Where recreation meets conservation

Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by oreocereus, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker


    Interesting (US centric) article, about how participants of outdoors recreation aren’t more (or less) likely to be concerned with environmental conservation, at least where it doesn’t directly effect the users chosen hobby.

    I suppose that’s evident in hiking communities where LNT is a very popular principle, yet short haul flights are still the norm.
    snow likes this.
  2. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I'm afraid we are all walking contradictions.
    dovidola, JKM, Taz38 and 4 others like this.
  3. L2viNkO8SP4

    L2viNkO8SP4 Backpacker

    Indeed. We claim to LNT while busy BMS (buying more stuff).
    snow, edh, cathyjc and 1 other person like this.
  4. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    You’re right (this is a hiking forum after all :D )

    But does that sort of pessimism preclude the possibility of something better?
  5. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    Indeed, among the "wild-camping" community, the LNT ethos is very important to the point of people needing to let others know how conscientious they themselves are (complete with pics) and how others need to improve their practice.

    Which in a way is really good, but should apply to many areas in our lives, not just the camping in "wild places" (though I believe the "wild places" should stay unpolluted and protected as much as possible) and not be used as an another feel-good bandwagon.

    Its also shocking how big a market the outdoor industry is and the impact it must have on pollution etc. We went into various outdoorsy shops last weekend and I thought 90% of the goods were either rubbish or unnecessary...just more ways to earn big profits.

    As a bit of a gear junky I'm very much guilty of using more than I need :bag:

    Slightly off-topic; I realised my children are the biggest consumers of one-use plastic in our house and still do not know which bin the recycling goes into despite education, recycling at home, helping with litter-picking, media-hype.
    rikdon, oreocereus and cathyjc like this.
  6. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    It's not pessimism and doesn't preclude progress to greater well-being. But to expect or demand consistency from. Humans is to be disappointed. We are not wired that way. So these subjects are best approached with generocity of spirit to my mind.
    My way of thinking is that any 'good' is ultimately something that has a positive effect on the experience of conscious beings. Very few actions are purely ''good' to everyone effected and so we have to balance how we act to get the best mix of good and bad outcomes for all the conciousnesses effected.
    LNT has few if any downsides.
    Removing the option of cheap fast transport does. We can balance that by using it less, improving technology that allows us to do the same thing with less negative outcomes etc
    JKM likes this.
  7. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    My kids are the first to criticise me on my "gear collection" :rolleyes:. There is hope in the next generation :)
  8. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    Yeah the approaching with generosity and meeting people Where they are tends to be more productive, you’re right.

    I suppose what I fear with the “anything ‘good’ is positive” thought is that it tends to be superficial.

    If recyclable coffee cups allow people to keep consuming packaging that has a useful life span of a few minutes with a clean conscience, then will we ever reach a more optimistic (and essential) goal of meaningfully changing the way we consume goods and food - ideally in containers that are infinitely reusable, rather the extravagant energy costs of recycling a cup made of a multitude of materials.

    I’m glad LNT makes people feel good and be conscious of their direct impact on the areas they wander in. But is there a way to turn feel good into bigger picture action?
    WilliamC and edh like this.
  9. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Move to a permit system and restrict access :)

    The UK is too small and non-wild for this in reality.
  10. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Think we may be talking around each other.

    I'm not saying every step in the right direction is 'good', though I guess it is, if not 'best'.

    Rather my point is ultimately what is our goal? It's not ''saving the planet' I'd argue, it's a moral question that can be condensed to the wellbeing of things that can suffer. Imaging a galaxy with no life forms at all. If a geological event causes a run away green house event on one of its planets, I'd argue there wouldn't be any moral content to that. Nothing suffers.
    So when we try and plan a course of action to minimise climate change, we are trying to optimise well being and that doesn't stop at the harmful effects of climate change. We should take into account everything.
    Assuming development and wellbeing correlate, and with factors like maternal/infant survival they do, (of course there are hard to measure ways where that assumption may be wrong) then I think it makes more sense to chart a course somewhere between unrestricted development and trying to keep co2 to 0%, balancing the harm of climate change with the harm of restricting access to healthcare etc. By access to healthcare I mean power infrastructure, roads, universitys pharmaceutical industries, computers etc.

