/ How ethical are we when we go out on the hill
I have been wondering recently about my own ethics when it comes to going outdoors. I presume we all care about the environment as we all enjoy and treasure it's many qualities. However, I have been considering how many of us actually take responsibility for our footprint on the landscape and the earth and if so how? Also how could we as a community be better and what suggestions could people offer for this?
> and if so how
1. I only wash the Porsche 6 times a week
2. I carpool with the Lear Jet
Good subject but seems a bit vague to begin. If you're literally talking footprints it's not something I worry about whatsoever (at least talking Scottish NW hills where I've been a lot lately). The way the land is managed and the grazing pressures will always matter far, far more there.
By contrast, I feel guilt about the fuel cost both financially and environmentally. And that really does matter to me.
What do you do about these things to improve matters?
> What do you do about these things to improve matters?
How about outdoor companies making stuff these days that actually lasts...
Or we could choose to buy stuff that actually lasts - my kit does because I'm too skint to replace it until utterly knackered.
The OP might be talking about how far we travel and how, before we step out of the car/off the bus. Though hard to tell as it's not explicit.
> By contrast, I feel guilt about the fuel cost both financially and environmentally. And that really does matter to me.
I'm with you there. In moving to SW France I had hoped to minimize travel, and while this worked initially I've repeated local routes to boredom and beyond - I like variety too much, and frequently travel 2hrs each way for a day's action.
In othher respects I believe climbing is a fairly clean sport - we are not burning energy fuel once on site, and for my part, the gear lasts years, shoes get resoled ...
> How about outdoor companies making stuff these days that actually lasts...
So true - obsession with lightness, thinness and speed makes everything a little bit more vulnerable
My running shoes for trail are the worst - 4-600 miles and they are toast - my wife thinks I am a new Imelda Marcos
> Or we could choose to buy stuff that actually lasts -
The problem is that quite often you can't actually buy what lasts because no-one makes it because it can't compete with stuff that doesn't.
Well, look online and lots of running companies say to replace shoes after this amount of mileage, i use my shoes for at least 1000 miles, and then when I get a new pair I will still wear the old pair for occasional runs.
Mine are falling apart at that stage. Only the massive Saucony ones I bought after injury have stood up to a longer period.
I eat less on the hill, so reducing food miles!
I do keep my gear till it's old or, in the case of boots, the soles break up. Trouble is a lot of boots are made to be not resolable which is a nuisance.
I have several pairs of approach shoes with soles in good condition and uppers OK, even if not so waterproof any more.
Problem is the two bits aren’t properly attached to each other any more. I need some good glue.
Almost anything you do (eg. be vegan, cycle and public transport, recycle) is wiped out by flying.
> I eat less on the hill, so reducing food miles!
So what you are saying is I should eat all my food at the start of a hike to save the environment?
I have reduced my distance traveled by being lazy and only getting to an actual crag a handful of times this year.
> More Zip-wires
...less footprints. Simples!
One good thing I think I'm right in saying is that the largest landowner in Scotland who recently took on that mantle is ecofriendly and has reforestation etc at the top of his agenda. Google 'Wildland'. Places like Glenfeshie evidence what he is trying to do.
I'd put travelling at the centre of becoming part of the solution. If you want to climb that much, move to a climbing area. You save emmissions, and you don't get to spend stupid amounts of time in a metal box, and you don't spend half the week wanting to be where you aren't. Obviously this wouldn't work for all straight away.
That includes making documentaries about saving the planet and extolling the virtues of the world's wild places.
> Almost anything you do (eg. be vegan, cycle and public transport, recycle) is wiped out by flying.
That's not how it works at all. Yes, flying is bad. But a vegan/cycle commuter who flies will have a lower carbon footprint than an omnivore/car commuter who takes the same flight. I doubt very much that the latter group wouldn't fly as a result of their other life choices.
Edit: n.b. proportionally, flying will make up a greater proportion of emissions, but that's not to say other changes are completely futile.
