Your Physical Footprint
Your Physical Footprint
“Travel” (verb) “go from one place to another, typically over a distance of some length” (Oxford Dictionary)
With travel comes moving in some physical form, whether it be my motor vehicle, air plane or basic walking. So to protect our physical environment when exploring and transiting to destinations, we need to be aware of the physical impact we have on the natural environment, as well as how we can coexist with the natural environment.
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, in the water or in the air. 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.
Your physical footprint does need to be seen as a negative as we travel, rather be mindful and aware of where our feet are placed when we travel, and what are stepping on underneath.