT. I really enjoy learning new things—anything from building things (we are remodeling a cabin in Norway right now), making sourdough bread from scratch, a new sport (I am getting more into outdoor climbing) or a new language (I love to be able to communicate with people with different backgrounds and culture). There is always so much to learn, and that realization alone fuels me. I believe that learning is an important part of staying healthy. It expands me at the same time as it helps me peel back the layers.
I really love learning about the body, the brain, and the mind. The latter two are such an endless journey. The human mind is so powerful; it can lead you to better health or drag you down into the mud. That is why YOU must be the boss, the captain, the queen of the castle. When you are in charge, when you are aware of what that means, life, relationships, and your experiences here on earth start to unfold in a healthier, more enjoyable way. Your mind is not only your brain, but also your whole self and all your cells. That’s why they say, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” it really isn’t about what you set your head to—it’s what you are telling your whole body and all the trillions of cells that you embody! That’s why when we truly want something, we feel it in our whole body, tingling on a cellular level. The last fifteen months have been filled with challenges beyond what most of us could imagine.
The world is a different place than we knew it before the pandemic hit; a challenge that has changed most people’s lives and is persisting longer than most of us can bear. But challenging times build resilience and strength, and maybe this situation is almost forcing us to ignite that built-in endurance, flexibility, and strength that live deep inside us. This does not have to be experienced as an aggressive power, yet a peaceful power; an inner warrior power, built to last. Start by asking yourself, “Can I breathe even deeper into this challenge? Can I anchor even more in the present moment? Can I feel abundantly free even if I feel ‘trapped’? Can I channel more peace, light, and love in a time when the external world is in chaos?” The answer is, “Yes you can!” and acceptance and non-resistance are the key. Accept and fully embrace whatever this moment holds for you. Feel your emotions fully, but don’t become your emotions. Feel your body and feel your breath, so next time when you want to give up, keep feeding that feeling of your inner peaceful warrior.
TJ: “Queen of Style” is one of the many titles that you have earned over the years, and you are well-known for the intention and focus that you place into every outfit and moment. How do you stay so positive and energetic both on and off the mountain?
KB: Thank you. I hold that title high as snowboarding for me has always been about style and expression. Style is a form of expressing passion, individuality, creativity, love, strength, joy and presence. When I am on my snowboard, I love to pretend that I am dancing; dancing on the snow, connecting with my body, and making each move stand out.
You mention focus and intention in relation to style. I really connect with that as I love to get lost in whatever I do and allow myself to feel that moment to the core. That can be through sports or something totally different, like making sourdough bread or playing my ukulele. Style is so fun, and I love to get dressed up in whatever I am feeling like that day. We can be whatever we want in this life, so why not have fun with it? You get to play your character out fully, wholeheartedly, and share that style with others. Style is also a form of communication. You can tell someone how you feel by painting something in your style. I believe everyone can be an artist and everyone has their own, unique style.
Colors inspire me, for example. When I wear something yellow it positively affects my mood. Blue calms me and red or pink can give me an extra boost. Green and more earthy tones ground me. I get a lot of energy from being outside in nature and I really try to always put the fun first. It helps me not take life so seriously and that gives me energy and fuels me with passion to take on any challenge. Movement helps move “stagnant” energy through me, so it does not get stuck and drain me. Therefore, I make sure to integrate playful activities in my schedule every day.
TJ: Passions of health, wellness, and the environment seem to motivate and drive you forward as you pursue your personal goals. With so many achievements already under your belt, where are your sights set for the future?
