Are ethical adventures really so important?
Life is best when you embrace your surroundings and turn it into an adventure. Even better than that, an ethical adventure. Fill your days with as many new experiences as possible in the natural world, all the while you can fall for a new hobby, become part of a community, improve your health and build your confidence.
Whether it’s exhilarating or relaxing, clambering up peaks, swimming in oceans, cycling through valleys or running through the hills each Sunday with a local group, cramming your days with adventure will fuel excitement in every aspect of your life. You just need to make sure to kick back the duvet and get out there.
Life should be an adventure. Life can be an adventure. Life must be an adventure. But, your adventure can be whatever you want it to be, it’s just a state of mind. Embrace new things and don’t be afraid of leaving your comfort zone, opt for something that makes you forget to check your phone, away from the same familiar four walls.
The crucial part is, that you get outside. Absorbed in the trees, mountains or waters, with natural sounds kissing your ears and beautiful wildlife moving beside you. It’s this alongside outdoor pursuits which give that exhilarating feeling you’ll keep coming back for.
Supercharge Your Appreciation for the Natural World
There’s a big reason we go on about outdoor pursuits and it’s not just because we like getting mucky and eating peanut butter, jam and banana sandwiches in the wilderness. Finding a passion for activities like hiking, climbing, cycling or camping is a sure-fire way to supercharge your appreciation for the natural world.
During these activities, you become absorbed in your outdoor surroundings, realising their importance and remembering how reliant upon them we are. It’s almost impossible not to feel compelled to protect them.
We didn’t evolve to spend life indoors and there’s nothing money can buy that can match the feeling of being surrounded by a vibrant natural habitat. Spending time in nature helps you remember these things, and, what better way to spend time in nature than embarking on an adventure.
So, at a time when our planet is changing faster than can be understood, ecosystems are failing and wildlife disappearing – now is the time for ethical adventures!
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What makes an adventure ethical?
I think we’ve probably gathered a double helping of adventure in life is crucial, the next step is making it ethical. As outdoor fanatics, it’s especially important to tread responsibly as you’re often exploring some of the most fragile parts of the world. It’s these places where small actions can make a really big difference. And, it’s more than just your actions on the day.
At Veggie Vagabonds, our idea of an ethical adventure is one that is a) sustainable in its preparation and execution, and, b) free from the cruelty of animal products.
It’s about making sure your time in the natural world doesn’t inadvertently put a strain on the environment and its inhabitants. This doesn’t mean automatically becoming tree-hugging hippies like us, however, a few more wouldn’t hurt!
How YOU Can Take Sustainable Steps
From your outdoor gear, your chosen destination, when you go, how you go, what you eat… every part of a trip can be planned and carried out with consideration for our big mamma Earth. It doesn’t have to be hard and we’re not suggesting trying to change everything all in one go. Life is about baby steps. Go slowly, introduce new things, it’ll become second-nature in no time at all and boy will it be worth it. Below are some simple ways we can all start moving towards…
1. Most importantly… GET OUTSIDE!
In today’s world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the consequences of our actions. Yes, everything we do has an impact but some actions can be positive.
We wholeheartedly believe the most important thing you can do is get outside. You might need to buy new equipment every now and again, you might need to travel to a natural area or even need to eat more because of the energy you use, but, if you do things properly, it can be the catalyst for profound change.
This can be the first big step towards a feeling of nature-loving, getting the ball rolling to realise the importance of our environment. After this, the thought of damaging these incredible landscapes will shock you to the core, it’s almost impossible to stop it. And, once it does start, all other sustainable steps come naturally.
2. Planning is key
Whatever you’re getting up to in the great outdoors, respecting and considering your local surroundings starts at home before you’ve even hit the trail. Spend some time planning to ensure you can explore sustainably.
- Pick the right location – visiting tourist hot spots can put a strain on the area, could you go somewhere off the beaten track?
- When are you going – could it be a time difficult for the local environment, like breeding or nesting season? Maybe you could visit during the low season?
- Prepare properly! Plan ahead, do some research and make sure you take everything you need to keep your time outside green.
