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Apr 21, 2014

Chattanooga, Tennessee: As Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, we are lucky to teach people of all personalities, in a variety of different places all over the country - students with different levels of engagement in the outdoors. The beauty of Leave No Trace is that it is relevant and applicable to anyone at any level; whether you are mountaineering or simply walking your dog at the local park - you don’t need to be an outdoor expert to see the benefits of practicing Leave No Trace outside!

However, we often teach youth in urban areas that have very little interaction with wild and natural settings. The ethics of Leave No Trace often don’t make sense in their minds because they see the outdoors as something separate from their urban realities. So how do we bridge the gap between the city and the woods?

A very important piece of practicing Leave No Trace in urban areas is being able to understand the connection we have as a community to our outdoor spaces. Think about what we need to live a happy, and healthy life in the city:

·      Clean air to breathe

·      Clean water to drink

·      Healthy food to eat

·      Energy to run the places where we live, learn, and work

Where do these things come from? Air, water, food and energy all come from nature. Without nature, Earth wouldn't be such a lovely home for us to live and play.

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MAKING THE CONNECTION BY UNDERSTANDING RESOURCES

Did you know everyday each person throws away about 5 pounds of trash? This adds up to a lot of garbage and wasted materials! Where does all our garbage go? Trash that is not recycled goes to a landfill. Landfills are vast patches of land where trash is taken. The purpose of a landfill is to bury the trash in such a way that it will be isolated from groundwater, will be kept dry, and will not be in contact with air. Watch this video: Where Does My Trash Go?

Recycled goods are products made of earth’s raw materials (wood, metal, etc.). These products can and should be recycled. At a recycling center, materials can be crushed, broken down, and later turned into new cans, bottles, and paper.

Earth's raw materials are finite. This means we only have so much of everything, and eventually it will all get used up. Practicing the 3R’s helps conserve our resources.

Where does our drinking water come from? Water comes from rivers, lakes and streams. Where does litter usually end up when it’s thrown on the ground and not a trashcan? Into our rivers, lakes and streams. Water sources for hundreds of millions of people – are being seriously depleted or dangerously polluted. Approximately 40 percent of the rivers in the U.S. are too polluted for fishing and swimming. Water gives us many things - food, hydration, and energy to make things we use and wear. We are facing dirtier, unsafe water and there is a very big risk of water shortages and scarcity. Watch this video: All Hands on Earth

Leave No Trace means taking simple steps to protect our planet. We can use the Seven Leave No Trace Principles as guidelines to help us reduce, reuse, and recycle our resources whether we are indoors or outdoors. When we use Leave No Trace Ethics, we can redefine the day-to-day choices we make and in turn protect the vital resources we need to live.

Stay tuned for more ideas on bridging the gap between nature and urban settings!

 

Ninjas for Nature – dani & roland

 

Leave No Trace’s Dani and Roland Mott are part of the 2014 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, The North Face, REI, Smartwool and Yakima. 

Apr 18, 2014

The dangers from smoking don’t stop once a cigarette is stubbed out. Cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals and carcinogens that pollute the environment. They’re poisonous to people, wildlife and can contaminate water. Yet they’re the number one littered item on US roadways and the number one item found on beaches and in waterways worldwide.

April 22nd is Earth Day, and in observation of this day, Leave No Trace continues our campaign with the American Legacy Foundation to rethink cigarette butt litter. We have put together a list of reasons to kick those butts, but not to the curb. These places should be butt-free every day because of the negative impact on the environment, various ecosystems, and ultimately our collective public health.

  1. In the forests – Animals are wildlife eaters and could ingest the toxins from cigarette waste if we’re not careful.
  2. Parks and playgrounds – Eliminating toxic butts from the reach of children is common sense. Kids could put these butts in their mouths, or play with them in ways you might not want them to.
  3. The ocean and other waterways – In 2010, more than one-million cigarettes were removed from American beaches and inland waterways during the International Coastal Cleanup. Leached chemicals from these products can damage aquatic ecosystems. The only butts on beaches we should see are not the ones from cigarettes.
  4. National landmarks and parks – America is beautiful. Let’s remember to keep it that way by tossing butts into bins.
  5. Your driveway – Cigarette butts on your driveway can end up leaching toxic chemicals into the soil of your front yard or into the water that impacts public water supplies.
  6. The road – Though you don’t want that cigarette polluting your car, you also don’t pollute the environment. It is not ok to throw that toxic butt out of the window.

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We have all been entrusted to protect our planet, yet cigarette butts remain one of the only socially acceptable forms of littering left. The billions of littered cigarette butts annually amount to enormous environmental and public health threat that our communities are left to pay for. Let’s rethink cigarette butts this Earth Day and create a healthier world for the future.

Susy Alkaitis, Deputy Director for Leave No Trace

 

Apr 17, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park, California- Graffiti on boulders, cliff lines, and shelters is unfortunately an issue in JTNP in Southern California. Boulders along the road into the park, at the campgrounds, and at picnic areas are marred with spray paint or carvings. There are certain impacts that are caused by a lack of knowledge or care such as choosing improperly placed campsites or people who don’t realize how long the fruit peel they just threw on to the ground will last for. Spray painting a rock in a national park or carving something into a tree or rock is a crime and disrupts the pristine environment that the park service is trying to sustain.

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Boulders can be cleaned after they have been spray painted; yet it is not a complete fix and residues will still remain. Park managers in multiple parks have had to close areas because of vandalism from defacing rocks and structures with spray paint. All parts of a national park are protected under federal law from graffiti vandalism.

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At the Center we encourage the use of the Authority of the Resource when you catch someone doing something less than Leave No Trace. Joshua Tree National Park encourages visitors to help prevent this form happening. Rangers cannot be everywhere and need the support of the public. JTNP encourages visitors to not approach people vandalizing rock faces, but to record the time, date, license plate numbers and what the person looks like.

Carving into a tree allows insects to invade or can kill the tree if enough people remove enough bark. We encourage people to use pictures and sketches to remember that they have been to a certain area, rather then leave their mark.  By leaving your mark on a tree, you encourage the accumulative impact of others doing it as well.

Thanks for reading and remember to be like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace.

Pat and TJ

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2014 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, The North Face, REI, Smartwool and Yakima.

Apr 16, 2014

In celebration of Earth Day, Grand Trunk is donating 10-percent of online sales in April to support Leave No Trace.

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