Nature lovers have a challenge to face. On one hand, they seek to commune with the great outdoors, the flora, fauna, and fresh air. On the other, they understand that human activity often conflicts with pristine environments and ecosystems. How do we live on rustic terrains without altering them?
The good news is that campers can indulge their love for the earth without leaving too many marks. There are, in fact, ways to enjoy all the fun associated with camping and still respect the natural world. The following are modest measures that will help to achieve that optimal balance.
1. Minimize plastic with re-usable bottles
Plastic water bottles are ubiquitous these days, symbolizing the healthiest option in beverages. However, manufacturing just one of these containers not only uses many toxic materials, which must be disposed of, but also utilizes three times as much H2O as the bottle holds. Carrying liquids in glass bottles or rubber bladders goes far to advance sustainability and safeguard the earth.
2. Use natural products for protection and hygiene
It is common for campers to want to stay clean and protect themselves against sunburn and bug bites. Many sunscreens, it turns out, contain substances like permethrin that kill off aquatic life in lakes, rivers, and streams. Similarly, many brands of shampoo, toothpaste, and soap are not easily biodegradable, putting additional pressure on the ecosystems in which they wash out. Campers do well to select those brands that are explicitly biodegradable. Keep distance from water bodies when cleaning.
3. Leave the paper plates and plastic forks at home
It is more work to wash cups, dishes, and flatware, yes, but you do the earth a favor by minimizing the use of disposable dishes and utensils. You save money, too.
4. Leave no scrap behind
Preparing to depart with everything you bring is essential for leaving the campsite as healthy and attractive as you find it. Have enough bags as needed for garbage, recycling, and, yes, compost. If you must bury your excrement, make sure to do so deeply, IE. six to eight inches down, and at least 200 feet from the water. Although there may be trash receptacles nearby, they are not always emptied on a regular basis. Better to take it out with you.
5. Camp only where authorized
Public lands, and private lands too, consist of a wide variety of biomes and ecosystems. Each has its own carrying capacity, IE. how much human activity it can endure before becoming biologically degraded. This is why only certain areas are designated for camping. Often these selected sections are confirmed by environmental and forestry experts as possessing high carrying capacities. The converse is that areas beyond the camping boundaries are less able to absorb extended human activity. In addition, camping areas are usually deemed safer for people. In any event, it benefits campers and the land to respect the rules.