Monday, August 16, 2010

What's the most challenging audience?

Over the years I've found it interesting that some of the hardest people to teach about Leave No Trace are my closest friends. That's not to say that they're disinterested or don't care about protecting the places they love to recreate. Yet, I think it's easier for a friend to question a particular practice, technique or an ethic than it is for someone you don't know well or someone you just met. I have tried a variety of different approaches with my friends and what I've found is that when I tailor Leave No Trace information/education for a particular friend's style, it's often better received. That doesn't mean that it's easy but I have realized that by "picking my battles" with friends, I've made far more headway than by being dogmatic. The other key for me is to simply lead by example. If I walk through a puddle along a trail or pick up trash at a campsite or clean up a fire ring, my companions see those actions and realize that leaving no trace is easy.

What works for you?

1 comment:

Julie Trevelyan said...

Ditto about leading by example. I'm not sure which is the hardest group to teach LNT etiquette. Probably adults more than kids! Especially adults who are used to having trash cans around, an easy way of disposing of garbage than packing it out themselves.

I also tend to guilt people into it. "Look how gross that piece of toilet paper stuck on that cactus is. Some jerk who was here before us decided not to pick up after himself so now we have to. Let's not do the same thing to the next people who hike through here."

Whatever works!