KB: After I stopped competing in snowboarding, it became very important to me to take care of my body and stay as healthy as possible. As an athlete, I did take care of myself to a certain extent, but I realized after many years that my body had taken quite a lot of trauma. I had asked it to do A LOT and didn’t give it the attention it needed. Through years and years of impact and injuries I finally decided that my new goal in life was going to be overall health. Woven into that goal of health, at the core of it all, was presence. I realized, both through my sports performances and from diving deeper into the art of meditation, that I couldn’t be truly fulfilled, healthy, or happy, without often tapping into the essence of presence, my true self. The truth is, the magical key everyone talks about resides in your core. It’s the key to awakening; the key to self-realization and self-expansion. There’s nothing special about it, yet at the same time it is so profound. On this journey, I also realized how important nature is for human health. I have always loved and connected deeply with nature, but we can always dive deeper, look closer, and be more in tune with all life that exists. These days I love to just sit and observe little details in nature, like the tiny veins on a green leaf, gardening, listening to the birds—just being present more often. I used to do that as a kid with my grandma and now it’s come back full circle.
There is a certain vibration we feel when in nature that heals us from the inside out. I find that both meditation and nature help me to naturally feel present. In the present moment, I find a strong sense of calm, peace, and connectivity. I think it is only for so long that we humans can be merely surrounded by city buildings and traffic noise, while trying to stay connected to nature at the same time. Nature is a sanctuary—a necessary place of connection—that is crucial for expansion and evolution. My new path has become centered all around physical, mental, and planetary health and the ways in which I can level-up in all these areas. My sights for the future are to keep expanding that awareness and share it with as many people as possible.
TJ: Stretching over two decades, your snowboarding career has led you to compete in the Olympics four different times. How have you been able to maintain the mental and physical strength needed to stay at the top of your sport for so long?
KB: Playfulness! I have always been a very playful human. In fact, when I first started traveling for snowboarding at the age of fourteen, I said to myself, “Make sure to follow your heart and have fun! If you are no longer having fun, do something else or change your mindset.” I often look to that fourteen-year-old wisdom. Children are inspiring because they tend to be so present in what they do, meaning they are doing it for the simple joy and fun of it. They are alive and creative. I firmly believe that for anything to have longevity, it needs to be fun and fulfilling. The journey will feel daunting and stressful, and we are likely to give up. Acts and tasks that are primarily conducted as a means to an end (just reaching the top of the mountain; just getting promoted; just getting a raise; just getting more attention) will not last or feel very fulfilling over time.
To be honest, throughout my career I have had moments where I felt ashamed for spending a lot of my time (and life) playing and having fun. When I was just twenty-two, I sat next to a businessman on the plane traveling to Japan (I got upgraded to business class for free by the airline) and he asked me, “When are you going to grow up and get a real job? When are you going to wake up to reality?” I felt a strong urge to disagree. Is my job not a real job? Is life not meant to be enjoyed? Are we not here to thrive? Do I have to suffer? I kept my thoughts to myself and just nodded politely, but in my heart I knew better. In my early twenties I already strongly felt that suffering can be optional if we are aware that we have a choice. I am not saying we will never encounter problems and challenges—in fact, problems are inevitable, and life is meant to be challenging. But a challenge can be fun, and a problem can be solved without stress and too much thinking.
I also really like to challenge myself. That is one of the reasons I like to push myself in snowboarding. We grow from problems and we can feel meaning in finding their solutions if we choose to. Another interesting concept to be aware of is that when we solve one problem, the mind comes up with a new one to tackle. For most of us, “problems” and challenges come with a certain degree of suffering (inner resistance to the current state). We get caught up in our thoughts and emotional drama and think, “Why is this happening to me?” or “This is not fair!” or “I wish I was not here and that this situation was different.” When we resist, the situation persists. When we let go, things will start to flow. With flow and awareness we can more easily honor the present moment and recognize that even if there are problems, we don’t have to suffer.
After that chat on the plane with the businessman, I continue to travel the world with my snowboard. As I strapped into my board and played in big arenas like the Olympics, I made sure to stand strong in my philosophy of always putting fun first and wearing my heart on my sleeve. Since then, over twenty years later, I have been to five Olympics, won an Olympic medal, and even coached at the Olympics. I am proud of these accolades, but I am prouder to say that I made a career built around fun, movement, and love for snow. The latter is what kept me so motivated for all those years! I wasn’t trying to find a sense of self or identity in the doing, instead I just enjoyed it for the sake of joy.
