Want to enjoy the outdoors in a sustainable way but wondering how?
Here are 7 simple ideas to get you going on the right road
When planning your trip, think about how you’re going to get there and back. Is driving in a private vehicle the only option? Could you consider an alternative destination that you can get to and from by train or bus?
And it’s not just emissions that you need to consider. Parking a private vehicle without advance planning and due consideration can cause congestion, unsafe road space narrowing and blocking entrances to parks and farmland. Many of us witnessed this during the pandemic when we flocked to popular amenity areas in our cars. But with a little bit of advance planning and availing of the wealth of online resources that are available today, you might be surprised how many destinations can be reached with relative ease and convenience, using public transport.
From Dublin city centre, for example, the DART commuter train and various bus routes can whisk you to wonderful coastal destinations from Malahide to Greystones in around an hour or less.
Take the Green LUAS to Dundrum and catch a bus close to various access points along the Dublin Mountains Way.
Several commuter train and bus routes heading west are a gateway to the many towns and villages with a wealth of heritage to explore.
And if you’re towards the fitter end of the spectrum, you can keep your carbon footprint right down and make a cycling day of it, and follow the canal towpaths, for instance, or the north coastal cycle way.
2. Bring Reusable Containers
The old saying that the simplest solutions are often the best ones rings true for food and drink. A simple lunch box and reusable bottle will happily cater for a picnic lunch and snacks in between, without having to head to a shop to grab some pre-packed food and drink which generate unnecessary waste, typically plastic, that you will have to carry with you until you can dispose of responsibly later.
If it’s hot day or for whatever reason you run out of water, there is a fantastic Tap Map App by refill.ie which you can download for free, to see where you can top up with fresh drinking water, also for free!
And for cyclists, there are some excellent rainproof panier bags that will easily carry a family picnic. No better or simpler way to avoid the problem by not creating it in the first place, than bringing a reusable container with you!
3. Minimise and Take Away Waste
From tissues to banana skins, it’s hard to avoid generating a certain amount of waste.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to bring a bag or two to carry your waste with you until you can dispose of it properly at home or elsewhere. Better if it’s a compostable bag for your organic waste.
And if you’re bringing your dog with you, we all know about the importance of picking up their waste too!
4. Support Local Sustainable Businesses
Take a moment to check in advance for local businesses which operate in the community where you are headed, and better again if they can vouch sustainable practices.
A simple piece of research and you’d be surprised at how many options are available.
Visits to many examples such enterprises are incorporated into our set tours, from a café that grows its own vegetables, a distillery that makes its own gin from rowan berries picked by community volunteers on the same street, to a community run Arthur Guinness Exhibit.
5. Clothing and Equipment
In the fast consumer driven world that we live in today, in can be all too easy to take the convenient option of buying cheap and accessible clothing and equipment, and not always knowing or caring about its production methods or materials used. But this can often lead to later regret, especially when it comes to outdoor activities, when we can often end up spending more on replacing cheap goods that last a short time, as opposed to spending more on a quality product that lasts.
The mantra buy well buy once is a fitting one, and there are many suppliers now who supply good quality products in a sustainable way, such as Craghopper, Rab, Patagonia, to mention a few.
Of course, taking good regular care and maintenance pays dividends in lengthening lifespan, from waterproofing your hiking gear to keeping your bike serviced regularly.
6. Stay on the Path – But off the Beaten One!
Staying on recognised routes appropriate for the activity you are engaged in, is important both for your personal safety, as well as for the environment. Hiking on rough ground away from dedicated trails, for example, can lead to unnecessary and unwanted soil erosion, not to mind getting lost if you’re navigation skills aren’t up to scratch!
But keeping to the more popular well beaten paths can present congestion problems.
The best solution is to find those dedicated routes that are perhaps less well known and trodden, or pedalled! If time for research or sufficient local knowledge are a bit of a stretch, then you might want to consult or go with a local expert or guide. All of our tours aim to follow the less beaten paths.
You can take a look at them here at your leisure, or read any of a selection of blogs for hiking trails and cycle routes.
7. Leave No Trace
While some of the previous points touch on the Leave No Trace principles, they are worthy of mention here.
And so to the last of the 7 tips for sustainable day trips.
Leave No Trace is an organization that was founded in 1996 when the outdoor industry and the land management community responded to a call to protect our natural lands. Today it has a global reach with a strong presence in Ireland. The 7 principles are simple, self-explanatory, and well worth taking a written or mental note of when venturing into the outdoors:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Be Considerate of Others
- Respect Farm Animals
- Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
- Leave What You Find
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Minimise the Effect of Fire
MyBikeorHike fully embraces, adheres to and promotes these principles, and has completed Leave no Trace awareness training.