Every event pursued is often has an objectives and goals. Even more, it is strictly guided with policies and principles not to affect anyplace, anybody or anywhere’s culture and norms.
One can possibly be a more responsible mountaineer if he or she is aware of the “Leave No Trace” (LNT) principles. On the other hand, can LNT be applied to ordinary daily routines? Can LNT be helpful also to non-mountaineers and would it not affect those who are guided with ethics and rules contrary to LNT as basis for their daily goals and objectives? It might help or possibly not. Having oriented with the said outdoor ethics during the Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) attended at Pualas, Baungon Bukidnon last February 1-2, 2014, here are the seven principles I can likely relate to my ordinary daily routines;
- Plan Ahead and Prepare (know the regulations and special concerns for the area you will visit and prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies). Routine is a regular activity repeatedly done day by day or may even be called as program of activities within the day. Is there a need to plan and prepare when things are already programmed? Whether we like it or not, there always be intervening factors that affects every programmed activities. Thus, planning ahead and getting prepared of all things is much better in case of any circumstances and short notices rather ending into disaster or trouble. Prepare for precautionary measures before it even gets worst. Organize activities in a way that it also meets goals within the day. It is the same as formulating policies and contingencies that is ought to be done whenever interventions or diversions occur.
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces (Established trails and campsite, rock, gravel, dry grasses, camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, altering a site is not necessary, concentrate on one existing trail). In order not to affect or disturb other properties and surroundings, we must know our limits and restrictions. Tasks must be performed within area of coverage or only in place delegated to you. Similarly, one must observe ownership and privacy of anything. Better than that, identify and select appropriate place where the activity is conducive and possibly result to efficient and relatively high outputs. Focus on area which you find beneficial for everybody and that can be made suitable and sustainable workplace and shelter. Nonetheless, maximize utilization of minimal space given and be able not to destruct more of the surroundings.
- Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack it in, pack it out; pack out all trash, leftover food and litter). Even a toddler is taught where to dispose his/her garbage, how much more for a mature ones? It is a matter of sanitary and even health procedure to keep away from illness and diseases thereupon promoting healthful living. Relative to organizing, it is one way to keep things in proper sequence and enables efficient management to certain matters. On the other hand, one must learn to keep any waste properly as not to litter and pollute the surroundings, learn the three R’s of the environment (reduce, reuse, recycle). Set out what is unimportant, keep only things that will likely helped for future use (reject rubbish stuff that depressingly affects the environment).
- Leave what you find (Preserve the past, examine but do not touch cultural/historic structures and artifacts, leave natural objects, avoid introducing non-native species). Similar to the quote ”What you see, what you hear, leave it here” is also one way of keeping something in place and out of trouble. It is good to be keen observer but not to the extent of digging much deeper into some matters that seem to worsen or seemingly harsh intervening to someone’s behavior and practices or anything’s characteristics. More so, introduction of innovations can also be helpful in aiming improvements but unlikely forcing them to adopt or embrace certain procedures as the way you want it. Not all things are worth approving. It is the same as making decision in consensus with both parties. Also, refrain showing unacceptable behavior and norms to a place where it is not practiced, respect others culture and policies. Likewise, do not touch anything that does not belong to you and do not intervene to any activities that are none of your concern. One can suggest or recommend but not going beyond insisting or initiating.
- Minimize Campfire Impacts (Keep fires small, enjoy a candle lantern for light, use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand, burn all woods and coals to ash, put out campfires completely). Create enough fire what the surrounding or a certain things need. Lighting a fire is as good as providing light to see things clearly at the dark side. Metaphorically, it is the same as cheering others to make things delightful. Make sure of anything which is cheerful and not hurting nor offensive that may only drive out anger. Do not create so much fire or intense conversations; rather stick to limits and show enough or exact entertainment. Respond well to attitude of others and analyze the setting first before getting into actions or starting a fire.
- Respect wildlife (Observe wildlife from a distance, never feed animals, protect wildlife, avoid wildlife during sensitive times). This relates to the line that says “for your eyes only”. Let us not drag or grab anything unless permitted. Respect others’ habitat in as much that you are respected and accommodated. In terms of characteristics, take into consideration that every individual is unique. Thus, always interact politely with someone despite his/her disclosed behavior. Carefully utter words and come into gentle strokes that will not ruin someone’s ego tending to contribute violent reactions. Be conscious on someone’s sensitivity.
- Be considerate of other visitors (protect the quality of their experience, Be courteous, yield to other users on the trail, step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock, let nature sounds prevail, avoid loud voices and noises). In the same way with respecting others, be reminded of the ethic of reciprocity “Do not do unto others, what you do not want others do unto you”. Thus, be down to earth often times so others will courteously treat you. Present procedures that finds beneficial for either parties or even much better giving way or offer most of it to others than grabbing much for one. Furthermore, do not talk often or at all times and absolutely give time to listen, listen to others opinion and proposals.
Significantly, anyone can be guided with the seven principles as there can be no harm being channeled for a better outcome. These principles are much helpful in guiding our daily routines to start up and end up the day with delight in serving others and the way others had served us (LCRM)###.