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Success is part of her daily business: For nine years, Brooke Miller has been passionately supporting our Spread Group customers with maintaining the success of their merchandising business. As the North American Key Account Manager of Spreadshop, Brooke is dedicated to strengthening the relationships that our top sellers have with the Spreadshop brand through proactive communication, strategy, and motivation.

Her own professional career is also a success story: Brooke started as a graphic design intern at Spreadshirt in 2013, where she created custom apparel designs and online merch stores for our key accounts. The print-on-demand industry gave Brooke the opportunity to combine her passions for art and fashion in a fast-paced modern industry. She developed in her area of responsibility from classic graphic design to key account management and community management. In our CSR initiative “Committed to a Greener Future”, she is one of the most committed voices for sustainable business development of the Spreadshop brand.

Spread Group: How do you personally define sustainability?

Brooke Miller: I would define my personal views on sustainability as conscious living and considering how your actions affect the world outside of your own existence.

Spread Group: What motivates you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Brooke Miller: Awareness. Staying up to date on social topics, culture, politics, etc. It’s easier to be sensitive to sustainability if you’re aware of how it impacts current reality.

Spread Group: What sustainability projects have you and your team already implemented?

Brooke Miller: As a company, Spread Group just launched the SpreadPeace campaign. It’s a Spreadshop with designs that promote global peace and all proceeds earned in the shop go to Caritas Wien, an organization on the ground in Ukraine helping distribute necessities.

Late last year, we also participated in MrBeast’s TeamSeas campaign to raise money to remove trash from the oceans. $1 from every bottle sold in every Spreadshop removed one pound of garbage for the duration of the campaign.

Our business model overall promotes sustainability. We never print until an order is placed, so no product is created unless it has a guaranteed home. We donate nearly all of our returned products to local charities. Our digital printers use vegan inks. Our production process is almost paperless. We have a long way to go, but I’m proud to work for a company who is constantly implementing more ways to be more sustainable.

Spread Group: What specific sustainability goals have you set for yourself?

Brooke Miller: Currently and in the near future we will hold interactive workshops with a focus on the social sustainability pillars that can include, creator mental health and social responsibility within the print-on-demand market.

Spread Group: What do you recommend to all readers who would like to further explore sustainability?

Brooke Miller: Make small changes in your everyday life. Be kind and sensitive. Volunteer. Donate to charity. Instead of scrolling past posts you see about world news, stop for a second and take it in. It’s hard to stay aware because there’s so much bad news, but there are so many good things we can all do to make a difference.

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Brooke!

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Corporate Social Responsibility at Spread Group:

All proceeds of the shop go to the Caritas Ukraine Aid

The war has been raging in Ukraine for over 40 days. We are speechless at the sight of the violence and the humanitarian catastrophe. The footage in the media is hard to watch, and it is even harder to just stand idly by. Many of our colleagues have joined initiatives to coordinate donations in kind and drive to the borders with Ukraine to deliver them. Others host people seeking protection. We as a company have organized fundraising campaigns to provide direct support to Ukrainian families who have arrived at our production site in Legnica (Poland). Solidarity is key in times like these.

As an e-commerce and design platform, we have experienced how great the desire is to express solidarity on clothing and accessories. The demand for designs and products supporting the cause of Ukrainians in distress is strong, and it has become quite clear that people wish for nothing but a peaceful outcome. There have been over 10,000 newly uploaded designs with graphics in blue and yellow, the hashtag #StandWithUkraine and the ‘No War’ typography. Customers favor stickers and T-shirts to take the message to the streets.

The team at our Leipzig headquarters was able to support several local initiatives, such as the Humanitarian Aid Ukraine e.V., the FAIRbund e.V. as well as the Leipzig Crowd, a project of the city of Leipzig and Leipziger Group. And the desire to take the initiative ourselves has taken on a concrete shape:

The idea for the #spreadPeace campaign was initiated to take a stance for peace and freedom while supporting the people in Ukraine. We set up a charity shop featuring a great variety of designs centered around topics such as humanity, peace, freedom, and Ukraine. All proceeds will go directly to the Caritas Wien Ukraine Aid. Caritas is one of the largest aid organizations in the world and has been active for many years. We are proud to partner up with Caritas and donate 100% of the proceeds from the shop to people in need. In doing so, everyone can make a donation through the purchase of a product and then further spread the message on T-shirts, stickers, and more – everywhere in the world. Please take a look at our European #spreadPeace shop and our International shop for the USA and Australia.

