Many will say the best thing about engaging in outdoor sports is the sense of freedom it brings. No matter whether you are hiking, canoeing, scuba diving, cycling or skiing, a sport that involves embracing the fresh air and enjoying nature can feel more rejuvenating and rewarding than any other activity out there. Many have grown to love the pure form of exploration that outdoor sports allow, as you can venture into the unknown, set yourself new challenges and reach new heights or depths with every single excursion.
For those who enjoy these outdoor sports, many will also be, in some capacity, aware of the environment that surrounds them and the potential impact they could have. Studies have shown that 40.3% of activities such as hiking, alpine and cross country skiing, camping and biking, have adverse effects on the environment, including:
- Decreased foraging
- Decreased survival
- Reproduction occurrence or abundance
It is all about balance, as there are ways and means to still enjoy the outdoor sports you love while bearing in mind the habitats you may be infringing and the ‘carbon footprint’ you are causing. So, how can you strive to be conservational and satisfy your passion for the outdoors?
Below are highlighted a few ways that you can give back and practice outdoor sports while being environmentally aware.
When it comes to the equipment and clothing you wear for your outdoor pursuits; nowadays it is easier than ever before to source items that are sustainably made. There will be specific labels to look out for, which ensure a range of standards that are met for every item they sell. This includes factors such as product safety, social responsibility and, in general, sustainable production. By ensuring the products you buy are both sustainable and long-lasting, you can rest assured that you have been responsible and ethical in sourcing what you wear. A bonus of such products is that they will be made with exceptional quality materials to an assured standard, in a responsible working environment. You can always find second-hand sportswear that is still of great quality to save you buying new, too. Head to sports shops towards the end of the season, or head to Freecycle to obtain high-quality outdoor apparel and equipment looking for a good home.
Set Up A Blog
One of the best ways to keep conservation at the top of your list of concerns is by getting the message out there. If you are a regular explorer and head outdoors every chance you get, record your pursuits and share the ways you are giving back to the community. Join the network and build a following, which can see an online community form locally. Build a brand whose primary goal is emphasizing the importance of conservation, and join the increasing number of online brands whose sole purpose is to share the message and get people thinking. You can build a memorable brand and logo easily, with sites like Oberlo giving a helping hand to create your own logo.
Give Back To Community
Many outdoor sports will involve encroaching on natural environments and habitats. However, this doesn’t have to be for no reason. For example, if you are using the facilities at a local lake or body of water to organize scuba dives, you could return the favor to the community by raising money for the organization that runs the facility. If you use a local beach for water sports, organize a litter pick to rid of the garbage or plastic on the beach, or even in the water. More experienced divers are able to use their scuba skills to conduct scientific research, giving further insight and understanding of marine life and aquatic ecosystems.
Similarly, if your hiking trail or orienteering trail encroaches on territories or sees you leaving the local path, work with local conservation bodies and landowners, so you are aware of areas to avoid or times of year that are sensitive, such as when birds are nesting. Awareness and consideration are enough, as by reaching out and taking the steps you can to be as considerate as possible, you can increase and share your knowledge while enjoying the sport in the least harmful manner. Respect boundaries wherever possible, and be sensible if you are heading off the beaten track. Don’t take risks that could put you or another animal in danger, and avoid areas at certain times if there is a potential danger to you caused by factors such as the weather, or hibernating animals.