Heather Porter was sick of seeing her favourite trails littered with rubbish. But rather than just complain about it, she started the Hike It Out campaign to spread positive hiking culture.
Ahh! I love the serenity of being outdoors; hiking to untouched waterfalls, taking in spectacular mountain views, or staring at the endless ocean. It’s about feeling the grass under my feet, and the rocks that I’m sitting on. It’s enjoying the sound of water, the green of the ferns, and watching the blue water bottle float down the stream… wait… what!?
Recently I’ve taken to picking up all of the rubbish that I find along hiking trails, and in doing this I’ve noticed some common items that get dumped time and time again.
The main offenders seem to include plastic water bottles, lolly and muesli bar wrappers, chip packets and plastic bags. Anywhere with a water source also includes coffee cup lids, straws, cans, and anything else that isn’t biodegradable.
The ABC’s recent War on Waste series inspired plenty of ways to reduce the rubbish we create. You can take reusable bottles, re-package our food into reusable containers before a trip, or cook our own snacks and meals so there’s no rubbish to start with. You can even make lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of rubbish you create day to day. But the issue is bigger than that.
Why Are People Littering The Outdoors?
I don’t think it always comes down to a lack of bins. The people leaving empty bottles at their lunch spot may well be the same people who dump rubbish out of their cars in carparks.
I think the issue is a lack of hiking culture. These people hold no sense of environmental responsibility and clearly don’t feel like they’re a part of Mother Nature’s tribe.
How Do We Fix This?
The solution is you. These days it’s almost expected that you’ll find rubbish, be prepared to pick it up anyway! Walking past a mess and leaving it for the next person is just as bad. Try adding a rubbish bag to your pack list so there’s no excuse for leaving litter behind.
What Needs To Change?
Our attitude needs to change just as much as the litterers’. We need to lead by example, how can you expect a clean destination if you’re not willing to help clean it?
By picking up what you see, you upgrade from winger to activist. I know there’s a lot of you out there who already contribute to cleaning up, but there’s just as many who turn a blind eye to the litter and hike right past, judging whoever left it.
If you saw it last, you’re just as responsible for it still being there.
Hike It Out
Let’s reset the standards of what we do with litter. Your actions when finding rubbish will directly impact the next person’s experience. You could also be saving an animal’s life, protecting our environment, and contributing to the item being recycled properly.
Hike it Out is an environmental awareness campaign specifically aimed at building a hiking culture that holds everyone responsible for their own rubbish, and any they find along the way; it’s that simple. Live by this, encourage your friends to travel and explore with a Hike it Out mentality and suddenly our world will start to look a little cleaner. We are the change makers.
We Are Explorers is totally behind Heather’s campaign. We’ve advocated taking out more than you take in, explored tips to Leave No Trace and called out bad behaviour in the bush. We won’t stop until there’s no rubbish left in our wild places. #hikeitout
Hike It Out