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Spread Group is currently replacing its plastic packaging used for shipping with recyclable paper bags in Europe. Paper bags will have replaced all plastic consignments as a part of the sustainability initiative Committed to a Greener Future by the end of 2022. Large shipping bags used for bigger items or orders containing several products have already been shipped in 100% recycled paper bags since January this year.

The mailers have been embellished with both info text and distinctive design elements making a case for environmentally friendly shipping. The sturdy bags can be used several times before they being recycled in an eco-conscious way. The quest to find the perfect bags has taken several months, including a research phase and trial shipments. Once the European switch to plastic-free packaging will be complete by the end of 2022, we will tackle North American consignments next. It is our aim to go completely plastic free globally by the end of 2025.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. After working in England and France, Jozef Šalka found his way to our production site in Krupka (Czech Republic) in 2016. “I actually only wanted to work in the Czech Republic for a year, but then I met my wife here,” laughs Jozef.

His many years abroad have strengthened his desire to lead a diverse team in an international company. In six years, the native Slovakian has risen from production worker to site manager and is grateful for this fork in the road: “I have been given a great opportunity for further development at Spread Group. As site manager, I now work with my team to achieve the best output and high product quality for our group. Last year, we broke our own record with 3.2 million products shipped.” Jozef is still working towards his personal goals: After hours, he is studying Public Administration and Regional Development at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague.

Spread Group: How do you personally define sustainability?

Jozef Šalka: Less is more. I am firmly convinced that too much consumption harms us and makes us unhappy in the long run. In order to appreciate the value of goods, I recently rented an allotment garden near our apartment. Our family now plant vegetables there. It’s important to me that my son learns how time-consuming gardening is and how much better his own vegetables taste in the end. In my childhood, we always planted everything ourselves. It’s a shame, really, that this tradition has been lost …

Spread Group: What motivates you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Jozef Šalka: I want my children to live in an intact and healthy environment. For this, I would like to serve as a role model for them, without lecturing them. Everyone has to find their own way to live a little more sustainably. One person does without meat, the other avoids plastic bags. I myself have noticed that we do a lot of things simply out of habit, without reflecting on our behavior: Because of my wife, for example, I now eat much less meat and feel much healthier as a result.

Spread Group: What sustainability projects have you and your team already implemented?

Jozef Šalka: We are strongly committed to recycling, which is why we have established a code system that allows our service providers to more clearly distinguish all the ink cartridges from our printers and start reusing them. Like our Polish colleagues, we have also switched to paperless production: Instead of routing slips with three sheets of paper per order, we use sticker sheets with 30 stickers each. With one sheet of paper, we can process 10 orders. We also print exclusively with vegan ink in our water-saving printing systems from Kornit Digital. The switch to reusable paper shipping bags is brand new: we want to do away with plastic bags altogether by the end of this year!

Spread Group: What specific sustainability goals have you set for yourself?

Jozef Šalka: We have to move soon, as our factory is getting small for our 250 employees. When we build a new factory building, we will think more about sustainability right from the start: solar panels on the roof and a system for collecting rainwater are high on my wish list. We are also currently in contact with a company that advises us on environmental issues.

Spread Group: What do you recommend to all readers who would like to further explore sustainability?

Jozef Šalka: I don’t have any specific recommendations for other people, but I hope that I can inspire them. For example, our garden not only enriches our diet, but also has a positive effect on our well-being. In our fast-paced, digital world, it’s a nice feeling to create something with your hands and watch it slowly grow.

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Jozef!

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There are some 38,500 species left on our planet, and the orangutans of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have been topping the list of those in danger of extinction for years. They are also listed in the Red List of the World Conservation Union IUCN. Organizations such as Orang-Utans in Not e. V. are firmly committed to saving these unique animals from extinction. To support their efforts, they offer their own merchandising as a source of funding.

