HOW TO HIKE SUSTAINABLY
The miracle of being alive is something that should never be taken for granted. However, with that being said, life can sometimes be incredibly difficult. Work pressures, relationship pressures, pandemics, financial obligations, illness, injury, emotional struggles… the list could go on and on and on top of all of this, our Earth is dying; levels of pollution and degradation are at an all-time high.
These stressors in our lives make it even more desirable to head into the outdoors, clear our head and boost our happiness! But this increase in the amount of people in the outdoors is having a significant effect on our environment. The amount of pollution we are seeing in the outdoors is heart-breaking and requires immediate action.
Forever Fresh’s sustainability mantra builds on the well-known saying, “take only memories, leave only footprints”. We always felt as though this phrase was missing a third part and seeing the state of the environment, it’s clear that sustainable action needs to be taken. We added “give towards tomorrow”, a call to action, something that we hope will motivate people to try and better each environment they explore.
The benefits of the outdoors should be open to all who wish to explore, but we need more people who explore sustainably. The amount of damage that is being caused is too significant to ignore.
Awareness (alongside action) is an important part of creating change. We thought we would put some ideas and initiatives here for those who are looking to give towards tomorrow (and I’m sure as outdoor-ers you are one of them!).
- FILL-A-BAG CHALLENGE
The fill-a-bag challenge, initially started by a group called the Trail Blazers, encourages people to fill a bag with rubbish as they hike in nature. Along paths, trails and tracks, each piece of litter you come across goes into a bag and gets thrown in a bin (where it belongs!).
Anyone is welcome to join – all you need is a bag, a caring spirit and a sense of adventure! Next time you head out, why not take a bag with you and make a change?
Image provided by Warren Barker
- JOIN A CLEAN-UP GROUP
Thankfully there are tons of organisations that are wanting to clean up our environments. A quick google search will tell you where your nearest clean-up crew is! Alternatively, start your own! There are even guides on how to manage this: https://www.arocha.org.za/news/international-coastal-clean-up-2018/
- RESEPCT AND TREAD LIGHTLY
When picking a hike to do, it’s important to understand the environment you will be walking in. Find out whether it’s safe, appropriate and acceptable to explore these protected environments.
Here are some things to think about when exploring:
- Is it possible to avoid making a fire?
- Do the products you use in the outdoors harm the environment? (non-biodegradable soaps, shampoos, dishwashing liquid etc.)
- Do you carry a bin bag with you wherever you go to avoid littering?
- Do you take good care of your gear to avoid over-consuming?
Image provided by Warren Barker
- USE SUSTAINABLE GEAR AND PRODUCTS WHEN POSSIBLE
Sometimes this can be a challenge for South Africans; it either needs to be imported or its expensive and unaffordable for some.
Why not try swopping gear, buying from second-hand hiking/outdoor groups and repairing gear?
A lot of people think that these small actions won’t make a difference but the truth is that if everyone performed a few small tasks on a daily basis, we, as a community, could make a massive difference. Don’t ever think you or your effort goes unnoticed and doesn’t contribute to a bigger picture, because it does and the world is a better place because of you. Sustainability and change is all about team work!
Leave a comment below if you have any more suggestions or tips and share what you are doing to inspire others!