Sustainability and hiking should go hand in hand
You will hear me talking about sustainability, responsible tourism, plastic free living, eco friendly brands a lot.
Why? Because it get’s more and more important, and I feel this should be normal if we really love being outdoors and in nature!
We only have this one world to live on, humans are destroying a lot and so if we want to enjoy the beauty of this planet in the future we need to make this a normal topic.
We should live as eco conscious as possible (yes this is different from human to human, because of affordability, accessibility, etc. but everybody can mostly make some tiny changes somehow) or make eco friendly choices in our daily actions. If we can’t do anything else than voting, but not really changing laws, we definitely can vote with our money. The industry will produce what we want. So if more and more people are asking for sustainable products/brands, the more companies will follow this path.
So what should we be aware of?
I have seen many touristic places (from national parks, beaches, monuments…) where people littered.
Plastic water bottles, cans and snack wrapper have been the most common things we found on trails. Around parking spots also a lot of disposable coffee cups and straws.
Or too many places where bins are without lids. Where the wind or birds or critters pick the litter out of the bins… Or the bins are too small for all the trash that visitors create, and they are overfilled. The result from full bins is not that people take their trash with them, they leave it on or around the bin.
That is one reason why I don’t bring any plastic wrapped food with me, and I always carry an extra reusable bag with me when out on a trail, so I can pick up whatever I see. I don’t do this for the people who leave it behind, I do this for nature and wild animals that can’t help themselves and for myself…
Carry your trash with you and dispose of them responsibly (recycling). Leave nothing behind but footsteps….
Clothing and equipment
The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest industries in the world!
A lot of toxins leach into our water and get released into the air when clothings are getting produced.
Workers in the fast fashion industry are not treated or payed fair.
Leather and wool from conventional made fabrics does come from mass animal factories and are not sustainable at all.
Conventional cotton needs a lot of water and pesticides.
And not only our environment is getting stressed, destroyed and polluted but our body is getting exposed to toxic dye and other unhealthy stuff (PVC).
So we must/should/could take a closer look on how brands are involved or taking sustainable steps into a greener future.
There will also be used a lot of other resources to produce equipment. From minerals to steel, aluminium, to wood and plastic…. Mostly the “harvesting” of those resources are not environmental friendly, some resources are non renewable, so we should think about buying better and durable products instead of cheaper stuff that breaks easily and need to be replaced more often.
If you have to make a choice between sustainable wood and conventional wood, choose the sustainable one. If you can choose between a product made out of recycled plastic or virgin plastic choose the recycled one. If you can choose between a jacket made out of natural materials or synthetics, choose the natural one. Etc….
What are some of the changes some Brands make?
Trying to produce more and more eco friendly and fair.
They start to avoid toxic materials.
Some are already producing with renewable energy.
Starting to use recycled materials.
Choosing to use organic cotton.
Only “harvest” sustainable wool.
They support eco and recreational projects.
Check them carefully and choose after your own priorities (plastic free, vegan, etc…)
Another problem is Plastic: A global problem and threat to our planet and our health
Conventional plastic is made from petroleum. It is an nonrenewable resource. So irritating that we mostly use this nonrenewable resource to make single use/disposable products….
Oil is getting dragged out of our earth. Fracking is causing pollution when oil spills are happening, it is polluting our air when they burn the gas, etc….
Since plastic is not going away (it will stay in our environment forever, even if it will get burned (it will get released into the air and stay as toxic ash) it would be way better to recycle it into long lasting products.
Plastic microfiber, an invisible threat.
Micro plastic is a big threat for our oceans/water and us. They actually found micro plastics in our food already: in sea salt, beer, water, fish, mussels, etc.
But how does plastic get into our food chain?
When it comes to micro plastic we talk either about primary or secondary micro plastic.
Primary: any particle that is already less than 5.0 mm or less in size when entering the environment. It comes mostly from abrasion of tires, microfibers from washing synthetic clothing, micro beads from cosmetics, and plastic pellets (nurdles, the pellets used to make plastic products).
Secondary: micro plastic that is created from the degradation of larger plastic products (plastic bottles, bags, cutlery, cups, fishing nets, etc.) through natural weather processes after they enter the environment (sun, wind, temperatures, salt water, waves, etc.) This can take from a few months up to few hundred years, depending on the sturdiness of plastics.
Plastic will never go away! If we burn it there will be toxic ashes, if it ends up on landfill it will stay there forever, if it ends up in nature it will break down to micro plastics, so tiny that we can’t pick it up anymore.
Whats plastic does with the human body? We don’t know yet. But we know the toxins in plastic products are also hormone disrupter and can cause obesity, infertility, men breasts, etc.
What can you do?
- You can buy less plastic.
- Refuse single use/disposable plastic products.
- Use reusable mesh produce bags if you shop fresh produce.
- Drink from tap and don’t buy plastic bottled water. If you live in a country with no save drinking water from tap you can get a filter for your tap, you can order reusable deposit gallon container, you can get a filter bottle if you only travel through a country without drinking tap water.
- Buy clothing made from natural materials (organic cotton, organic wool, hemp, bamboo, linen, etc…
- Buy products made out of recycled plastic.
- Use a Guppy Friend Washing Bag for the synthetics you already have.
- Invest in reusables.
- Carry reusables with you when you travel for food and drinks on the road.
- Don’t litter and if you see litter, pick it up so we can stop it from getting blown into a river (every river ends up in the ocean).
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