Exist Ethically


Everyone will have a different answer, but we hope this limited edition series has sparked new thought and discussion around this topic. Click here to read the community responses we've gathered, and you can always submit your own any time through Instagram or email!

We can't tell you exactly how you should Exist Ethically, but we have created a simple framework that can help you to start discovering what it means to you.

  • How do you treat yourself?

  • How do you treat others?

  • How do you treat your environment?

This limited edition t-shirt is meant to serve as a personal reminder of your own mission. We're printing these tees on 100% recycled content and zero waste production. Get one while you can!


Exist Ethically is a joint project between Leslie Kim (artist) and Austin Smith (climbing guide). Together, they want to spark new thought and discussion about what it means to Exist Ethically. Outdoor ethics are important to us as climbers, and we want to expand upon those principles with a more comprehensive approach. We also want to hear what it means to YOU to Exist Ethically. You can join in on the conversation on Instagram, our blog, or via email.

Dynamite Starfish was created by artist, rock climber, and graphic designer Leslie Kim (pictured). Leslie hand-prints her artwork on ethically made, eco-conscious tees. 5% of her profits give back to communities in need or environmental causes.

Thank you so much for being here, and hope this project is as meaningful to you as it is to us.  —Leslie Kim & Austin Smith


We are using tees made by Recover Brand for our limited run of Exist Ethically apparel. This image (from the Recover Brand website) explains how plastic bottles are transformed into your new favorite tee, long-sleeve, or tank.

The Classic options are made from 50% recycled plastic and 50% upcycled cotton. This material will resemble the poly-cotton tees you know and love. The Sport option is made from 100% recycled plastic, and is lightweight and breathable. Pretty cool, right?



Click on the "Color" tab to see available fabrics and color options. Classic colors are 50% Recycled Plastic and 50% Upcycled Cotton. Sport colors are 100% Recycled Plastic.

Why buy from Dynamite Starfish?

Dynamite Starfish is proudly 100% woman owned and operated. Founded by Leslie Kim in 2015, her mission is to use her art to raise awareness about our relationship with the outdoors. Dynamite Starfish gives back to communities in need and collaborates with local and national nonprofits to aid in outdoor ethics education. She hopes her tees inspire others to continue to live and love at their very best.


We offer free shipping on orders over $65 shipped within the USA. We use USPS as our primary mode of shipping, and packages are normally delivered in about 3 days. We are currently experiencing delays with USPS, so we have activated an alternate shipping option with UPS to help reduce the load on our national postal service.

Returns & Exchanges

We know life is messy, so we gladly accept returns and exchanges. If your item is damaged, or doesn't fit, we are happy to send you a pre-paid label to send it back. We'll send you a new item if we can or refund you the original cost.


Our Exist Ethically collection will be available to order until September 19, 2020. At the end of the ordering period, we will collect all your orders and print them in one print run. We will not stock inventory, and these tees will not be available after this period is over.


For one month, we collected community responses on what "Exist Ethically" means to them. Read the responses below!

Pro climber, guide and nutritionist Katie Lambert writes her views on what it means to her to Exist Ethically. Click on the image to read her post!

Jaymie Shearer is a climber, writer, and master Leave No Trace instructor. We asked her for her thoughts on what "Exist Ethically" means to her. Click to read!

Instagram responses:

"To me, existing ethically has been a huge part of my life, but I see it in a different way. Living ethically in my life has meant aligning my values, my thoughts and my actions in order to live a life I’m proud of. I don’t want empty words or thoughtless actions to be a part of my life. It’s constant work but I believe it’s worth it." 


"Progress not perfection" has been my go to motto in the last couple of years, for climbing, training, and ethics. Whether it's working on problematic thinking (negative thoughts about myself or others, for instance) or reducing my carbon footprint (vegan for nearly a decade, but recognizing that there are areas I need to improve on within that movement as well), striving to improve in pieces instead of becoming disappointed in my lack of perfection makes 'existing ethically' into an attainable process."


"Recognizing that ethics is like history. Often rewritten by those in charge. Our understanding of what is right in the moment is deeply impacted by our life experience and our bias. That why compassion is my anchor. For me existing ethically means being gentle with others and the world. Never believing in an absolute or seeing the world as black and white. Always learning and striving to be truly open to foreign ideas. That’s the ideal I strive for."


"For us, existing ethically is constantly striving to grow and improve and do better for ourselves, for others, and for the planet. It starts with increasing our awareness and making changes. In every decision we make, we want to choose the path that has a positive impact today, and towards the future. 🌎"


"Defining if the action I’m about to take is a want or a need and asking if it’s going to harm anyone outside myself. It’s easy to be compulsive whether that’s with words or how I spend my money. It takes so much practice."