    Moving to more sustainable development, renewables etc to my mind is a good example of optimising wellbeing all round. No drop in development or standard of living and lower co2. The more developed a nation becomes, the fewer kids people tend to have, which is a big factor.

    agree much marketing around sustainability seems to be more about allowing us to signal concern rather than of any actual benefit.

    But I think signaling properly harnessed is one of our most effective tools.

    Anyone else noticed how few insects are around this year?
    OneBeardedWalker likes this.
  11. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    I think you’re right, we are talking around eachother.

    I agree that fighting climate change in a way that damages the wellbeing of humans is counterproductive. It is a well-being issue in itself.

    However we’ve well passed the point where climate change isn’t going to be hugely damaging well-being. It already is, particularly if you live in the pacific, or are an Indian farmer.

    I’m not anti-development, but current development is so so far away from anything sustainable. I’m sceptical we’ll make steps there quick enough to avoid a huge decline in well-being.

    But largely I think we agree, the murky part is what kind of development is “safe” and how radical the steps are we need to take to be there.
    OneBeardedWalker likes this.
  12. snow

    snow Trail Blazer

    Similarly shocking to me is the amount of single-use stuff in the UL community - "just repackage everything into ziplocks", "eat out of a ziplock so you don't have to wash your pot", "get single-serving condiments from mcdonalds", "you can just throw away your smartwaters when they get funky", etc etc etc...

    Not that I'm not guilty (and the gear thing too) and sometimes it's a reasonable choice but it doesn't seem to come up as an issue...
    oreocereus likes this.
  13. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    Quite so @snow. Guilty also. UL Nimbyism.
  14. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Totally agree.
    I'm a big believer in not being a believer in simple clear narratives that end with a dicotamy of good and evil. We I think are all drawn to these narratives as humans but to my eyes they are almost always fallacious.
    I suspect the slow (in human terms) rate of change is part of the problem. Talking to my parents generation makes clear how much variety and just bulk of wildlife we've lost.
    I suspect farm practices are one place big gains could be had, but that needs balancing as with everything else. We need to get the incentives better alligned.

    Re nimbyism, I wouldn't be surprised if a modified form is the way forward. It could be that like empathy we are just not wired to be able to care for more than our immediate environment, not in a non rational gut way anyway.
    oreocereus and dovidola like this.
  15. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    A shortcut to clear answers avoiding logic :) any subscription to a single ideology - religious, dietary, philosophy - etc inevitably has contradictions.

    Yes, food systems is, to my mind, the most important thing to revolutionize - not only for the sake of managing its impact on our long term environment, but to remain adaptable to increasingly hostile production conditions (in most places at like least).

    That makes some sense. Observable in everyday shortsightedness. It’s immediately “better” (more fun) to take a flight to Inverness because it saves a few hours and might even be cheaper than the train. The wider impact of that action is far less quantifiable or tangible.
    Enzo likes this.
  16. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    Im guilty of this, hoping to find an alternatuve to the smart water bottles. I reuse them for weeks but its still quite a lot of waste.

    Now if just supermarkets stoped wrapping everything grrrrr.
  17. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    In the short term its probably most eco friendly to scavenge plastic bottles off friends/coworkers who are more wasteful (all of my bottles come from my housemates diet coke problem..)
    Otherwise you suck up the weight of a naglene or similar.
    Indeed. Luckily where i live a handful of waste free supermarkets have popped up. I live in a fairly working-class neighbourhood, but there's a vege shop who stock 90% of their veg from local organic farms, another shop who do soap and grain refills, and one more shop who is entirely waste-free and sell all the spices, other grains, and legumes, cleaning products (including tooth tabs) that I need. All are within 5 minutes walking distance. It takes a bit more time and organisation than going to the co-op on our road, but it's faster than going to the mega-tesco. Price wise it's all pretty similar to the supermarket. The organic veg is more expensive, but I use a local farm's delivery service, which is cheaper than the supermarket (and of far higher quality). All of those shops sell bread from a local baker.

