As lockdown eased, the photos of dirty camping emerging on social media increased. You’ll probably know exactly what I mean; abandoned tents and chairs, fire scars, damaged live trees and litter strewn all over the place. It’s a depressing sight, seeing beauty spots being trashed and I always feel helpless and a rant on social media certainly eases the frustration slightly. But ranting alone won’t help, as you’re mostly preaching to the converted.
This isn’t a new problem of course; the easing of lockdown has only exacerbated the issue and I don’t want to labour on what the cause or the cure might be, instead I want to get everybody on board to not only leave no trace, but to promote the ethos too.
Social media has a large part to play, locations become popular through social media, so if you’re promoting wild camping and hiking on your Instagram account or YouTube channel then I believe you have a responsibly to promote the leave no trace message in your content.
Many people are already spreading the message. So, what should you do to get on board?
If you’re a regular on Instagram, put something in your stories and feed about carrying out your rubbish and or picking up litter. You could include a picture of your pitch afterwards with just flat grass. Use the hashtag #LeaveNoTrace in your content too.
Similar to Instagram, mention in your films that you’re carrying out your rubbish and leaving no trace, encourage litter picking. I always show my clean and tidy pitch just before leaving. Your viewers will have more respect for you and any newbies that have stumbled across your channel will hopefully see that leave no trace is the norm and the right thing to do.
If you post content on your own timeline or dedicated Facebook outdoors groups then mention leave no trace and even encourage litter picking too.
Facebook Admins (Group owners):
If you run a Facebook Group then I believe you also have a responsibility to ensure your members sign up to the leaving no trace ethos. To do this, include in your group rules, that members should leave no trace and any content posted that suggests otherwise will be deleted and the member banned.
Consider not allowing pictures of campfires too. Many other groups already do this.
Twitter and other platforms:
Same as above, spread the message and use the hashtag #LeaveNoTrace.
We might not make a huge difference straight away by doing this, but education is key and if everybody who shares content of the great outdoors gets involved, then maybe… just maybe the message will be loud and clear. So come on, become a Leave No Trace Ambassador!