I am confident that having fun is more than okay! I no longer excuse myself for integrating playfulness into my life because it’s such a big part of health. In fact, my inner child needs to be everywhere for me to go anywhere. I am far from being free of suffering and who knows if I will ever feel free of it in this lifetime. I still experience many moments of unease, jealousy, fear, and resistance every day, but I am becoming more and more aware that I hold the key to getting myself out of that mental prison. Playfulness is my guide because it’s a sustainable approach that motivates me and breathes fun into anything.
TJ: Your lengthy career includes accomplishments such as medaling in the Olympics, X games, and U.S. Open. How can you describe the differences between free riding a mountain and the experience of competing in one of these prestigious events?
KB: I love freeriding. It is an aspect of snowboarding that I am exploring more now that I am not competing, and I especially love splitboarding. It provides the perfect combination of action and stillness, and I use my own body to power up the mountains. As I walk, I observe my own heartbeat and become in-tune with the landscape and surroundings. Sometimes my mind becomes so still that I become fully #prsnt—the state of “no mind”—and this connects me even closer to the mountains. As a bonus, it helps me to stay safe and confident. Every time I have suffered from an injury in snowboarding, it was because I was not present; my mind was everywhere else and not in my body.
I competed in the freeride world tour one year and that was an intense experience. There was so much to learn in a very short time, and you only get one shot in those events: one ride down the mountain. You don’t get any actual physical practice on the run and can only prepare in the mind. I used visualization a lot in these competitions and tried to clearly see the line and run I wanted to do.
I love the contrast between freeriding and parkriding. Competing on a playing field that is more manmade (like the X Games or the Olympics) is a different experience than freeriding, yet still very enjoyable, fun, and playful. I would say it is challenging because there is more noise, and there are more people and obstacles to navigate. In competition it becomes even more crucial to be aware that you have a choice to listen to your “inner body” rather than your “chattering mind”. Thoughts, fears, and emotions can be so distracting and actually throw you fully off your game if you let them overtake you. It can be nerve-wracking and unbearable to stand on the top of the drop-in with shaky legs and a pounding heart. Your ability to tap into that inner stillness and hold space for a strong sense of calm and intense presence becomes very important. There is a connection to the moment that clicks in right before I drop; everything becomes silent and I become still. I love that challenge.
As an athlete, I have had to learn to dance with fear and I try to bring that insight with me everywhere I go. The truth is, there will always be opportunities to feel scared—fear does not just go away—you just have to do the work. Inner work revolves a lot around becoming more conscious. With this awareness, you suddenly get to choose to trust yourself rather than just hoping for fear to go away. Fear tends to disappear when we become present.
In fact, the times I have accomplished my best results in life are the times when I was afraid to send it, but I did it anyway. To me “sending it” does not mean being reckless, but rather taking a moment to ground myself and feel the presence that lives inside me. “Inspired” means “with spirit” and it connects you to the power that underlies the universe. Conversely, “desperate” means “without spirit”, lacking clean, dynamic energy. In this space, where I’m led by my spirit and heart and not by my mind, I can do anything I want and attract anything I desire. I want to use my background and platform as an athlete to remind people to trust themselves and just go for it! Going for it does not mean you need to hit the biggest jump—start small and build up—just make sure you hit the jump! Be confident and set the navigation for your life. Be the captain of your own ship. Whenever you doubt yourself (because you will), turn your focus inward for a bit, meditate on it, feel the emotional journey and let it all go. Place those beautiful dreams and desires into a timeline of your life: visualize it, see it happen, and feel it in your whole body. Then, come back to trusting that you will attract exactly what you need in your life at the time you need it. And then, boom! When you least expect it, your desired dreams, thoughts, emotions, wishes, and manifestations become your new reality. It literally comes flying into your life and knocks your socks off. It’s like the best powder day ever!
TJ: Meditation and breath work have given you the ability to access inner peace. How important is it for you to share the knowledge and practices that you have learned with others?
