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We've started up this new forum as a place to talk about how to make our programs greener and more sustainable, both on the trail and off. To lead off the conversation is an excellent research paper by Paul Van Horn and students from Northland College that's now posted on Outdoor Ed.
What does it mean to be sustainable? What does sustainability itself even mean? The terms "sustainable," "green," and "organic" have become the cultural phenomenon of today. Once people began to realize the projected idea that taking away from the land more than what could be given back was detrimental not only to the health of the planet, but also affected humankind as well, the revolution began. Ecological consciousness has spread, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to create a more sustainable society. One of the hardest industries to restructure is the outdoor recreation industry. So much of what the outdoor industry represents and supports involves some very unsustainable, anti-"green," non-organic processes, opposite of the values held by the majority, if not all, of the individuals in the industry.
While we all utilize Leave No Trace principles in the wilderness, making outdoor programming sustain able is far more than only reducing our impact while we are on the trail. Paul Van Horn and students at Northland College have taken up the challenge of how to make all of our programs more sustainable with an incredibly thought-provoking paper that offers a working model to assess your program's current sustainability index and to think in concrete ways about how to acommplish your program mission while keeping principles of sustainability at the forefront. Read the full article...and download the accompanying files, and talk about it on the new Leave No Trace & Sustainability Forum.
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