The journey to sustainability usually begins with a desire to change. Whether it's social, economic or environmental sustainability you are moving towards (or all three), getting started can be overwhelming. One place to start is to make sure you are purchasing brands with the same sustainable goals in mind. Timberland has committed to planting 50 million trees worldwide by 2025. This is not the first sustainable initiative for the brand with a commitment to make products responsibly, protect the outdoors and strengthen communities around the world.

But sustainability looks different for everyone, so we partnered with Timberland to feature two strong individuals to learn what it means to them. We caught up with Nelson ZêPequéno and Mecca James-Williams to chat about where they are on their sustainable journey.

Nelson ZêPequéno

nelson
Gear Patrol Studios

Nelson ZêPequéno is an LA-based mixed media artist. Nelson began working in mixed media art as a way to get creative with the limited resources at hand. When he is not creating his newest piece of art he can be found shopping around his local plant center. Through gardening, Nelson has found a sense of community and a way to connect and share stories with others. Nelson started an Instagram called Black Men with Gardens as a way to bring awareness to black men in the plant world.

nelson walking
Gear Patrol Studios

Q: What inspires your art?

Nelson ZêPequéno: “Stillness is the greatest inspiration for my art, and a vast amount of my creativity seems to come from allowing space and time for self to just be."

Q: How did you get into plants and gardening? What was the inspiration behind creating Black Men with Gardens?

NZ: "I got into plants and gardening as an art form. What started as a simple plant study for a painting ended up becoming my passion. Decolonization and a method to reclaim control of our narrative were major motivators, but ultimately providing space for black men to be seen for who they really are is the reason why I do it."

Q: What does sustainability mean to you?

NZ: "Ecological sustainability to me is about consideration and respect. Making the decision to work with, not against, means we get to enjoy this planet a little longer. And If we get it right we won’t be leaving our kids with the consequences but with the reward."

nelson tying his timberland shoes
Gear Patrol Studios

Q: How does sustainability affect your purchasing decisions?

NZ: "I’m more likely to be a repeat customer of brands that demonstrate a commitment to creating sustainable products because they’re providing access to it now — when for other companies it’s just an idea or far-off goal. And by committing to sustainability early, their designs and products are just going to continue to get better and better."

Q: Where would you say you are on your sustainability journey at the moment?

NZ: "I’ve come a long way and have grown an awareness that led to more sustainable behaviors which I plan on continuing to develop."

Men's GreenStride™ TBL® Originals Ultra Waterproof Boots

greenstride boots
Gear Patrol Studios

Timberland's GreenStride boots are equal parts craftsmanship, performance and eco-innovation. The GreenStride soles are made from a 75 percent combination of renewable sugarcane and responsibly sourced rubber. The waterproof protection and lightweight comfort of these boots ensure you stay on your feet during your most rugged excursions. With progressive styling and recycled materials, these boots not only feel good — they do good.

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Mecca James-Williams

mecca wearing boot
Gear Patrol Studios

Mecca James-Williams is a New York-based creative and stylist with experience in content creation and creative direction. Starting as an intern and working her way up in the industry, James-Williams draws inspiration from culture, traveling and art in her styling. James-Williams has recently been inspired to live a more sustainable life through her purchasing decisions of both food and clothes.

woman standing against sky
Gear Patrol Studios

Q: Have you found a sense of community through your work?

Mecca James-Williams: “Community is essential to living and community in the creative landscape is essential to progress. I think it's important to find and align with people who speak to who you are and who you want to be.”

Q: As someone starting their journey to sustainability, what does it mean to you?

MJW: “When it comes to sustainability it's an ongoing conversation on how we can be one with nature and the earth, so we can preserve her."

woman walking
Gear Patrol Studios
woman smiling
Gear Patrol Studios

Q: What are the steps you have or plan to take to live a more sustainable life?

MJW: "I think one huge sustainable goal that I'm working on is eating differently and consuming food in a more holistic way. I am starting to think about where my food comes from and how it’s made. I’m making sure my food is sourced in a way that is sustainable to the world and humanity."

Q: How does sustainability affect your purchasing decisions?

MJW: “Right now, when it comes to purchasing, I don't shop fast fashion. I am ensuring the pieces that I buy are going to have a long life. I have cut out the need for quick and easy purchases and buy things that I can wear and treasure over the years.”

Timberland's Green Stride Initiative

woman posing against rock
Gear Patrol Studios

At the heart of the Timberland® brand is the core belief that a greener future is a better future. Through a decades-long commitment to make products responsibly, protect the outdoors and strengthen communities around the world, this core belief has come to life. The brand has committed to planting 50 million trees worldwide by 2025, and has a vision for its products to have a net positive impact on nature by 2030. This means that by giving back more than they take, Timberland will build its brand without harming the environment.

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