    So I can get more or less everything I need without packaging, if I don't eat processed foods.

    Obviously my neighbourhood is a lot better than most for this, but refill grains and packaging free veg from local farms is doable from most supermarkets, and most towns are serviced by a local farm delivery service.
  18. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    Everyone looks at packaging as the problem, what about the carbon footprint from making all the food & household products & delivering them to shops only for a huge portion to be thrown out? It's not a simple question nor a simple answer, we are to well used to choice & think little if anything to the waste that comes with it, to which am guilty myself.
    cathyjc and oreocereus like this.
  19. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    Yeah I agree. We could do far far better at having closed systems. More emphasis on local produce with better systems to deal with inevitable waste - free city composting for those without gardens to capture the energy lost in some food being spoiled/damaged, a shift of perception on less aesthetic foods (stuff that gets thrown because it has visual imperfections). A lot of this could be achieved with more local farmers markets in cities (you could quite easily have a large composting collection service there).

    IE all the stuff our grandparents were doing in a pre-globalised food system.

    Hopefully more business would grow on a waste reduction model (e.g. produce that is soon to go bad can be turned into juices, soups, preserves, etc). In the previous city i lived in, in New Zealand, there was a charity who rescued food waste, which went to a community composting facility, a cafe that had a creative chef, and a free food stool that was open every afternoon.

    In France, i ate fruit and veg everyday for less about 5 euros a week - most cities farmers markets had a tent that collected soon-to-go-off and less aesthetic produce and sold it by the box cheap.
    Padstowe likes this.
  20. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I get paid to grow fruit and veg for my clients, who end up with far more than they can use and give it to me :)
    I'd have thought reusing your flatmates coke bottles is about as sustainable as is possible. Must be much lower footprint per bottle than a nalgene, and how many trips on average do they see? I can get months out of a lucasade bottle if I don't squeeze it for filtering.
    Bit like the stat that the bags for life take dozens of times more resources to produce than the disposable bags but on average get used the same number of times. The ocado bags have many uses in them.
  21. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    They get lost before they break. I don’t think I’ve ever broken one. They get a bit manky looking, and I briefly had concerns over the bottle leeching into the water, but the reading I did seemed to dispel that fear.

    It’s not an ideal solution, because it relies on a wasteful system - but it is pragmatic.

    Like the bags for life, I imagine the heavier duty plastic (or metal) bottles need a huge amount of use before they offset the energy taken the produce them. Of course, if having a nicer (or more functional) bottle means you use it for years then that’s good too. Ideally all of these things (water vessels and beyond) would be designed to last as long as possible. Obviously various industries have a vested interest in disposable / short life cycles (see cell phones).
    Enzo likes this.
  22. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    That's exactly what Foodcycle do in the UK: https://www.foodcycle.org.uk
    They're not nationwide but they do operate in a couple of dozen sites. They collect soon to go off fruit and veg, and some other stuff like breads and tinned goods, from local greengrocers and shops (mostly independents but in Bristol at least they collect from one branch of Co-op) and cook meals for various needy people.
    oreocereus likes this.
  23. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    Food waste composting is also done by some local authorities, sometimes for compost, others for production of methane which fuels small power stations.
  24. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    I once knocked on the door of a building one night years ago in Ventimiglia that had mensa written outside it. I said in my very poor Italian "Am sorry, I know it's late, but is it possible to get a piece of bread & cheese or whatever". The well dressed gentleman informed me that it was a mensa club I had called at & not the mensa dei poveri. I didn't get any food. :(
    Sorry my point, I ate from different charitable organisations all over western europe for years, its good work they do, lovely bunch of people who give up their time. But this is a different matter than having the waste to begin with imo.
    edit: Ok it's a lie, some of them can be right gits.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  25. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    If you've got 25 minutes to spare, the BBC has some interesting broadcasts. There was one about a restaurant that only uses waste food that I can't find at the moment. I did find this, however.
    Padstowe and oreocereus like this.

Share This Page