Published on August 7th, 2013 | by gatsbyadmin0
Leave No Trace
Every summer, we head into the great outdoors. Here in Colorado folks spend their days hiking, biking, climbing and rafting, and their nights camping under the stars or getting down to their favorite tunes at outdoor venues like State Bridge and Mishawaka. Arts and music festivals are bringing people together in beautiful settings around the world for celebration and self-expression. Connection with nature is always beneficial for us, but could those beautiful places say the same for their experiences with us? Veteran campers, backpackers and festival-goers will be familiar with the term Leave No Trace, but it seems many people are unaware of the need for respectful relationships with place. By sharing the importance of this principle, setting a strong example, and communicating with our peers we can shift this reality and create a stronger symbiosis between outdoor adventurers and the places they enjoy.
Whether we’re enjoying the challenge of new rock face to climb, or the exhilaration of dancing all night to that DJ we’ve always wanted to see, when we get out and enjoy our environment we become more connected to it, and hopefully, more accountable to it as well. The principle of Leave No Trace is to respect that environment by leaving no trace of our presence. the festival Lightning in a Bottle plays on its own name with their Leave No Trace slogan “Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful”…taking it one step further as well by encouraging participants to not only leave their campsites as they found them, but to be active participants in making their environment more beautiful. The idea is to “Pack it in, pack it out”, leaving no litter behind. When camping alone out in the woods, this may seem more intuitive, whereas at gatherings and larger events we often get caught in the trap of believing “someone else will pick it up”
Yes, someone will. Most likely a volunteer, working a long shift in exchange for their ticket. Or a festival producer, in the days following the fest, after they’ve poured their heart into the event for countless hours already. Or a bird that thinks your glowstick will go great in its nest. However, this trickle-down effect isn’t the modeling we want to do if our goal is to focus on accountabiliy, community and sustainability. A recent example comes from Gratifly, an inspiring and heart-centered event held this July Avalon, South Carolina–It is, notably, the first festival of its kind in the SouthEast. This transformational festival had an intention of being a Leave No Trace event, yet the clean-up crew faced bags and bags of trash, abandoned camping gear, and more, all left behind in the wooded camp sites. The lead photo of this article was taken at the camp site and posted to FaceBook. It is lesson learning time for the East Coast festival community, and for all of us, really. Everyone can do their part by stream-lining and sorting their own waste, and by encouraging peers to do the same.
When we take responsibility for our waste we show gratitude for the environment as a whole, the settings of our gatherings and adventures, and our communities, respectively. As a media partner for the up-coming Arise Festival, to occur in Loveland, Colorado August 14th-18th, we encourage partipicants to check out the Greening Efforts there, and to carry the Leave No Trace principle with you into the mountains.
With 4Pieces, we encourage folks to pick up at least 4 pieces of trash each day, photographing the action and posting it to Instagram with the 4Pieces hashtag. Thats 1,460 pieces per year, per person…plus the impact that comes through the social media ripple. You can join the movement any time….and when you head out to concerts and festivals, be sure to get your 4Pieces….or more!
In a similar vein, the vibrant and vivacious MOOPsquad brings their blend of dance, games, and theater into community outreach at events like LiB, Envision and–the ultimate LNT event, Burning Man. These environmental warrior vixens use play and personality to shift consciousness and breed a new culture of mutual accountability instead of mutual blame. With positive encouragement, and a cultural shift that is based upon respect, we can make this world a little greener and a little more beautiful for us all.