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German crusher Alex Megos is selling t-shirts online adorned with the phrase, “Carrots for Power,” with 100% of all the proceeds from shirt sales going to a variety of charitable causes. Gym Climber caught up with the Olympic-qualified athlete to chat about the shirt campaign and the idea behind it, among other things.
What’s the idea behind Carrots for Power? Can you tell us the meaning of the phrase?
The idea behind Carrots for Power developed years ago. I was looking for a vegetable that I could take to the crag, one that wouldn’t get mushed in your backpack and that was healthy. Carrots seemed like the best choice, because for example, you can eat tomatoes raw, but you can’t bring them to the crag or they’ll get smushed in your pack.
Most other vegetables, besides carrots, are either not as common, or aren’t very delicious raw. Carrots are the perfect vegetable to eat at the crag because you can eat them raw, bring them everywhere, and they last for a long time. So, I developed #CarrotsForPower and it really took off.
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Why did you choose to put it onto a shirt?
I’ve already created a Carrots for Power t-shirt here with my gym in Nuremberg, Kafe Kraft, and it seemed to be popular with people.
So I thought it would be a cool thing, first of all to promote the hashtag, which I thought was really funny, and second of all it’s a hidden reminder for people to pay more attention to their nutrition, eat vegetables, and live a more plant-based lifestyle. I think the Carrots for Power hashtag is a very good message and reminder for people. [A plant-based lifestyle] is both environmentally-friendly and better for the body.
Why are you donating the proceeds to nonprofits, and what nonprofits are you planning to support here?
Making a profit seemed like the wrong reasons [to sell this shirt]. I don’t want to animate people to buy more stuff for no reason. Donating the money to good causes and actually doing something useful is just the right thing for me to do here. So I’m donating to various NGOs that support sustainable agriculture, anti-racism, and so on and so on. I’m donating the proceeds to a different NGO each month.
The first NGO I donated to was called Regeneration Academy. It’s a farm in the heart of Spain, and they help farmers and people convert to sustainable agriculture and regenerative agriculture, which will become a lot more important in the future. Monocultures are depleting our soil and the topsoil is slowly disappearing. If we want to tackle climate change, regenerative farming practices are one of the most important steps to regain topsoil. So that nonprofit seemed like a good starting point. So, for the first month of the t-shirt sales, I donated the €1500 we made to their NGO.
The second one I want to donate to is Climbing for Change, the NGO Kai Lightner started to help underprivileged communities to get into climbing, making the sport and industry more inclusive. I thought that was an important cause as well, also to make more people aware of how beautiful the outdoors is and why we need to protect it.
As the Olympics are getting closer and closer, how are you feeling?
I feel like there hasn’t been any final decision if the Olympics are happening or not. We’ll see how it goes. I’m sure if it does happen, it won’t be the Olympics like usual, there’ll be a lot of restrictions and so on. So I’m not sure how it’ll feel to compete.
Anything else on the horizon right now for you?
Obviously I always want to climb harder routes, harder boulders, and do more and more hard stuff. But my other big project is just to make people more aware of our environmental crisis and inspire people to change their lifestyle and pay more attention to the environment. If we don’t start doing that quite soon, then very soon we won’t have a beautiful planet to go climbing in.
According to the product page, Megos’ Carrots for Power shirts are ethically produced, with 100% organic cotton. They are neither tested on animals nor made of any animal-derived products, are printed with low waste printing tech, and made in a renewable energy-powered factory audited for social and sustainability criteria.
Owen Clarke is a writer currently based in Tennessee. He is a Contributing Digital Editor at Rock and Ice and Gym Climber. He enjoys Southern sandstone and fish tacos, and is afraid of heights.
Follow him on Instagram at @opops13.