Every encounter with orangutans is an emotional one, says Julia Cissewski, founder of the association “Orang-Utans in Not e. V.” and shop owner of the eponymous Spreadshop. “Watching orangutans in the wild is something very special. The mother-child relationship is one of the strongest in the animal world. The offspring learns everything necessary for an independent life from the mother in a matter of only about eight years.” But she also mentions some less-pleasing experiences, such as encounters with traumatized orangutan orphans whose mothers have been killed. “This unspeakable suffering cannot be put into words. Without our help, these animals would have no chance of survival in the wild,” said Julia Cissewski.

The lives of adult orangutans are also marked by the daily struggle for survival. Their situation has long been critical and is becoming increasingly dramatic. Unfortunately, the reasons here can be traced back to our consumer behavior. On the one hand, rainforests are being steadily decimated and sourced for tropical timber. On the other hand, the demand for raw materials such as palm oil – which is found in every other supermarket product – keeps increasing. Both factors have fatal effects on the rainforest, and in turn decimate the orangutan population. Markus Menke has intensively researched the consequences of palm oil production as project manager of the Replace PalmOil app, a barcode scanner for grocery products containing palm oil with a feedback function to the manufacturer. “Palm oil is the cheapest and most widely used vegetable oil in the world. Replacing it completely with other oils won’t solve the fundamental problem of overconsumption, since other vegetable oils also require cultivable areas that are often larger than those needed for the production of palm oil.“

The fate of the orangutans can only take a turn for the better if human behavior changes. The rainforest area that has been destroyed by our excessive overconsumption could be renatured if we were to put our consumption on a more sustainable track. This is the only way to protect the precious habitat of orangutans. And Orang-Utans in Not e. V., founded in 2007 by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, offers numerous opportunities to support private individuals and companies. On the association’s website, you will find all the information to become a sponsor or member, donate, and purchase merchandising products.

“Our Spreadshop has become an important source of funding for reforestation, reintroduction and education projects. All proceeds from our sales go completely into these projects. Through the shop, we also increase the visibility of our association, and our customers help us carry the message into the world,” says Julia Cissewski. Having become aware of the Spreadshop brand by a recommendation of another association in 2019, they particularly appreciate the fact that their own shop is 100 percent free of charge. All organizational tasks, such as the production of the articles, shipping, payment handling and customer service are taken over by Spreadshop. This is how Orang-Utans in Not e. V. can fully concentrate on the protection of orangutans.

Will we still be able to realize a turnaround in the treatment of the orangutan habitat? There are some positive signs. The natural habitat of orangutan is the rainforest, and the latter is at the core of climate protection. People are becoming more aware of the dramatic consequences of deforestation, not only because of the great apes in need of protection, but also in terms of climate change. Many people take to the streets in support of climate protection, and future generations will grow up with more a sustainable consumer behavior. And it is the target group of children and young people that the association’s educational events are aimed at, i.e. to elucidate that large-scale deforestation of tropical rainforests for the sake of palm-oil cultivation endanger orangutans. For the future of their association, Julia Cissewski and Markus Menke have a common wish: “We strive for a world in which associations like ours are no longer necessary, as people will have learned to adapt their actions to the environment – both on a global and local scale. We all need to assume responsibility for the world that surrounds us.”

Related links:
• Spreadhop of “Orang-Utans in Not e. V.”:
• Instagram channel:
• Twitter channel:
• Facebook channel:
• Contact for event inquiries: or

Fundraiser to clean up the world’s oceans generates $2,600 to benefit The Ocean Cleanup

The world’s oceans are flooded with up to 12.7 million tons of plastic waste every year. According to official figures from WWF Germany, most plastic waste settles mainly in deeper waters. This is where about 80 million tons of plastic have currently accumulated. In order to stem this tide of plastic waste, Spreadshop – a free online shop system for selling fan merchandise – launched its a campaign to counter it. Spreadshop was inspired by the global fundraising project called “The Ocean Cleanup” by US influencers MrBeast and Mark Rober. Their “TeamSeas” campaign was initiated by the YouTubers to remove 30 million pounds of plastic waste by the end of 2021. For every dollar donated by supporters, one pound of trash was removed.

