In 2016, we had the idea that running an environmentally conscious business meant that despite how much work we did in Scotland, the rest of the world could also benefit from sustainability within the skateboarding industry. We saw similarities between Palestine and Scotland within politics, culture and skateboarding—so we decided to share our skills and ideas in Palestine! After fundraising over £10,000 for SkatePal through our re:deckorate exhibitions, it was time to see Palestine for ourselves as well as the work that SkatePal does. We weren't sure what to expect... but we quickly fell in love with Palestine.
Workshops in Ramallah
We started our workshops in Ramallah where we worked alongside local skater and SkatePal manager, Aram. There were two strands to our workshops in Palestine:
The first was to teach Aram how to recycle worn decks and therefore
be able to sustain the scene out there as there's no skate shop or means of skateboard distribution in Palestine; and the occupation makes its difficult to get product into Palestine.
We're stoked that Aram picked up the skill immediately and plans to continue recycling boards in Palestine! Even more special to us, was how passionate and eager to learn he was.
Secondly we also ran workshops with other local skaters to spread the idea of sustainability within skateboarding.
It was quite surreal having our workshops on a rooftop in Ramallah and before we knew it, the workshops soon went into the night...
Workshops in Asira Al-Shamaliya
We also ran workshops with younger kids in Asira Al-Shamaliya. This time we brought along boards we recycled in Ramallah and painted the decks for fun.
We soon realised that although what we were doing was simple in most peoples eyes, that recycling is something we all take for granted; arranging recyclables and discarding them correctly isn't a luxury in most countries, due to oppression and lack of infrastructure to do so.
The fact that we could simplify this whilst making it fun and enable Palestinians to recycle whilst benefitting the environment -even in the smallest of ways, gave us pride in the fact that our efforts were greatly appreciated.
Skating the Dead Sea
In-between workshops we had time to skate and explore Palestine—our favourite day had to be skating an abandoned waterpark next to the dead sea.
Our thoughts on Palestine...
There's something about the place, the people, their culture and of course the thriving skate scene, that makes you fall in love with it. The strong Palestinian spirit is like no other, people are warm, welcoming and full of strength.
It's hard to explain, but the best way to feel the way we do, is to experience Palestine for yourself.
Keep your eyes peeled in 2020 for a documentary on our time there, filmed by Codewordzebra.