TORONTO (October 25, 2018) – Canadian Explorer Mario Rigby, who earlier this year completed his historic expedition Crossing Africa, today responded to Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO’s open letter about “recognizing the role we’ve played in underrepresenting people of colour in the outdoors”, particularly in advertising.
“I started to hear a lot about the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry a few years ago when I began planning my expedition to walk across Africa (Crossing Africa). A simple search on Google of “modern day explorers” showed image-after-image of mostly white men. I certainly don’t mean to take away from their accomplishments – they did fantastic things and I admired and learned so much from them – however, I quickly realized that I would stick out like a sore thumb, seeing as there were less than a handful of black professional Explorers who appeared in search. There was barely any coverage of their work. This needed to change.
When I read Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO’s open letter about diversity and inclusiveness it made me feel like the industry is starting to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the outdoor industry. It was refreshing to hear a big company revered by so many Canadians acknowledge their past and commit publicly to change. It takes courage, and it takes leadership. I’m excited to see MEC embrace Canada’s diverse community.”
Rigby recently returned to his current hometown Toronto following a hike with fans in Bruce Peninsula National Park.
“I organized this hike to promote healthy, enjoyable outdoor activities across demographic groups,” said Rigby. “I wanted to help change the narrative about the underrepresentation of people of colour in the outdoors. Huge thanks to Arc’teryx Toronto, Bruce Peninsula National Park, and Life Outside Studio for the support.”
About Mario Rigby
In late November 2015, Mario Rigby set out to fulfill his dream of walking 12,000 kilometers from Cape Town to Cairo, a grueling two-year journey that would be the ultimate test of his physical and mental endurance. Mario chose Africa, a place he’d never been, partly because as a black person he wanted to inspire other black people to pick up, be brave, and explore the world. Mario also wanted to break stereotypes depicting Africa as dangerous, violent, and beset by poverty. Yes, he saw those problems, but his experience on the ground, mixing and conversing with everyday Africans, did not accurately reflect what he read and saw in the news. Rather, it was the incredible warmth and compassion from so many people he met along the way that left the biggest impression on him.
Mario was born in Turks and Caicos Islands and spent his childhood in a small village near Stuttgart, Germany, before moving to Toronto, Canada at age 16. Prior to embarking on Crossing Africa, Mario was one of Toronto’s top fitness experts. He is also a former professional track and field athlete representing Turks and Caicos Islands.
Earlier this year, Mario was recognized as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) Class of 2018 in support of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (UN IDPAD). This year’s class was recently feted during Recognition Week in honour of the 2018 honourees worldwide, following the opening of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
Mario is currently preparing for his next expedition Project EVA, working on his book, and conducting keynote talks.
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For more information, please contact:
Jim Quan, firstname.lastname@example.org
I started to hear a lot about the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry a few years ago when I began planning my expedition to walk across Africa. A simple search on Google of modern day explorers showed image after image of only white men. I don’t mean to take away from their credit as they did fantastic things and I looked up to and learned a lot from them, however, I quickly realized that I will stick out like a sore thumb, seeing as there were less than a handful of black professional Explorers—and there was barely any coverage of their work. This needed to change!
So with my global expeditions, and the Bruce Trail Camping trip last weekend, which included a diverse group of people, I hope to help change this narrative.
The hikes we took to the Grotto were easy to medium level for the average person, however, since this was my first time leading a large group in the outdoors, I wanted to keep it casual and fun for everyone. The next trip will have options and modifications for different level hikes and rock/boulder climbing.
Overall I think it was a very successful camping experience, though we were rained on, and withstood strong winds on the first day. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, to relish in the quiet outdoors, away from the bustle of the city life. A simple hike in the woods is therapeutic and can really improve your overall health and well-being. One of the guys in our group—who was a first time camper—said “this trip was one of the most therapeutic weekends (he) experienced this year”.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Riham Hagona who helped organize the trip and coordinated the group logistics via email and daily phone calls. Thanks to Tim Lytle from Arc’Teryx Toronto and Sean Spinkle from Bruce Peninsula Park who believed in my vision and used their positions to aid in the trip’s success! Thanks to Ryan Richardson and Hailey Playfair from www.lifeoutsidestudio.com for their impressive photography and videography skills. And finally, thanks to everyone that came out to have a great time and enjoy the camping trip! Looking forward to doing another one of these trips to highlight the diversity, education, and enjoyment that go hand in hand with being in the outdoors!
ATTN residents of the GTA and beyond:
Are you looking to break the stereotypes of what being an outdoorsy type is? Are you tired of doing the same thing every weekend without fulfilment? Are you ready for a world-class outdoor experience right here in your own backyard? Pay attention, because the following message is just for you!