The fundraising campaign centered around reusable bottles, and Spreadshop set its own course in the joint effort against the plastic flood. Not only did the brand donate one dollar to “The Ocean Cleanup” for every insulated drinking bottle sold, but also contributed to a broad rethinking for sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles with its commitment. This fundraiser has a remarkable record, as Spreadshop was able to remove over a ton of plastic waste from the world’s oceans in just two weeks.

“We are thrilled by the huge willingness of our community to support our commitment. Our partner community share our a strong awareness of sustainability and are aware of the need to do something about the dramatic pollution of our oceans. Together, we were able to donate around 2,600 US dollars to “The Ocean Cleanup” in a very short time,” says Director Spreadshop Dennis Dörfl.

To strengthen its commitment, Spreadshop is building on the support from Spread Group, its umbrella brand. On behalf of the entire group of companies, Spread Group is now donating an additional 3,600 USD to “The Ocean Cleanup”, which has been freeing the oceans of plastic waste with an autonomously operating collection system since 2013.

Our customer service specialist Franziska Höntzsch didn’t let a rejection discourage her from getting started at the Spread Group in 2011 – back then as a “Christmas elf” in customer service. “I always wanted to work here, because I heard lots of good things about the international atmosphere. Of course, joining in the middle of the Christmas business is not for everyone. But I told myself: ‘yes, this is where I want to be and stay!’,” says Franziska. She has since been steadily developing her skillset, and today she is the Senior Customer Representative, responsible for queries logistics services of shipping of orders. One of the projects close to her heart are the donations we make with brand new goods from returns. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Franziska and her colleagues, over 50 parcels containing with an average of 50 products were sent to charitable causes around the world in 2021 alone.

Spread Group: What is sustainability to you?

Franziska Höntzsch: I want to do everything I can to protect our environment. I think we should be grateful for what nature provides us with and use these resources sparingly. It’s a very emotional and divisive topic, which could do with a bit more cool-headedness from all sides. Yes, we’re not perfect. But we should stay positive and encourage each other to live more sustainably. Of course, you don’t want to give up your car if you need it to commute to work. But you can still compensate for your CO₂ footprint in other ways, for example by eating less meat. Sustainability should not be a competition between people.

Spread Group: And how do you motivates yourself to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Franziska Höntzsch: My two children are the driving force. I want them to grow up in an intact environment. This is why I strive to model a sustainable lifestyle for them. It’s always worth investing in lasting products. And it doesn’t mean that these are incredibly expensive! For example, I use cloth diapers for my kids. Or make my own upcycling projects with cosmetic pads made from fabric scraps and baby rompers made from our T-shirt returns. These kinds of projects are just fun for me.

As a fashion fan, I naturally appreciate a large wardrobe. But I can’t turn a blind eye to the excesses the fast-fashion industry produces. My compromise is to buy about 90 percent of my clothes second hand. Through platforms like Vinted, you can find great deals, meaning you don’t pay more than 3 Euros for an unloved dress that’s as good as new.

Spread Group: That’s great! And are there any sustainability projects have you and your team have already implemented?

Franziska Höntzsch: Our biggest project is certainly putting donation packages together that consist of brand new goods from returns. These are shipped to associations or individuals in need several times week. Last year, we were able to support victims of the flood disaster in the west of Germany, among others. We also frequently receive requests for donations for a raffle, the proceeds of which are used to support social projects. Of course, we never give away products with highly personalized imprints or company logos due to legal reasons. These get processed into cleaning rags.

People can get in touch with us about donations – the earlier you contact us, the better! We will also be happy to select designs that fit the theme of the request. From January to November, you can simply send us a short e-mail to In December, we hardly manage to answer donation requests due to the Christmas business.

On occasion, it also happens that customers request unprinted items to test their size. We return these products to our production process after a thorough inspection. We also remove the filling material from the returned cups and pass it on to the shipping department. We don’t use printed packing slips at all in our donation process.

Spread Group: Do you have specific sustainability goals that you set for yourself?

Franziska Höntzsch: We would like to donate much more and are always looking for recipients who need to receive donation packages on a regular basis. One-time collaborations are also possible, of course. My best experience so far was a donation request from an elderly gentleman who reached out to us by email. He wanted to receive donations for a raffle at a school reunion, the proceeds of which went to a charity farm. We are also very happy to support such requests!

