We know that climate change is real. How can one use their time and abilities to fight it? Because of warming temperatures, melting of glaciers, and the loss of alpine habitats happen in alarming states.
Also, many NASA reports show that the average global temperatures are up. So much so that 15 out of 16 of the warmest times of the year happened since 2001. Also, because of the decreased snowmelt, massive droughts, and there’s a rapid increase in wildfires.
The overall situation is challenging, without a doubt. If we don’t act now, we’ll fail to protect our environment, and they can be forever altered or lost. And in case you don’t know, your hiking activities can impact the environment — even something as simple as how you use your hiking poles.
Fortunately, in this post, we’ll walk you through the surprising ways how hikers can help combat climate change:
Start with Community Involvement
Being involved in the community is just one of the many ways to make a difference. Ensure that your local and national officials pass on intelligent policies that focus on finding solutions and mitigating risks.
It also helps that you buy from companies that have positive climate and conservation records. You might also try inviting people who have different perspectives on the trail to share with them why you love these places so much. This allows you to connect with like-minded individuals about climate change and other environmental topics.
Carpooling or opting to take public transportation to the trailhead is one of the simplest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
However, public transit may not be one of the best options, especially if you’re a hiker. For instance, the trail you’re supposed to go is up to 15 miles or so up a forest road.
You can choose to carpool instead to help reduce these emissions.
Partner with someone, or ask out a group of friends who have similar interests as you so that you can hit the road together. You can offer to pitch in for gas instead.
If you live near the trailhead, consider walking or biking. Not only can you save on fossil fuel emissions, but it’s also a great way to introduce some form of exercise to your day.
Do you want to dig in and get your hands dirty? Then, it would be best if you planted more trees. Trees tend to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which will, in turn, offset carbon emissions.
In fact, the EPA reports that the Land Use and Forestry Sector offset at least 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. Although that 11 percent is significant, we can relatively do better.
Protect our Water
Water is our most used natural resource and yet something that we often take for granted. To help preserve our natural waterways, we should take the necessary steps to conserve our lakes, streams, and oceans.
Luckily, you can do many things to keep the water clean while on a hike.
For one, you can dig out cat holes at least 200 feet away from the water source to relieve yourself. If you have to wash the dishes, consider doing it away from the fresh flowing water.
Another tip is to use a shampoo bar when bathing. By respecting natural resources’ beauty this way, you can share some love for the natural environment.
Say No to Single-Use Plastics
According to data by the Earth Policy Institute, humans consume over 2 million plastic bags per minute. At this rate, a study found out that this can eventually outnumber the fishes in the ocean in our lifetime.
Plastic pollution doesn’t just harm the seas, though. When plastics decompose after hundreds of years, they’ll release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
However, the tricky thing here is that you’ll usually find it hard to recycle or say no to single-use plastics, especially if you’re traveling.
Fortunately, you can do something to lessen the use of single-use plastics when traveling. This includes carrying a reusable water bottle, collapsible coffee mug, or a reusable shopping bag with you.
Similarly, you can bring your toiletries, reusable straw, cutlery, and even your go-to containers!
Overtourism is usually a hot topic these days. The influx of tourists to popular destinations hurts both the destination itself and the experience of travelers.
Because of the influx of visitors, this can often lead to a negative impact on the environment.
While this isn’t strongly linked to climate change, the increased number of flights and tours in the area explains why their carbon footprint is increasing.
Fixing this problem doesn’t mean that one should stop going to these popular destinations.
Instead, it’s all about being mindful so that this helps ease the strain for a bit. For instance, if this particular hiking destination is famous for tourists, consider the less crowded hiking spots.
Check-in With Trail Organizations
Make sure that these organizations are showing up to stakeholder organizations and advocating about our climate. Your community is big and powerful. However, you should be sitting at that table to make a difference.
Over to You
The thing is, the hiking trails we love are affected by climate change. And it shows in many ways than you can fathom. This includes increased temperatures, drought, and wildfires.
These are lasting effects that are felt throughout the world. By doing our part, we can help combat climate change now in the future.