The concept of leaving no trace behind was first introduced to me in the context of mountaineering. The idea is that in the mountains, everything decays and breaks down slowly, so it is essential to leave the pristineness of the mountain the same as you arrived. Everything you bring in must go out with you, and we must be vital custodians of our environment. As world travelers, though, why can we not apply this to all travel? Let’s explore the concept of how to leave no trace behind in travel.
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The idea behind leave no trace behind
When we travel, it is common to purchase local goods and products or bring your own and expect plenty of trash cans to toss your trash into. I have found this basic expectation is not always the case. Tourists and locals have tossed garbage on the ground, lakes, rivers, etc. It has become so bad in some countries. I have seen garbage dams in rivers, garbage mountains, and towers of garbage right outside villages or tourist areas. It isn’t entirely sustainable. We are straining the world and the nature we seek to observe when we travel. We don’t want to hear of great places to see and visit and only find them underneath a pile of garbage. It is getting that bad.
Why it is essential to leave no trace behind
If we successfully become nature custodians and preserve the pristine parts of the world for others to enjoy, leaving no trace behind is essential. The mindset that you will take everything you bring in forces you to start thinking of buying a reusable product—bringing less product—using less, and being more efficient with consumption. I don’t think many of us will disagree that it is a destructive mindset.
While some of us may go above and beyond and try to leave places they visit better than the way it was found. We should all aspire to, at the very least, aim to leave attractions, environments, nature, etc., as good as we found them. Leave none of your traces behind and aspire to be a person of solid scruples. Live with that mantra and encourage more to do so. Over time, I hope we as a people can continue to see the world environment at least stabilize and hopefully improve.
You can become better at leaving no trace behind by using reusable containers, a backpack to carry the containers, and keeping the equipment, food, wrappers, and bottles with you at all times. You take what you need with you and take it out until it can be disposed of properly. Avoid taking things that create excessive waste or a mess with you on travel. Keep it minimal and down to what you need.
Respecting other cultures, people, and nature and leaving it as you found it
I have visited large foreign cities covered in trash. I see locals just tossing their trash everywhere. They stopped caring. People begin to believe it is a way of life and stop aspiring for more. Imagine their view seeing folk from other parts of the world visiting and doing the same or worse. It would only reinforce their belief. Worst, it may even offend or break local civil norms in environments that aspire to keep the environment tidy.
Being a person that creates minimal waste, takes their waste with them, and disposes of it in proper places shows immense respect for environments around the world. For environments already tidy, we continue that forward for generations beyond us. For areas going downhill, we set a strong example as world travelers on the right way to treat the environment. Finally, let’s not forget the impact we can make on the environment by simply being a positive influence.
With that said, let’s go forward and strive to make “leave no trace behind” our mantra. Not only in the wild nature, where the pristineness is significantly ruined with the smallest banana peel, but everywhere we go, even in the dirtiest places. We set the examples and walk it forward. We can make a difference and help preserve the world. Reduce carbon waste, reduce uncontrolled waste sprinkled throughout the world, and inspire change for a better future.
We hope you enjoyed this article at Travel-Wise. We genuinely strive to be custodians of our planet and inspire change for the better through travel. Travel that achieves a deeper understanding of cultures and our world and defines us as individuals who embrace a life of adventure and passion for exploring the unknown. So make sure when you’re on the next trip you plan, to leave no trace behind. Check out more articles like this here!