KB: Yes, you are absolutely right. I first learned meditation when I was competing in snowboarding, preparing for big events like the X games and the Olympics. I found that my mind was often wandering, I could not clearly focus, and I had trouble sleeping deeply before competition. So, I found some online classes, and the techniques I learned really helped me. Meditation became a tool for me to navigate the stress and challenges that often come with competition in a lighter, more playful, and intentional way.
I found a calmer mind space to operate from, to use when I was in action and in relaxation. I continued meditating and learning more about it, eventually getting a teacher’s certification. In 2018, I was the head coach for the Olympic Slovakian Snowboard Team, teaching focus, positive mindset, meditation and mindfulness, and how to bring it into sports and performance. But a healthy mindset is not only for athletes. You are much more likely to be successful when you are enjoying the journey in a free and liberating way, no matter what it is— sports or another profession.
Today I am really enjoying sharing these tools with others; tools that have been helping me so much both on an individual level, with groups, and with businesses. I feel called to pass on the beautiful tools and traditions of meditation and the art and teachings of “presentness”, because everyone can access inner stillness and peace. Everyone has a true self; an inner power to draw strength from. Our minds are surely an adventure worth exploring. I believe health and wellness have to start with ourselves, from within. Through my own internal work, I have learned about the benefits a dedicated fitness routine has for my overall health and happiness, including movement and meditation.
Every day I aim to do two twenty-minute meditation sessions, but to be fully transparent, some days it can be challenging to find space and time to practice. This especially happens when family is around, or I have a long “to do list”, or if I am really stressed out. With that said, I know how beneficial a consistent meditation practice is, so rather than getting frustrated when I can’t do my regular practice (or skipping the meditation altogether), I’ve learned to find a way to flex and flow with whatever is going on around me. One solution that I absolutely love is to practice moving meditation. This style of meditation can be integrated into activities like running, swimming, and snowboarding.
In fact, you might even feel like you have been meditating while immersed in these activities. The reason for this is that when we connect with our bodies and breath, we naturally become a part of the PRSNT moment, because the body and our breath is always present. When we systematically apply a technique of breath awareness to an activity, we draw the attention of our minds into the moment and practice what is called a moving meditation. It’s like when you just get “lost” in the activity but with an added layer of mindfulness. The result is a strengthened capacity to return to the PRSNT moment. In day-to-day life, when stressful situations arise, this is a great tool to have in your tool belt. When we say yes to the #prsnt moment we also say yes to the unlimited potential to feel life to the fullest. This is where the universal intelligence and natural flow resides. I ought to live through spirit instead of the conditioned mind, and I try to remember that I am life and life is me.
The movement or exercise I do is inspired by yoga and natural terrain, mostly using body weight to integrate stability, strength, and balance. Nature is always a fun environment in which to move the body, with such a wonderful variety of smells, sounds, and visual beauty. I love this time to connect with my body, open any blockages and get the energy flowing. Movement generates energy, so if you are feeling sluggish or tired, a little bit of exercise can do wonders. It does not have to be long or involve a bunch of equipment. If you can be outside, surrounded by some greenery or nature while moving the body, that adds an extra energy boost, ensures you are enjoying the moment, and will help set you up for the rest of the week.
I draw a lot of inspiration from the forest, the body sensations it gives me, and the natural sounds when I teach meditation and breathwork. I want to bring the teachings of combining meditation, nature, and movement to as many people as possible. These feelings of bliss and joy that I feel in a meditative state of mind are what I call feelings of “presentness” and wisdom, but they are not only available after a big hike or an activity. I also channel and draw power from these feelings in moments when I don’t feel as good, like when I’m in a noisy environment or when I’m feeling fearful. With that said, being active in nature is something I prioritize because it injects me with those happy feelings; it reminds me to laugh and not to take myself or my thoughts too seriously. Nature acts as a key to unlock the vibrant garden that lives inside all of us. When I teach, I realize that people tend to have similar questions, experiences, and concerns. Many people are simply scared to look inward, in fear of what they will see or experience. Therefore, I am passionately creating content, videos, and tips to help people of all walks of life kickstart their meditation practice.
