Sustainable travel...what the?
Let me tell you a story...about travelling. Travel is enjoyable, and it can also be more environmentally considerate. Each person can play their part in travelling more sustainably.
If you are really concerned about traveling sustainably but don't know where to start, then why not start with the Leave No Trace principles. These bases were created in 1994 with the aim of making people being aware of the impact that they might have in nature while wandering around the globe.
Here they are:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Proper plan leads to less impact. If people don’t prepare their trips responsibly and unexpected situations are presented, they will use high-impact solutions that will degrade the outdoors or put themselves at risk. If we are properly prepared, we will know which paths we should follow, where the camping areas are, and we will take all the necessary equipment that we might need.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: If the vegetation or ecosystems are trampled, the land will get damaged beyond repair, generating erosion and sterile areas. Remember to never create your own campsites. Stay in the assigned areas. There is no need to alter a place.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly: Garbage and waste are primarily a social impact that can strongly harm Nature. In addition, backcountry users generate body waste and wastewater that requires proper disposal to maintain the environment as clean as possible. It is important then, to pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter when you leave.
4. Leave What You Find: Preserve the area exactly as you found it. Don’t take rocks, plants or other natural objects with you. Don’t touch cultural or historic monuments, and don’t build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry, so seek alternatives or use low-impact fires. If they are allowed just make them small using sticks and branches from the floor. Never cut the vegetation. When you leave, burn all wood and coals to ash. Make sure to put out campfires completely.
6. Respect Wildlife: To minimize the impact on wildlife and ecosystems, it is important to observe them with distance and respect, avoiding to feed them and storing trash securely.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: We all have the right to enjoy Nature responsibly. By following hiking etiquette and maintaining quiet you will allow other visitors to go through the wilderness with minimal impact on other users.
So pallet people, here’s the rub:
We all have a role to play in responsible travel. Governments, businesses, and communities must promote it, but also as visitors, we can travel and Leave no Trace. Nature is amazing, and there are many things that human beings can learn from it. But as it is a right to enjoy it, there is also the obligation to treat it respectfully and teach others to do it.