For more planning tips, check out our Sustainable Hiking Guide which has more detailed advice
3. How are you making your way into the wild?
A biggie that is sometimes overlooked is transport. It’s all well and good being an eco-warrior on the trail, but it’s also vital to travel to and from your chosen destination with consideration for your carbon footprint.
Can you walk or cycle to the trail? Opt for public transport, consider hitchhiking or carsharing and, if you do end up driving, think about offering a lift. Often taking the greener method of transport can become an adventure in itself.
4. Your outdoors gear can make a BIG difference
Did you know the clothing industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world? The sourcing and production of new gear is estimated to emit a whopping 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually. Then, you also have the animal cruelty involved with things like leather and down. Not a nice situation.
With this in mind, wearing sustainable vegan gear and buying responsibly is one of the best ways to make your adventure is ethical.
Outdoors companies like Vaude and Patagonia are coming on leaps and bounds in creating products made from recycled materials and making synthetic items more environmentally-friendly. This means us vegan adventurers can happily avoid leather and down whilst and know we’re having a positive impact for the environment and animals.
Top points to consider when finding outdoor gear:
- Do you really need it? If you’re only going to use it once, is it that important?
- Can you borrow from a friend or swap for something you own that’s no longer needed?
- Can you buy second-hand?
- Does that company you’re buying from use responsibly-sourced or recycles material materials?
- Can you buy in person rather than online to avoid delivery and packaging?
- Buy something that will last – Invest in a good-quality item and you’ll it with you for life!
- Can you go for a vegan option that avoids animal cruelty
You’ll find a complete guide to sustainable outdoor gear here – how to protect your current equipment, nasty chemicals and materials to watch out for, how to find the right new gear, plus loads more!
5. Food glorious food
Food is fuel for life, especially one filled with outdoor pursuits. This means keeping your belly happy is crucial for making the most of your time in the wilderness. It also makes food a big part of the sustainable process.
Opting for locally-grown, plant-based foods that are free from plastic packaging can be one of the single most powerful steps towards protecting the planet. It’s a natural move towards making your adventures ethical.
Whether it’s snacks for the trail, a feast on the camp stove or lunch at the summit, bring munch that will keep you energy-filled and the environment smiling.
Check out this list of the best vegan hiking food to fuel your next trip.
6. Actions speak louder than words
You’ve planned your trip carefully, picked the right destination, travelled there responsibly, taken the right gear and packed the right foods… now all that’s left is your actions on the day.
There are loads you can do whilst in nature to ensure your adventures are as ethical as possible but don’t feel you have to juggle it all at once. Incorporate the considerations below into your trip and you’re all set to go!
- Leave no trace – whatever you brought with you, take it away. That includes biodegradable things like fruit skins and apple cores.
- Dispose of your waste properly
- Only uses sustainable suncream and ointments.
- Respect the land – Keep to the path being careful not to disturb the local wildlife and foliage.
- Lead by example – spread the word! You’re an eco-warrior championing an ethos that can change the world – share it with your fellow travellers!
6. Go further than leave no trace
Seeing crisp packets on the side of the trail or plastic bottles floating in rivers has unfortunately become an all too familiar sight. Once there are a few bits of litter many people see this as a green light to dump their own waste. This can easily be prevented.
Not contributing to the problem is the first step but you can go even further than that. If everyone who went hiking, cycling, paddling, swimming etc. picked up a few pieces of litter each time this would have a huge effect.
Awesome initiatives like #plasticpatrol are helping to inspire people to do exactly this, and it’s having an almighty ripple. On your next ethical adventure, think about taking a small bag so you can pick up a few bits of litter you find. Tell your friends to do the same, spread the word. If we can do this in the masses a tiny effort can have an astounding impact.
Have any other sustainable outdoors trip? Share them in the comments below!
Can Ethical Adventures Save the World?
You’ve got itchy feet, you’re feeling inspired, now it’s time to get out there and explore! If I’ve said it 1,000 times I’ll say it 1,000 more, the most important point to take away is get outside and get that appreciation flowing.
Every sustainable step in this article is important, just start by getting outside. Introduce the other tips slowly, believe me, it will all come naturally. You might even end up tree-hugging hippies like us!
If you have any questions or tales from your own ethical adventures drop us a comment below. We love getting inspired by your stories and are always happy to connect with fellow adventure enthusiasts!