TJ: As one of the two founders of PRSNT Adventure Retreats, you guide and empower women through outdoor adventures and activities. Can you describe how you decided to start this program and give us a little insight into the experiences so far?
KB: Chanelle and I love nature, and no matter where we are in the world, we find that nature always feels like home. In the forest we tend to breathe deeper. On the top of the mountain, after a strenuous hike, we open up and let go of our fears. By the river, we flow with more ease. We become vulnerable and can let down our guards of separation because nature’s grandness makes us realize that we are only small pieces of a bigger picture.
That is also why we founded PRSNT back in 2010. It started as an idea we had while we were camping in Mt. Hood, Oregon. We noticed there was a lack of a community for women who love backcountry snowboarding/splitboarding/ski-touring or for those who want to get into it. We chatted with several women who said they usually just go with their boyfriends/husbands but feel that they can’t keep up and often get left behind. These women also expressed that they would love to be a part of a community of like-minded women who also love to eat healthy and practice yoga and meditation. So, we decided to start hosting women’s adventure retreats and mindful outdoor experiences.
A central goal for PRSNT is to inspire as many people as possible to spend time in the elemental outdoors, developing a deeper connection to nature, to each other, and to themselves. At the retreats, we focus on human-powered activities to play and explore in nature, such as splitboarding, skiing, arctic surfing, yoga, meditation, reflection circles, healthy living and eating, fjord dips, sauna, climbing, music, and community building. We love the growing community of adventurous ladies that come together to learn, support, and care for themselves, one another, and for Mother Nature. This past year has been challenging to host any retreats, but we are excited to continue this amazing journey, connecting more women from all over the world. It is so special to get to share our passion for nature, the mountains, the ocean, and to actively use our bodies while also taking moments to be still and #bprsnt with other empowering women.
TJ: Through a variety of non-profit and volunteer work, you have utilized your platform as a force for good. How has your work with organizations like Protect Our Winters, Lonely Whale Foundation, and Keep A Breast impacted you personally?
Natural playgrounds are being polluted and resources are being rapidly depleted. Therefore, I am passionate about using my platform as a professional athlete as a force for good and I work with many nonprofits like Protect Our Winters, Lonely Whale, and Project Drawdown with Paul Hawken. I learn so much from them and they have the bandwidth to get all the way up to government level. I’m a part of the @protectourwinters athlete alliance and I see what an amazing job #pow is doing to help protect our winters and beyond. These organizations have taught me that in order to continue to enjoy nature we need to take responsibility and take care of our natural resources, including all life that lives within it.
This is how it should be because we all come from nature and so it is our responsibility to take care of it. They are paving the way for how we can all be environmentalists and activists. Protect Our Winters has launched the @pow_action_fund where real action on policy can happen! That has affected me personally because the action steps are loud and clear. I know and understand how to help, and I love to take action. Since there is power in numbers, the more who join, the more impact will be had. Head over to POWActionFund.org to learn more about our mission, initiatives, and ways to get involved. Together, let’s turn our passion into purpose and realize the true potential and power we have when we come together in community.
I often ask myself, “Can the state of our planet be a reflection of what is happening on our inside?” As a collective, we humans are not so healthy—we have so many individual problems. We waste; we suffer; we care about shallow things; judge each other for looks, gender, color, and beliefs; we are always on the hunt, hustling to “make it” in this world. We mindlessly rip out what we identify as weeds and pollute the land. We eat unhealthy food; we expose our bodies to far too many harmful chemicals and toxins. We don’t move enough and we have more diseases than ever. Meanwhile, the earth is getting warmer, oceans are getting contaminated, and animals are trapped in our mindless line of trash.
We let the ego (our subconscious, programmed mind) sit in the driver’s seat as we (the awareness) are asleep. This gets us into trouble all day long, wrapped up in our thoughts and beliefs, comparing and constantly finding ways to separate from other human beings and creatures, and from nature. I think this is an important topic to speak about and we can help turn things around for the better of our planet. I am connected with the Kind Humans Movement who are spreading the simple yet profound message of kindness. Start being kind to yourself, make healthy choices, and let that kindness ripple outwards. I love and adore the people behind Keep A Breast Foundation who educate people about how to be preventative in relation to breast cancer. We should act and incorporate healthy choices, both for ourselves and others, before it’s too late.