From October 19 to 21, Mario Rigby, the Canadian-Turks and Caicos Islander explorer who walked and kayaked across Africa, is leading a team of 7 on a camping and hiking trip along the Bruce Trail in Southwestern Ontario.
Rigby's Crossing Africa expedition proved that being an explorer no longer means that you are a young European man crossing the Atlantic Ocean in search of spices and riches.
For this trip, Rigby teamed up with Arc’teryx to create an outdoor experience that will challenge your body and mind, and provide you with an alternative weekend activity.
The purpose of the trip is to promote healthy, enjoyable, outdoor activities across demographic groups. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us—no matter your state of fitness!
We will set camp at Cyprus Lake for 3 days and 2 nights, with plenty of hiking and exploring in between (see map below for specific trails).
If you are interested in coming along, send a DM on Instagram to @mariorigby or @lovebonezthedj by October 15. Arc’teryx will be sending some representatives to join us at the start or end of the trip.
You will need to bring your own hiking gear and snacks (please see below).
What an honour it was just to witness the last week in New York City with the MIPAD (Most influential People of African Descent under 40) crew. Great connections were made. What MIPAD stands for is black excellence and it is paving the way for current generations and future generations to make positive impact changes in the world today.
My emotions ran wild remembering all that I've gone through when I was welcomedge to be greeted by the president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada after watching a highlight of Crossing Africa as well as future projects.
What is MIPAD?
In support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nation's General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024, the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, it's people on the continent and across it's Diaspora.
The Video about my next expedition that was shown!
It's that time of our preparations to choose the vehicle of choice for #ProjectEVA. Plug'n Drive is the perfect place to test out the electric vehicles.
Plug’n Drive is a non-profit organization committed to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in order to maximize their environmental and economic benefits. Since 2011, Plug’n Drive has established itself as a leader in the electric vehicle industry, a trusted and unbiased source of information on electric cars, charging stations and the electricity sector. Check them out at www.plugndrive.ca
Hi everyone! I’m happy to share some exciting news about my next expedition, Project EVA (“EVA” is short for Electric Vehicle Africa). In early 2019, I’ll embark on a year-long journey to be the first person to drive a full electric vehicle (EV) around the African continent, proving it can be done!
Project EVA is so much more than an adventure of a lifetime. Swapping hiking boots for an EV, the expedition will build awareness about sustainable transportation and renewable generation in response to Africa’s rapid urban population growth, energy, and transportation needs.
During Crossing Africa, I witnessed first-hand the growing need for transportation and access to energy. My next expedition will shine a spotlight on the value of alternative technologies, and how they can help fulfill our transportation and energy needs. Yes, they exist and work!
In the coming weeks, my team and I will have more exciting news to share about #ProjectEVA. I’ll post updates here on my website and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
THANK YOU all for following along and supporting me on my Crossing Africa journey. I can’t wait to embark on this next one with you. Together, we’ll inspire young Africans and the world to think big and long-term about the limitless possibilities of sustainable innovation.
For more visit mariorigby.com/projecteva
I spent a wonderful few days away to Muskoka, Woodfield to experience My Life Is Art retreat whereEmmanuel Jal lead a group of inspired listeners of his well thought out wisdom on leadership and self development. We enjoyed luxury tents in the forest with the help and support of the Woodfield team who accommodated us. We woke up early every morning to go on muted nature walks or runs followed with YAYA dancing which is a great way for you to feel good and relaxed for the rest of the day.
You can find more details about Emmanuel on his website at www.mylifeisart.org
This is a very touching story about heros and potential heros in Sudan...
It started at the Capital Radio 91.6FM show in Khartoum, I had an interview with Munir who hosts a show there on Fitness and Health, right up my alley for those who don't know my background I started in competitive Track and Field and then to fitness. Immidiately we clicked and Munir asked if I'd like to do a Talk with his youth MMA fighters that he coaches, I was nervous and hesitant at first but thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about Sudannesse youth culture.
Let me give a quick background on Munir. He's not your typical human being. Born Sudannesse and raised American while married at an incredibly young age only to come back to Sudan and then be raised on a farm with his family, this young man has ambitions to help the youth of Africa realize their potentional and become the great leaders that Africa so much deserves. Munir along with his friends and family decided to start MMA classes in Khartoum. At first they would train on muddy grounds where dust storms and rain would ruin their sessions. Slowly over time progress was made to build a training center with their own pennies and labour. Now the first and only MMA center in all of Sudan called Muqatel Training Center is here because of Munir's vision. I was astounded at how well put together facility was, it's a must see if you visit Khartoum.
Munir picked me up on his motorcycle to get to his training centre the next day. The facility gleamed with hope and aspirations. I was honored and grateful to just witness this. Before I even started my talk kids asked a million questions that adults usually never ask. They typically want to know the essence of where true courage comes from, how can they achieve and overcome fear. I always tell them, it comes from passion, knowledge and application, sometimes not in that order but always together.
