Taking Care of our Environment is so very important. Without it we are nothing. In today's day and age we hear so very much about be Carbon Neutral, keep our skies blue & go green. But how much of it is really geared towards being a marketing promo and how much is geared towards truly making a difference.
Take for example the "We're Going Green" contest - where every ballot is paper and there are 100,000 of them - how green is that?
In caching it becomes an even more aspect as we as cachers tend to drive to each and every cache that we get and in some cases if a prize sounds like we want it - well we'll even go out of our way and add a higher carbon footprint in search of a chance for that prize.
Well in caching I believe that we need to take responsibility and do our part for going green. What does that mean in caching? Well we all have our own views on this. Mine are only mine - they are no more then that - my opinions - so what would be an "Carbon Neutral" way to cache in our view?
Let's start with a caching container - If there is anyway possible it should be a recycled container. Those that know our preference is an Ammo box - but there are many other options - make your own from recycled wood. But before you go buy that next fancy lock & lock take a look at what your other options are. Is there something else that can fit where you want it and protect the contents? But alas Peanut Butter containers are a bit dicey as they may always hold the scent and attract animals.
Next up is the "Swag" that you put in it - Is the place you are putting the cache "animal safe"? Would people be tempted to trade inapproprate items in the cache that could attract animals? If so please make sure to leave a note - perhaps consider not leaving any Swag in it. Last instead of buying new "dollar store items" are there recycled items in your home that you can use? I'm not talking McDonald's toys - but what about Candle holders, coasters, tapes - we all donate tons of items to thrift stores do you have some that can fit in a cache? What about CITO containers? What about leaving rechargable batteries & a charger as an FTF prize instead of doing a coin run for a promo? (See the facts below on battery use and impact on our carbon footprint)
So do we have all this so far?
Next up - the all important Cache Placement! First is the cache container approrate for the area? Do you have a micro in the forest - WHY?? if you place a micro in a stump the stump will be destroyed by people looking. Are you placing it where a "geo trail" could be impact the area? If a person who isn't a cacher find it and get concerned about where you have placed it? Make sure you really think about how many people will show up to the cache and what impact they will have.
It's also important to make sure that you return on a regular basis to check to see if there are any impacts and take any action that you need to fix the situation. We all like to make caches fun and a challenge - but make sure you can help guide the cacher - offer dial a hints, puzzles, mysterious clues!
Next up - how are you going to get to your caches? Are you biking? bussing? biking? Let's be honest folks - most of us drive to the caches - as noble as we think we all are in our efforts if we truly do a pulse check on our behaviours we are far from doing the right think.
I suggest that you take a look at your cache to cache distance in any available calculator - ours is about 14,000 at this point for mileage driven alone. Based a Carbon Calculator our Caching Carbon Footprint (not including containers and other items that we use for caching) We have used 5.57 tons. So how can we offset that? Well there are many things we can do to help offset that.
We can plant trees, help in building windmills - it is a personal choice as to what we do - what is your choice? Tell me if you had a choice to either get a gift for finding a cache or a donation to help offset your footprint - what would you choose?
Let's talk about what to do once you get a cache - do you make a point of carrying bags with you to clean up what you find left by others? I hate to say this but no matter how "green" you live your life, no matter how carbon neutral we try to be - we each have a responsibility to clean up after others. Do you really want that garbage to leach into the lake, and why is it I hear from others "well I didn't leave it". Being Green is just as much about fixing what problems we currently have as it is in being preventative. CITO every day in every way - there is a really cool cache labelled Davis Lake Clean up Cache. The day the last big cache launch in BC occured - we opted instead to go to this one, don't know why but it made me feel so good about helping that lake. I think that others should place caches in areas that need help.
Last but not least - what are we teaching our children? Do we always lead by example? Do we reward them for doing the right things for the right reasons? or are we rewarding them by encourage them to do something because they are going to get a carrot? What happens when they get older and there is no carrot?
Oh yes - one last note - USE RECHARAGEABLE BATTERIES! Do you have any idea how many batteries are in the dumps and in our ground because people throw them away. Think about it - 2 batteries per day of caching in many cases - some more. If you multiply that by 50,000 cachers * 50 days a year = 5 MILLION batteries a year. An independent study conducted for battery manufacturer UNIROSS estimates that using a disposable battery to create 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity has a global warming impact equivalent to driving a car 283 miles; using a rechargeable battery is equivalent to driving 10 miles.
I know that my opionions don't resemble everybodies - but if we are going to go "Green" then let's at least be honest with ourselves about what "Going Green" is.
Off to go explore another tangent