Taking care of natural resources should be a part of our awareness and actions every day. At the same time, it is fun and important to collectively celebrate Mother Earth with our social megaphones. Social media can help us amplify our voice to help protect the planet, and most of us carry a desire for a better way; a hope that we will somehow leave this world a better place than we found it.
I integrate and invite the amazing messages and important work of these non-profit organizations and the companies I believe in, like Zeal Optics, on my social media outlets, in speaking opportunities, workshops, projects, and in our women’s adventure retreats. At our retreats, we aim to inspire outdoor people all over the world to get involved and help act on climate. The Earth needs us now, but we don’t need to act from fear. We need unconditional love infused with a peaceful warrior attitude; energy and playfulness; knowledge and cooperation. All this is accessible at this moment, right now. We need a systemic change on all levels in politics, business, sports, agriculture etc. When we change from the inside out, when we work on transcending the old, outdated mindset, we can change everything and inspire each other along the way.
TJ: Capitalism creates a large level of responsibility for the consumer, as we have the option to shop around and choose where we spend our dollars. Why should people look into and support responsible companies that you’ve worked with, such as Zeal Optics?
KB: I love working with @zealoptics because they are a company with integrity. I have learned that the people behind ZEAL are adventurous, curious, and creative individuals who work as a unit to provide progressive, durable, plant-based eyewear for the outdoor lifestyle. Through my perspective #zealoptics is a respectful leader in the snow and outdoor industry, who creates the change we wish to see with style! I support companies like ZEAL Optics who embody environmental values and act on them, because I know that together we are stronger. The “buy a goggle plant a tree” initiative is a testament to their action, working with the national forest foundation to help with reforestation. Project Drawdown that I mentioned, is currently showing that forest protection and restoration are some of the top solutions right now. We can’t hide the fact that most consumer products are impacting planetary health in maybe more negative ways than positive, so designing with sustainability in mind is key. I love that ZEAL Optics is using recycled, plant-based materials in their production. That is one of the reasons why I was attracted to the company in the first place.
I have also taken a stand on single-use plastics like plastic straws, and I support @simplystraws to help eliminate the absurd number of plastic straws we use every day. I know how detrimental plastic straws are to animals and the oceans, and therefore I encourage you to sign the @simplystraws pledge, I #PledgeAgainstPlasticStraws, and commit to not using plastic straws and/or using a reusable straw instead.
In this process, we should remember that the point is not to judge each other but to INSPIRE and help educate where we can. We are all in different life-situations and we are only creating separation and imaginary walls when we judge someone negatively. What we need to do is to have compassion and understanding for each other. That way, we can get together and work together because that is what Earth actually needs from us.
TJ: At the youth sustainability conference held at the United Nations HQ in New York, you spoke on breath work. What are some small efforts that people can make in moving towards a positive and sustainable future?
KB: Yes, that was such a fun experience. I was given the chance to speak on a topic I care for and that I think can positively impact the future of the world and its people. I chose breathwork/present moment awareness meditation because I think change and sustainability must start from within.
More than ever, a new human mindset is necessary—a mindset where hierarchy, money, and fame are not primary goals. Some call it a new earth, some call it an elevation of the collective human consciousness. I believe that as individuals, this is one of the most powerful things we can do: work from the inside out. One simple, conscious breath is enough to trigger that awareness; to open up our hearts and minds, and to see more clearly. Pass this on to the children and future generations, because when we allow ourselves to “Be” more, we naturally remember the feeling of being connected. And to care deeply for something, we need to feel connected. In a state of Being, we can access solutions and take action that goes far beyond what we could ever do in a state of fear, anger, or resentment. That is why I chose to use that opportunity at the UN to connect people with their breath and body.
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