Winter has arrived, and for many people, it's an irresistible desire to go outside and get some fresh air, since it can improve your overall well-being.
According to Statistics Canada, 70% of the population participates in outdoor activities at least once a year. Nevertheless, the environmental impacts that are linked to these activities should not be forgotten.
But what is environmental impact?
According to the Agency for Environment and Energy Management, every product we use has an impact on the environment. Despite all the precautions we take, production, distribution and consumption processes will always have multiple consequences for the environment. However, there are many ways to reduce our footprint.
It begins with preparation!
A well-prepared activity is always fun and successful. During your preparation time, you should also consider the impact of your decisions on the environment, and that starts with your choice of equipment.
Outdoor product designs have developed immensely over the years, and many of them are now made with synthetic fibres that provide both heat preservation and impermeability. While this is a step forward with regard to the use of animal fibres, these synthetic fibres contain a volatile chemical component called PFC that is potentially harmful to the environment and human health (source: Greenpeace Report). Most major brands want it removed from their products by 2020, but it’s always good to read labels before you purchase any of these products. Plus, they’re made from petroleum and negatively impact water quality, as they release synthetic fibres with each wash (have you heard of Guppyfriend laundry bags?). Also, most sports products can easily be fixed, so think twice before entirely replacing your equipment.
As for clothing, Picture Organic Clothing offers the perfect outdoor clothing collection. Products offered by TenTree, Rose Buddha and Oraki can also be great options for milder temperatures, or for layering.
Where are we going? And how?
When hiking, it’s important to stay on marked trails and to leave no trace behind. We’re not alone on Earth and we must respect the natural habitats of plant and animal species. Several options exist to help you find the perfect trail. For national parks, you can find some valuable information on the Parks Canada website, and for provincial trails, Rando Québec is a great source.
And then comes transportation. Driving separately? Forget it! Ride with family or carpool partners! Or better yet… use the public transportation services offered by companies like Parkbus. They help thousands of Canadians access the great outdoors through public transportation. We LOVE. Proximity is also a factor when talking about impact. It’s common sense: getting to a hiking trail that’s 5000 km away from your home has much higher impacts. Enjoy local trails! And why not bike to get there?
Choosing the right activity… for you and the environment!
Trying new, adventurous activities is always fun, but we should still be mindful of the environment! Walking, running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ski hiking ... so many fun options exist! You can also contact the team at Honesca, whose goal is to promote outdoor activities while raising public awareness of sustainable development issues.
Whatever the activity, we must always respect the golden rule: leave no trace behind. You can follow the recommendations set by Leave No Trace Canada (no fruit picking, use toilets, etc.). The obvious goal is to preserve the quality of biodiversity and trails.
Phones don’t always work in the great outdoors… and it’s better that way!
Although technology can be so useful, it’s also important to take a break. The great outdoors can help you do just that. So let’s turn off our cellphones, live in the moment, observe, explore and share!
Keeping memories of your outings is also important, and beyond mere mental images, you might be tempted to whip out your phone and snap THE perfect photo for your living room. If this is the case, keep a safe distance from wildlife and respect their territory. Don’t use drones because they scare animals away, ruin the view for others and make a lot of noise.
It’s up to us!
Share your eco-friendly habits! Measures to protect the environment are essential, and impak offers a solution that is both economically viable and responsible in terms of its environmental and social impact. We want nature to remain a place of discovery and wonder in which humans can harmoniously co-exist.
We invite you to join us by creating your impak account, which will allow you to discover eco-friendly companies near you.
In the meantime, go outside and have fun!
Photo credits: Hugo Allain