Happy Earth Day... Everyday!
The saying goes that everyday is Earth Day, and it is... well we all live on this beautiful planet everyday, right? And, being on the road full-time we get to enjoy and explore so many parts of it everyday, right? So, why not celebrate Earth Day as everyday? And, you don't have to be an environmentalist or activist to make a difference in protecting our planet. Every time you visit a national park and leave it as you have found, you are protecting our earth. Every time you choose not to litter (and do you realize how many people still litter), you are protecting our earth. Every time you recycle or buy a recycled product, you are helping to protect our earth. It really is that simple. Taking a step, however small, makes a difference, a huge difference, if everyone does it. Just thinking consciously about what you are bringing into your home, and what is going out of your home makes a difference. Reducing the amount of things you buy, or simplifying your space, makes a difference. Enjoying more time outdoors, hiking, camping, and for us cleaning up those spaces because it is literally our new backyard for the week, makes a difference. Just the conscious effort to recognize that everywhere is our backyard and we all share this space and time together, makes a difference. So, thank you, for all that you do when you frequent the outdoors.
When asked why we travel full-time or what are the benefits, we almost always say that we get to have a new backyard all the time and learn hands on from a changing environment. So, it makes sense that we all think of our environment as our backyard wherever we are. We wouldn't trash up our campsite because it is our yard just as we would care for our own yard if we lived in a sticks and bricks conventional home. So, if you take that mindset everywhere, then everywhere truly becomes your backyard. And, it is. Our earth and all of her ecosystems are interconnected, it's all one big backyard. And, our family loves to explore it. It's most of the time free, it's accessible, and you really get to understand where you are by hiking or exploring your local landscape. For us nomads, it's a way for us to stay grounded and connected to the moving aspects of traveling this great earth. That's why we practice the Leave No Trace principles everywhere we go.
Leave No Trace Principles
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
And, for an easy reference for kids, follow these guidelines, and oftentimes your own kids' intuition. They know, they understand why we should protect our earth. It's their future.
Leave No Trace Principles for Kids
- Know Before You Go
- Choose The Right Path
- Trash Your Trash
- Leave What You Find
- Be Careful With Fire
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Kind To Other Visitors
Basically, if you are going to hike or camp or frequent a local park with your family, prepare for where you will be. Even for those full-timer RV'ers going from full hook-up to full hook-up, get to know your local landscape, the weather, the plants, the water sources (or lack there of), the restrictions or concerns for usage, etc. Protect your campsite as if it is your backyard, do not litter, clean it up if you find it littered, and be sure to protect natural plants and wildlife space. Leave what you find and do not take from natural habitats anything that could be serving as an animal's home or food source. Also, don't ever leave anything behind that is not part of the natural habitat, it could end up harming wildlife, or eventually the soil, plants, and groundwater. When you do build a campfire, be sure to minimize the impacts by staying within campfire rings, or building a fire on an already existing patch of dirt away from any brush, and never leave unattended. Respect wildlife and all critters' rights to their homes and their food sources, we all live together, right?
Always be sure to dispose of waste properly in the designated containers wherever you are, or pack out whatever you bring in. We have made a commitment to recycle everything that can be recycled, and people often ask us how we do that. Basically its means if we are in a local municipality that does not recycle something we know can be recycled, we store it in a container until we get to where it can be recycled. And, the same goes for composting, if it is biodegradable, and will break down back into soil, it can be composted. We basically fill a bucket with all food scraps and biodegradable material and cover it tightly with a lid until it is full and then find somewhere, just like our recycling, that will take it. Many local farms welcome compost that they can then let sit and turn into fertilizer for their soil to grow food, and you can also find composting in some municipalities, schools, and nature centers. We have a system in the RV for all recyclables and compostable materials, including small containers inside and larger containers with closed lids outside. Or, if we are out and about with our family, we may throw something in our backpack until we get home so that that item can be recycled or composted and not just trashed. Yes, it is extra leg work on our part, but yes, it is possible. And, less in a landfill is always better when we think of how much will continue to pile up from now until when our kids are grown.
Another way to dispose of your waste so that you can truly be zero waste is to bottle brick. Basically anything that cannot be recycled or composted, and is truly trash, you stuff into a cleaned out plastic bottle, and keep stuffing until it is as hard as a brick. Once it is completely full, you start on another. Yes, these bottles will pile up, but you will start to realize what it is that you are trashing, and you will start compiling a stash of free building materials to use to build something beautiful. If you are mobile and would like to do this, but don't have a use for a building material of this sort, seriously, contact me and I will find a way to get your bottle bricks to a community where they are in need of building something for free and want to support your efforts in going zero waste. Seriously, I will help you do this!!! My family of five has managed to travel with our trash from the past year so that we could go zero waste. One rubbermaid container full of bottle bricks is what we ended up with and the knowledge that anything is possible, even producing zero waste. To learn more check out Eco Womb's Zero Waste Family Project.
And, last but not least, be considerate to others, kind of fits anywhere anytime, but if someone else is enjoying the outdoors, be sure to respect their need for quiet or space or fun. We are all in this together and all essentially live together in this great big backyard we all share, so let's do everyone a favor and keep it beautiful. And, for more information check out the Leave No Trace Principles and be sure to check their calendar to see if they are doing a LNT workshop where you live.
You don't have to be an activist everyday in order to do your part to conserve and protect this amazing planet that we share together and that sustains us. And, as full-time campers and explorers and like nomads of the past, when we move from place to place, we get to know our locale, protect it and appreciate it. Buy local food that is in season wherever you live or happen to be living or vacationing at the time, explore your area by hiking with respect to the natural wildlife and habitats that live there always, and let's all do our part to leave it better than we found it, for the sake of not only the health of our kids but for the health of our environment that sustains us.
I like to think of us as nomadic locals, or "nocals", because we tend to enjoy grounding ourselves by being as close to the earth and the natural landscape that we inhabit wherever that may be at the time, or however often it changes. Since we may be locals for a few days or weeks, it helps remind us and others we are not tourists to this new locale, but all a part of this great community that we share called Earth. So, Happy Earth Day, everyday, from wherever you live or are "nocals" at the moment. And, may this beautiful planet always sustain us because of the care we take now to protect the future. Because you, too, can go green with the Eco Womb! And, I truly hope to connect with you on the road to explore somewhere beautiful!
-by Angela Malson, Eco Womb Mama Bear, as seen in Fulltime Families Magazine article, April 2013