The youths and the coaches at Muqatel Training Center were warmfelt, It was an emotional experience for me. I like to see Africa rise, there is so much potential in this massive continent that is due to reach 4 billion people in as little as 50 years. There needs to be sustainable city projects and education plans in order to feed the mouths of these new people who will eventually become participants on the growth of humanity.
I believe in this project 100 percent and wish I could support with what ever I have. My witness and testimony is my strongest tool, if you can help support the coaches and young athletes at Muqatel Training Center please do so. The money will go to their continued maintainaence, travelling for MMA competitions as to help put Sudan on the map of athletics and mixed martial arts.
Here is how you can contact/support:
Contact: Munir Mohammad (Coach and founder)
Phone: +249 91 673 0589 (Sudan)
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MuqatelCenter/
Here's a tribute to Charlotte Straus she's from Berlin, Germany who currently works to travel every few months. Charlotte joined me by foot from Tanzania all the way to Ethiopia. One of the bravest human beings I've ever met and am so lucky to have had her on my side across 2 countries as my campion. We met in Malawi and reunited in Zanzibar where the crazy idea that Charlotte and Charlie (another friend I met) would join me across Tanzania.
Do you know anyone else that would meet a stranger and say let's walk together across Tanzania and Kenya?. The amount of adventures we went through are just unspeakable and it gave me a huge relief from walking alone for a few months. Thank you Charlotte for being there with me and for me. It was truly an honour.
CHISWEA (children of the street welfare association) is a small center located in the streets of Arusha that provides street kids housing and food. Their goal is to give them back a perspective in life by reintegrating them into social life and the educational system so they can lead an autonomous and self-determined life.
Unfortunately, the only sponsor they had stopped its support in 2012, so since then CHISWEA has been struggling a lot. Besides a lack of environmental facilities (water, ..), the consequences of this are found in shortage of food and support of counsellors.
Currently the center is run by only one street-worker on a volunteer base, as the rest of the staff (cooks, teachers, socialworkers,..) had left as their wages could not be payed anymore.
Due to that the 34 adolescents do not receive the care they need nor deserve.
For more information about the center or supporting it check out mario rigbys homepage (http://www.mariorigby.com/chiswea), the homepage made by 2 social-work students from Austria (- though there s unfrtunately only the German version of the website online right now - ) or don't hesitate to send me a personal message for any questions!
Please donate, even the smallest contribution can help sustain this orphanage.
I visited Alverna's Craft Market, it is located on Dolphin Drive. Much of the art and souvenirs at the market are handmade and unique, yet are sourced from the neighbouring nation of Haiti and are not created in the country. This isn’t necessary a bad thing, as such souvenirs are definitely an improvement over the re-branded and mass-produced Asian trinkets common to many Caribbean destinations.
TCI Heritage Tours and Horseback Riding invited me to check out and play with their horses. Heritage Tours and Horseback Riding is a company dedicated to preserving and sharing aspects of Turks & Caicos Islands history and culture. Here is their website www.http://tciheritagetours.com/
What an amazing speaking engagement I had yesterday afternoon at the @ArcteryxToronto store on Queen St West, Toronto. Tim the Marketing Manager did an incredible job of setting everything up (thanks Tim!). Refreshments were provided by David's Tea and a raffle draw saw two winners receive cool Arc'Teryx gear.
Thank you @Arcteryx for your support and helping me share my message of sustainability, humanity, and exploration.
Also thank you to photographer Maylynn from @kidscanadaorg for the great pictures.
Thanks so much for having supported me throughout this 2 year journey. It is just the beginning. Check out my Talk for TEDx ALUbayyid. I'll doing many speaking tours around Canada and around the world.
We live in a world today that desperately needs collaboration from all parts of the globe no matter what tribe, race, gender or religion you're from. To see Africa grow we see humanity grow, that goes for every other continent and nations. Now is the time to put aside our differences and focus on solutions for a more sustainable future, cleaner environment and more tolerant behaviours that we can all thrive from, not just a select (lucky) few but every one of us have much to benefit from this as well as contribute.
It starts with you making the first brave step.
What is it to be a man today? - Power is not Abuse or Domination - Presence is not Absence - Strength is not Hardness - Clarity is not Judgment
- Assertiveness is not Aggression
- Leadership is not Control, Law & Order
- Meditation is not Reclusiveness
We need to change the narrative, we speak a lot about women's rights and roles in society but in order to live in harmony we need to address the issues with men. We are constantly told to be absent, hard, controlling even though that's not what we want. Let me cry if I want to and when I need to, allow me to be vulnerable when It is necessary.
What are your thoughts about a man in the this world today?
#modernman #man #adventure #explorer
A modern explorer recently finished a voyage of walking across Africa entirely by foot and kayak.