This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating the greatest mother of all: mother nature. Considered by many as the spiritual guiding force of creation and nurturer of all humans, she’s something everyone can give thanks to. As outdoor enthusiasts, we love nothing more than exploring the world’s wild spaces - it’s what drives us to do what we do here at Montane. We, like so many of you, have watched with growing concern as the impacts of the climate crisis have worsened in recent years. We know that we all have a responsibility to help do our bit to reduce our impact and protect the planet for future generations.
With more and more of you seeking practical ways to help, here are some ideas specifically for those who love to get out for adventures in the great outdoors. Your chance to put mother nature on a pedestal every time you head outside…and show her how much you really care!
Respect the wild
The golden rule for everyone exploring outside is to respect the area you’re traversing, and to leave these places as you found them. It’s a simple mantra but it takes many forms - including taking your litter home, being mindful of exploring inconspicuously as well as avoiding the use of disposable BBQs and campfires. In response to increased UK staycations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) developed the ‘Respect the Wild’ campaign, which includes several useful advice codes. Looking for ideas closer to home? Why not try a litter pick? Many local parks now stock the tools you need to get started, or you could encourage your workplace to set up a regular litter pick and get your colleagues involved.
Stick to the paths
Stepping off and continuing not to use dedicated paths can have a real impact on local landscapes and can contribute to erosion at a rapid rate. Take the Lake District, for example, which has approximately 15.8 million visitors heading to the National Park each year. With so much footfall, the impact of some visitors not sticking to the paths has caused considerable damage over the years.
Fix the Fells is an organisation set up to help combat footpath erosion in the area and their hard work helps maintain the Lake District’s footpaths so that more people can explore the stunning scenery responsibly. In turn, this helps the local ecosystems to survive (and thrive). Just listen to their podcast with us to learn more about Fix the Fells incredible efforts and to find out how you can help combat erosion yourself.
Invest in a reusable bottle
Did you know that it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to completely biodegrade? It’s one reason we’re helping to reduce our plastic bottle waste by recycling them into our popular Dart base layers (learn more about the process of bottle to baselayer). To help reduce your plastic waste, you can carry a reusable bottle with you on your adventures, instead of purchasing single-use bottles. This simple act starts with investing in a reliable bottle, like our Nalgene 1L - ideal for longer hikes, or this insulated bottle - perfect for both cold and hot drinks. Go on, it’s an easy switch to make and a great excuse to invest in some new kit!
The rise of Instagram in recent years has helped to shine a light on many incredible places, previously unknown to the general masses. Who doesn’t love to peruse photos of stunning landscapes to gather inspiration for future travels? But the act (often automatic, due to your phone’s location feature being enabled) of specifically highlighting a precise location when you hit upload, is causing concern amongst conservationists. In short, they believe it is putting increased pressure on fragile ecosystems.
In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in Overtourism across the world - a phenomenon typically seen in larger cities, but which is also being noticed in lesser-visited, unmanaged places too. These wild spaces particularly struggle to cope with an influx of new visitors, seemingly spurred on to soak up the next mind-blowingly beautiful view. So what’s the answer? A good solution to this is to broaden where you tag to a more general location you are visiting. For example, if you snapped a photo of the now extremely popular Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye, you could simply tag Skye, or even more broadly, Scotland. In doing so you help to raise awareness of these beautiful places without putting potential pressure on specific spots.
Fuel up consciously
Every good adventure usually includes some form of tasty, refueling snack and of course a hike is not complete without the obligatory sandwich pit stop at the top of the hill! But how can you be more mindful to make sure you refuel as sustainably as possible? The answer is in your adventure preparations. Whilst the single-wrapped cereal bar might be the easy option to both purchase and carry, why not try making your own version instead? Take a look at this flapjack recipe for some inspiration. It’s an easy-to-make bake that can be done in as little as 30 minutes and we promise it will taste even more satisfying knowing you have made it yourself. Don’t forget to take these with you in a reusable tupperware or wax wrap to avoid the use of foil or cling film.
Not got time to rustle something up? Another good way to eat more mindfully is by purchasing what you need from local shops instead of the supermarket. Not only does this support the local economy, usually run by local people passionate about the place they call home, it’s also an opportunity to find locally grown/seasonal produce.