For the ethical traveler, it’s vital to ensure that you’re having the most benign impact on the environment of the places you are visiting. There is no doubt that tourism as an industry has a history of problems when it comes to sustainability, and concerns about that might make you think you should do away with the whole concept. What if you don’t go to resorts or hotels, but head for the hills for a camping trip of a lifetime?
On the surface of it, camping sounds about as benign when it comes to ecological concerns as it is possible to be. It’s all about immersing yourself in the wilderness and becoming a part of it, not railroading over it so you can build a 50-storey holiday complex.
However, done incorrectly, camping can be very troublesome for the environment. It’s not as simple as grabbing a tent from the selection of places like http://tentsandcampgear.com/twelve-person-tents/ or learning a few camping hacks. There are several behaviors you have to conform to if you want to make it work.
Don’t… Use Soaps If The Water Isn’t Being Collected
Have you ever been camping, washed equipment (or yourself), and then let the water drain into the ground? Seems like a good idea on one level, but what that actually is is gray water – water contaminated by the soaps you have used.
With the wide variety of dry shampoo now available, there’s no reason to be washing your hair and creating more gray water because of it. As for cleaning cooking implements, it’s far better to use paper towel and a little rubbing alcohol – just make sure you take the paper towel with you when you go.
Don’t… Lose Track of Plastic
You’d be surprised how much plastic you could leave at a campsite if you’re not capable of it. There’s plastic wrapped around everything nowadays, from food wrappers to the bands that hold your tent poles together. So keep a track of all of it: plastic is notoriously bad for the environment. If you bring it, take it back.
Don’t… Go Off The Track
It might be tempting to just head into a woodland and camp wherever the mood takes you, but that’s actually not doing the environment any favors. Designated camping areas have more facilities and they are more thoroughly cleaned. That means if you do end up producing gray water or forgetting to track down your plastic spare parts, they’re more likely to be collected after you leave than just disappearing into the wilderness.
Don’t… Use Your Fire Unnecessarily
It’s not necessary to burn a campfire for the duration of your time spent at camp. Only use it for cooking, and heat at night if necessary – don’t just keep it running for the sake of it. Campfires give off fumes like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which contribute to the greenhouse effect.