Be Aware of Your Footprint
Be Aware of Your Footprint
We often think footprint is just that, a simple footprint on the ground when we walk, or a track when after a wheelchair. Yet to be aware of your footprint is important when you travel, as we know the aim is to leave no trace behind.
The more tourists visits a natural area such as forests, rainforest, wetlands and the like, the more likely the ecosystem will be threatened, simply due to the increase of visitors. So it’s important to consider our natural environment when we explore, to maintain a strong ecosystem and biodiversity for which the natural landscape exists.
Yet we know it’s easy to be swept up on the moment when we travel, in a new location or environment, we may not look around carefully as we should. We can unfortunately also travel with a short-term mindset, as we don’t live at a destination, we don’t always see the negative impacts travel can leave at a destination.
Physical Impact on the Natural Environment
Your physical footprint does have an impact on the natural environment when travelling, however this can be managing with your increase awareness when you get around. This could be the impact you make on the ground or in the water. Simple acts like when you walk or cycle to adhere to designated pathways, as trampling on vegetation causes reduced regeneration, loss of ground cover plants decreases air and water permeability, causing soil erosion in the long term.
Same goes for marine environments, when snorkelling or diving, be aware not to go too close to coral reefs or when a boat to be cautious of where you place your anchor beneath your vessel. Removal of shells for souvenirs can negatively impact native species habitats, as well as lead onto sand erosion on beaches. If you take a shell away from a beach, so can everyone else, which in time will leave a negative impact on the beaches.
Coexist with the Natural Environment
The second component of your physical footprint, is being aware how travellers and the natural environment can coexist together for a mutual positive outcome, and an outcome which the traveller experiences the natural beauty, whilst allowing the environment to grow and even be restored to its original state.
One method for coexisting is to utilise National Parks, as their purpose is to conserve and regenerate nature, whilst allowing people to experience the natural environment. This ensures both people and nature can coexist and benefit, with park fees being reinvested into the area, and visitors enjoying the landscape and park facilities. A win win outcome.
Simple Steps to be Aware of Your Footprint
So to be aware of your footprint when travelling is important, however thankfully it doesn’t take too much effort, so we and the natural environment can both have a strong future.
It starts with being aware of your surroundings and be conscious of what is touching the earth when you walk, cycle, swim etc. Look out for signage to guide where you can and cannot go, then adhere to the requests, as they are there for a good reason, sometimes even for safety reasons. Be prepared to possibly pay entrance fees for some parks, knowing the money will goes towards conservation of the natural area.
Remember… think f the future traveller just like you… they will thank you for the changes you make today for all future travellers.
For some more tips to help travel more sustainable, check out the Travel Tips page.