The Green Hiker
Your mother told you that the best way to lead was by example – she was right! We as hikers want to enjoy nature and our beloved trails for a long time. Let’s look at ten ways we can be “greener” hikers.
- Water bottles – A necessity, however use a refillable one, not the grocery store “bottled water” bottles. These bottles are frequently thrown away, create litter, are an eye sore and consume petro chemical resources.
- Thermos – Use a thermos. Many of us like a hot drink on the trail, a stainless steel thermos is just right. If you want to buy a hot drink at a coffee shop, bring your own refillable cup.
- Lunch Box – Pack a “litter less lunch”. Lunch boxes have been around for a long time and they work. Fill them up, eat your lunch and take it home to use on the next hike. Take home your fruit cores and peelings too – they don’t belong along the trail.
- The Lunch – Consider what goes into your lunch. Plant-based foods provide the carbohydrates we need and are “greener” to produce than the animal-based foods.
- Litter Bag – Carry a plastic bag with you to pick up litter along the trail. The Canadian Army tells its soldiers “never pass a fault”. You, by picking up litter, will set an example that won’t go unnoticed.
- Batteries – Lots of things we use require batteries. Use the rechargeable kind. Not all rechargeable batteries are created equally, so buy ones with a higher rating.
- Inukshuks and so on – Be cognizant of what does and does not belong along the trail. In the past year I have noticed inukshuks popping up all over. These are meaningful and powerful symbols of Canada’s north however they are an eye sore along our trails. This year I have dismantled more than 30 on a beautiful stretch of trail along the banks of the Grand River on the rare property in Cambridge. Don’t build them!
- Transportation – How do we get to the trail? Buses are an option for some and are “green”. Others must rely on a car. Carpooling with a friend helps. When it is time to replace your car, think long and hard about the fuel consumption and projected life span of your choice.
- Community Walkways – Where do we live? As hikers we like to walk. If we can live in a community that makes it easy for us to walk to what we need, and for enjoyment, we are healthier, happier and “greener”. This may not be where you live right now however we Canadians move frequently.
- Housing Type – What style of home do we have? I grew up in Toronto’s Beach in a single family home, raised my daughter in a single family home, moved to a townhouse and now live in a low rise apartment building. I believe each step has reduced my “ecological footprint”.
These ten points are a start and I know each of you readers will have your own ideas on how to be a little “greener”. Please contact me with suggestions and if the editor agrees we will get more ideas into future Toronto Bruce Trail Footnotes.