Depends on where you fly and how often. Living car free trumps makes a more significant contribution than one fewer transatlantic flight per year, but taking two fewer transatlantic flights trumps living car free (obviously also dependent on how much you would use your car otherwise) : https://phys.org/news/2017-07-effective-individual-tackle-climate-discussed.html.
It's always a tricky one, isn't it?
The best way to not harm the natural environments we like so much is to avoid visiting them. Which, from our own selfish prospectives at least, defeats the point of saving them.
It would seem the best way would be to compromise by rationing access, fewer trips and set total numbers of people on the hills so as to inflict less damage than each environment can naturally recover from each year.
It would never work of course because for one, there are just too many of us and secondly, that only covers direct damage like erosion, litter etc. The fact is the human race as a whole is pumping out far to much crap into the atmosphere and that is going to harm our natural spaces whether we vist them or not.
Things will get a whole lot worse before they get better.
I carry my own pack these days
Like others have said, we're not going to completely avoid visiting these areas which is the only way to completely eradicate our impact - the answer is trying to minimise them. Obviously being vegan, not owning a car or flying and living in a city is the best way to reduce your environmental footprint as a whole, but I read this as a question about our impact once we're already there.
I live in a protected site classé in the French Alps and I'm gobsmacked when I see evidence of campfires (explicitly not allowed) on wild camping (explicitly not allowed) sites. Just this morning I picked up an abandoned 5L water bottle (there are recycling bins 1km away on the way out of the valley) from a spot where I'd seen a dirtbag camper van (heap of shit van, I suppose converted into a 'stealth' camper) sat for a couple of days. I'd like to think that the owner(s) appropriately disposed of their excrement and toilet paper (this spot was less than 20m from a main water course) but experience tells me that is unlikely.
Even the Alps aren't a wilderness. Grazing sheep have turned forests into pastures and thousands of hikers made trails more numerous and wider and that's before we get started on the ski lifts and pistes - but then people have been living here too for ages so we'll never turn back the clock. You could probably argue that it's better to use those as a playground (I read that 6 million people live within a 2 hour drive of the Alps) than to encourage people to go to more far flung places.
So in my mind the rules are simple. Stick to trails, bury your shit deep and away from water, take home your toilet paper and any other rubbish, and don't start fires.
> So what you are saying is I should eat all my food at the start of a hike to save the environment?
Ideally you should consume an entire weekend's food before your trip
Actually I have been given a very large quantity of alkaline flat 4.5v cells and I've converted a couple of Petzl screw bulbs to be LED bulbs by removing the glass, contents and desoldering the end tip and putting in resistors topped by the LED. The results are very very impressive on an incredibly durable and weatherproof torch that I've had since 1987. Trouble is it draws a lot less than the old bulb to make a lot more light so it will take me a lifetime to work through the batteries. They are slightly past their end date but this can be greatly extended by slightly topping the volts up with an appropriate charger.
We could vote for politicians who will enforce recycling and cheap nationwide public transport, but instead we prefer to choose based on a faux class struggle perspective and let them carry on regardless. Climate change is so big redress needs lead by the government, not individuals.
I have carefully cultivated a taste for the local north penine scenery, including the classic walk through knee deep bog punctuated by two meter high peat hags. Amazingly it’s so quiet on a bank holiday weekend that one may not see another walker all day long.
Being vague was hopefully to explore the many different ways people try to minimise their impact both on the earth and in the outdoors. My aim is to not be judgementental but exploraitative. Living in the Highlands of Scotland and having just moved from the Lakes has exposed the difficulties in using public transport in an attempt to minimise car use (previously car free). We have a Leave No Trace ideology coupled with an advertising campaign of wild places, however, the trace we are leaving on wild places is massive. I agree that being vegan, car free, leave no trace, washing the Porsche only six times a week are all admirable.
If there were better and cheaper public transport would people use it? If there were ethical holiday companies, equipment providers and better ways to engage with conservation would people use them? Would people join campaigns to lobby government, landowners and larger charities to ensure a more environmental and conservational approach to our outdoor spaces.