"To live with awareness and gratitude. To help others in need & keep Earth clean."


"To not cause any kind of harm to other people as well as the surroundings we may come across in life because everything in this world has its own unique place in it and life is already difficult as it is so why would anyone wanna make it harder for anyone else or even for the environment that we live in so just be nice and selfless 🖤💗💕"


"Exist Ethically. A literal definition would be to survive doing no harm. But climbing is active; every move, each hand or foot is placed with intent and purpose. We belay and we solve routes and boulders together. We cheer when someone else tops out because their triumph is our triumph. We do not just survive, we seek to thrive. In that context then, exist ethically is an active, communal endeavor. Just as I am responsible when I belay, I am responsible to ensure everyone thrives. These responsibilities are many but have to start with recognizing the privilege I have just to be able to climb. They should also include ensuring that BIPOC climbers are included/welcomed and that indigenous rights and lands are recognized. Because again, we all triumph when one of us tops out."


"To exist ethically to me, is to care for the environment and every being who lives on it. Too many people seem to get caught up in materialistic life thats not nice to the outdoor world. But if we want to coexist ethically correct with all of our earth beings, we need to care for our planet, all of it's critters and ourselves before our planet gets in any worse condition. 💚🌍"


"To me, it’s co-existing with nature. We always learn (or at least, we should) to live peacefully with one another and take care of our neighbors. But that same ideal isn’t always extended to the environment. Because of that, we are watching resources become depleted, pollution continue to rise, and climate change become an ever present threat to life as we know it. If we exist ethically, we are advocating for those resources and the environment. And not just with our words; with our actions.

I exist ethically by carpooling as often as I can, eliminating as much single-use plastic as possible, volunteering at local parks, buying from eco-friendly companies, and teaching my students to care for nature. 💚"


"I think for me, it’s leaving things better with my presence than it was before - so if I’m going to go hike or climb, picking up existing trash and leaving no other trace I was there!"


"To me it means being a caretaker. Of people, of animals, of land, of life. It means protecting life in any form, and in order to protect meaningfully you need to care."


"To me, existing ethically means doing my best to have a positive impact on the world. I'm a sustainability nerd, so the things in my wheelhouse are using reusable and long lasting products whenever possible, educating my friends and family on intersectional sustainability, and just generally investing my time and money in things that treat the planet and people properly."


"Refuse, reuse, and recycle. It means constantly improving with baby steps because giant leaps are not realistic."


"Live simply so others can simply live.

This is a bit cheesy but to me it emphasizes the importance of being responsible with resources, especially with respect toward future generations. Ethical existence would, in my mind, focus on minimizing my negative impacts on other people, animals, plants, and the planet while simultaneously seeking out ways to positively impact those same entities."


"To me, exist ethically has a lot to do with Leave No Trace. And not just on the trails, but every aspect of your lifestyle — striving to reduce single-use plastic, waste in general, and cutting down on meat consumption. It’s doing what you can to minimize your impact on both the trails, crags, and on the Earth as a whole."


"Love this convo. Climbing is definitely a privileged sport so participating and existing ethically is important. To me this means being thoughtful and intentional of your impact on not only the environment (land stewardship and LNT), but also learning the history of land ownership of indigenous communities where you climb and trying to be actively inclusive of people facing barriers to climbing (and breaking down those barriers). Investing in local climbers coalitions and orgs like the Access Fund are good steps if you have the resources too. Lots of ways to be ethical at the crag! 🌈"


"For me, it means being conscious of my footprint in nature and as a consumer. It also means teaching about it!"


"For me it means not putting yourself in a situation (to the best of your ability) in which you would be harming other people, animals, or the earth. This can mean with you things you say, the stuff you buy, and the way you act."


"Living ethically to me, means that my existence in this world is a “net positive”. By this I mean that I try to leave things a little better from my presence, and in every interaction: with humans, with humans, and with institutions. In climbing, I try to be a good visitor to the lands that I climb on, to LNT, but also remind others and to pick up trash when I see it. I also try to create inclusive spaces for everyone, especially those who feel like climbing and the outdoor industry hasn’t welcomed them. It also means that I try to do what I can to dismantle racist and exclusionary institutions, through political activism."



Comment on any of our Exist Ethically Instagram posts, or send us a DM!


Read more about our mission and leave us a comment on the blog


Shoot us an email any time at info@dynamitestarfish.com