Spread Group: What do you recommend to all readers who would like to delve further into the topic of “sustainability”?

Franziska Höntzsch: Where should I start? I was very inspired by books and podcasts. These help me to stay motivated and get new ideas for a sustainable lifestyle. I already mentioned the app “Vinted”, where you can find used clothing at unbeatable prices. I also like to use the app “Too good to go” to save unsold food from restaurants and cafés and do something against food waste.

Spread Group: Thank you very much for the interview, Franziska!

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Plastic in its most beautiful form – now in our product range on the US platform at Each of our new tri-blend organic T-shirts contains yarn that stems from around six recycled plastic water bottles. Blended with modal fibers and organic cotton, this sustainable women’s T-shirt feels just as soft as it is resource saving with its recycled polyester.

Product info

Brand: Allmade

Material: 50% polyester from recycled plastic bottles / 25% organic cotton / 25% modal fiber -> Uses recycled plastic: equivalent of ~6 water bottles in each shirt

    Imported product, printed and processed in the USA

    1×1 rib knit collar; side seams & tear-away label.

    Sizes: S-2XL

    Colours: heather black, heather navy & heather grey

Here learn more.

“My view of our industry has completely changed over time,” says Kristina Garrison, Head of Purchasing North America at Spread Group. While fashion was still subject to the prevailing market rules when she studied “Fashion Industry Management”, Kristina has now largely freed herself from this concept. She is certain that the future of fashion will lie in a paradigm shift toward greater sustainability. Kristina Garrison is very much aware of the challenges this will pose to the entire industry. During her work as a buyer in various fashion companies over the past 16 years, she has experienced textile production becoming increasingly more sustainable. As Kristina is now responsible for trend scouting, product selection and product development at Spread Group, she is our expert on the topic of the “future of fashion”.

Spread Group: When looking at the global fashion industry, you may come to believe that there’s an unwritten industry motto that says “cheaper, faster, more.” Is it realistic to believe that this will change?

Kristina Garrison: It is very realistic indeed! The parameters have changed fundamentally. Consumers today are – quite rightly – much more critical and are asking more questions about production conditions. This increases the pressure on our industry to innovate. “Fair, thoughtful, and conscious” will be the motto of the future. At Spread Group, we specialized in fashion classics at an early stage. A good wardrobe is composed of high-quality basics, such as well-cut organic T-shirts and perfectly fitting sweaters that can be combined over and again. My goal for our shopping this year is therefore to offer even more organically produced alternatives in our of our product range. I want our customers to have the maximum variety of choices.

Spread Group: Hand on heart: sustainable fashion often still has the image of bad cuts and pale colors. Will buyers really accept this different kind of fashion?

Kristina Garrison: I often hear the objection of pale colors in sustainable fashion – and I could now name countless products from our range where the colors are just as brilliant as in conventionally produced clothing. On the contrary, there are now new T-shirts made from fibers from recycled water bottles that shine even more vibrantly while being better for the environment. This month we will add the first women’s T-shirt from this technology to our range. We also have some organic products at Spread Group that we’ve been offering for 15 years and which are still in high demand. There’s really no trace of colorless clothing.

Spread Group: The fast pace of the fashion industry is driven by short-term seasonal trends. Will the industry be able to break away from this approach?

Kristina Garrison: Yes and no. As a PoD group of companies, we have shown that you can be more sustainable without major seasonal changes and interim collections. We very consciously expand our range every six months, with around 20 to 30 new products from a current total of 283 articles. In contrast to the big fashion stores, our business model means that we don’t have any sell-outs. And there is still enough room to go with major trends, as the future of fashion would otherwise be too bland. I get inspired by trending colors like the Pantone colors of the year. Whether it’s a trend or a classic, every new product goes through various quality tests before it’s included in our range. We focus on trends that don’t go out of fashion.

Spread Group: That’s the point! What’s trendy today will be discarded tomorrow. In Germany, for example, every fifth item of clothing households is hardly ever worn1. How can fashion companies ensure that customers enjoy their clothes for longer?