Anymore thoughts ideas?
> Amazingly it’s so quiet on a bank holiday weekend that one may not see another walker all day long.
It is pretty hard to see over the top of those 2m high peat hags, isn't it...?
> If there were better and cheaper public transport would people use it? <
Possibly reduce reliance on cars and cut down fuel usage by having frequent, cheap, regular network of express bus services with small hire vehicles for use from local centres (plus uber type arrangements?). We already have the basis in our existing road system.
Doubt if many would give up their own vehicles however, unless forced by financial pressures or government restrictions. I have no car and one can snooze on the journey, arrive relaxed and often enjoy the scenery more. Shame about the loss of the London-Glasgow Megabus sleeper.
> Doubt if many would give up their own vehicles however, unless forced by financial pressures or government restrictions.
My parents have been living in Munich for the last few years. They have been car free out there. In the UK, they run a car each and my dad won't cycle at all due to lack of bike lanes etc. In Munich, they cycle many places and use public transport everywhere else. It is cheap and convenient. A train to the alps is 23 euros for one person and you can add another 4 for 3 euros each. This covers any means of transport after 9am! It is well used because it is affordable.
The UK is an absolute disaster when it comes to public transport
Whenever we go across the Pennines to Newcastle and use the Metro system I feel we've come into the modern world from somewhere that is behind the Old Eastern Bloc in terms of services.
Having grown up in Wearddale and taken my first adventures there I can vouch for that! On one of those outings I heard the first ever broadcast of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, as I have mentioned before, for the sake of those who think I have dementia.
> That's not how it works at all. Yes, flying is bad. But a vegan/cycle commuter who flies will have a lower carbon footprint than an omnivore/car commuter who takes the same flight. I doubt very much that the latter group wouldn't fly as a result of their other life choices.
I think you've misunderstood. I'm not talking about 2 groups of people, I'm talking 1 group - environmentally minded individuals all trying to do something to reduce their impact.
I have a colleague who has removed meat and most non-vegan (but not all) items from their diet. They shop locally, but not majority organic.
Compared to me, I'm not vegetarian, I eat about 1/4 of the UK average meat per person, but almost all produce I buy is local and organic. I have a low carbon house.
So both of us have lower than average carbon footprints excluding flights (UK avg is 13 tonne/year I think).
Then both of us have business travel that dwarfs those figures. This is our biggest area of influence - not making those journeys and insuring someone else doesn't just go instead.
But when it comes to personal flights only 5 return EU flights in 25 years.
My biggest impact on CO2 this year has been reducing the amount of flights my team make for business. Next year I need to cut some of 10 returns and continue to avoid unnecessary long haul.
This is what I mean when I suggest that some ethically good things (organic, local, sustainable, vegan...) are only a drop in the ocean. Most people can't cut their commuting easily, but avoiding flying it easier. So by all means go meat-free Monday, by some higher welfare chickens, cycle to work, but don't expect it to save the planet if you still hop on a plane for a city break.
Good chart but living car free is a meaningless phrase. With no car it really comes down to what replaces it - if it's a private helicopter it's quite different to a bike!
Commuting London-Manchester 5 days a week would have the same CO2 impact as depreciating a top of the range 4x4's CO2 of manufacture over 10 years and then doing about 15k miles.
> That includes making documentaries about saving the planet and extolling the virtues of the world's wild places.
I did wonder how David Attenborough travelled to deliver that speech.
Really? In your opinion their isn't a manufacturer out there who makes durable kit?
I think the big ethical issue in Scotland is fuel consumption. If I drive up into the Highlands from Edinburgh to do a munro or climb outdoors I could easily burn half a tank of fuel on the round trip. That's 40 liters of diesel. The carbon cost of fuel is going to be far higher than the cost of any equipment.
It would seem like electric cars would be a good solution for the Highlands once they get a bit longer range. They could make use of the electricity from the wind turbines. Longer term self-driving cars summoned like taxis using a phone app would be even better.
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