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Tree Patter-on-the-Backer

posted Dec 27, 2016, 12:10 PM by Dustin Thomas

I certainly wouldn't call myself an environmentalist. And, I can't imagine anybody who knows me using that label either. I burn fossil fuels with as much abandon as anybody else. My garage has high octane toys sharing space with paddle boards and mountain bikes. I put a trash can full of who-knows-what out at the curb each week to be hauled off to the landfill. I shower for as long as I want and rarely think twice about where the warm water is coming from or where it is now going.

With all that being said, I am an outdoorsman and I realize that we must protect our environment in order to preserve it for future generations (as well as for ourselves a few years down the road). The natural world is amazing and powerful, and it can overcome a lot - but just because someone can take a punch doesn't mean we should swing wildly every chance we get. I encourage everyone to make a little extra effort to learn about how their actions affect the planet, and to work towards even small changes to lessen their impact. I have identified some general areas where I am working to become a better Earthling. First up is my use of plastics.

Plastics. This is a complicated issue without a lot of "right" answers. I used to burn a lot of plastic in the campfire; turns out I was not only polluting my own air but also the air of future campers who used the same fire ring. We've all seen pictures of sea animals tangled in webs of our plastic refuse. That doesn't seem good either. Paper or plastic? Cut down another tree or kill a dolphin? Like any real issue, it isn't as cut and dry as some would have you believe. I don't have the answers, but having a better understanding of the questions has pushed me to try to use reusable bags at the grocery store (when I remember to bring them from the house). A little extra effort washing reusable containers in lunch boxes and on camping trips means less plastic being left somewhere. Plastic recycling may not be an ideal process yet but it's better than doing nothing - I also drag a blue recycle bin to the curb every two weeks. You know the saying: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." I may not be Superman, but I feel good about saving the world each time I make a better plastic decision.