Kristina Garrison: For a start, consumer-customized products like the ones we offer have a much stronger connection to the buyer than items designed by others. This is the so-called IKEA effect –items increase in value if they have been designed or created by customers. In addition to product customization, fashion companies also score points with quality and finishing. This is why we will also be offering embroidery on the American market from February onwards. This will open up new design options for our customers. Embroidery doesn’t only look elegant, it’s just as durable as the clothing itself.

Spread Group: Thanks for the interview, Kristina!

Technology meets textiles: Her passion for the environment, business, and design led Karin Backhaus to study textile design at Burg Giebichenstein, and later to join the Spread Group’s Global Operations Management Team. As a Product Test Coordinator, the Thuringian is now responsible for the process optimization of all product and print tests at the European sites, pushing the use of sustainable raw materials in textile finishing. After completing her Master’s degree in Conceptual Textile Design, she worked on various projects for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive industry for six years. Then she came into contact with the complexity of sustainable supply chains. Through her involvement in concepts for environmentally friendly seat covers, she acquired a deep process knowledge of green production, which she now brings to her department in an imaginative way.

Spread Group: How do you define sustainability?

Karin Backhaus: For me, sustainability consists in the moderate use of our resources. People consume more and more these days. But – as a matter of fact – we need much less than even the greenest marketing campaigns would have us believe. I started my own garden during the pandemic, and I’ve been experiencing a new approach to food. As a gardener, I have to exercise a lot of patience and care in order to harvest my vegetables in the end. This was an enriching experience, which made me realize once again that sustainability is not a marketing strategy but must be engraved in the DNA of a company in order to be successful in the long run.

This is why we must not ignore the social dimension of sustainability. Under what conditions are our products manufactured in other countries? And how are the workers paid? Not all brands disclose this information, but the certificates and seals usually give a good indication of how important social aspects are for the brand.

Spread Group: What motivates you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Karin Backhaus: My own CO₂ footprint. As a textile designer for an automotive supplier, I commuted between Berlin and Leipzig every day for two years. Since I took the train, I didn’t think my CO₂ emissions were particularly high. But that wasn’t quite right! Since I started working at the Spread Group, I’ve been able to halve my CO₂ footprint in one fell swoop by riding the bike to work every day. As a member of BUND, I’m also actively involved in nature conservation and environmental protection today.

Spread Group: What sustainability projects have you and your team already implemented?

Karin Backhaus: We switched completely to Kornit’s vegan inks some time ago. Their formula is free of any animal sources and hasn’t been tested on animals. It also has the “OEKO-TEX Eco Passport” certification, is much more water efficient in production, and is biodegradable. Since it is free of heavy metals and formaldehydes – among other things – it is also harmless to humans and nature.

We are also investing a new technological infrastructure of our quality management at all production sites. We’ve set ourselves the goal of improving material quality by way of intensified testing methods so that we can achieve a high product longevity. This is a basic requirement for us, so that our customers’ next favorite pieces will last as long as possible. That’s beneficial in terms of sustainability.

Spread Group: What specific sustainability goals have you set for yourself?

Karin Backhaus: We are working to focus our product range more strongly on organic products, so that there will be more than one organic alternative for each product category in the future. This year, for example, we added a baseball cap made from 100% organic cotton to our range – for the first time. When it comes to recycling fabrics, it makes a huge difference whether the fabric is blended or pure cotton. Blended fabrics cannot be recycled properly, but only “downcycled” into e.g. cleaning rags or insulation wool. And we also pay attention to sustainability in our textile finishing. Our polyester yarn, which we use for all embroidery applications of our brands, is made of recycled polyester.

Spread Group: What’s your recommendations for readers who feel like learning more about “sustainability”?

Karin Backhaus: I’m currently reading Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. It’s a book that describes our fears about the future of our planet. It depicts scarcity of foods, devastating wars, the world’s complete economic collapse, displacement of people, and other scenarios. It feels like a realistic forecast of what will happen to our planet one day. And then you realize that it’s our final call to immediate action! We need to assume responsibility now to provide a habitable planet for future generations and challenge the status quo; including capitalism, technology, and politics.

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