Tony went on a health kick when he hit 40. He got into running and kept at it until he lost the paunch he had for the past decade or so, and racked up hundreds of kilometers of mileage per week. He even joined 100+-kilometer races a few years afterwards.

At around the same time, he felt a desire to add a civic dimension to his sporting pursuits. One such inspiration he had involved picking up just 5 pieces of plastic trash littered on the street as he went about his day. And he did this every day and posted his handiwork on social media to get his friends to follow his eco-warrior lead and hopefully let the habit catch on. He later named this environmental advocacy the 5-Pieces Habit, which he later adapted into a monthly trash pick-up run with runner friends.

Over time, Tony’s save-Mother-Nature efforts extended into other areas of his life. He later became more mindful of the amount of plastics he used daily and the waste segregation in his own household and community. He went on to advocate for the use of less plastic, encouraging friends to avoid using straws, plastic packaging, and even plastic utensils. The gyms he went to and other establishments he got in touch with he encouraged to use less plastic.

He also targeted the education of children on good waste disposal habits. Needless to say, within 2 years, Tony appeared to be well on his way to becoming a fixture in the environmental advocacy arena in his community. And it all began with that fitness kick he had nearly a decade ago.

Hiking and Love for Nature

Photo taken at Montricher to Mont Tendre

You probably are wondering what all this has got to do with hiking. For one, it’s hard to find a hiker who doesn’t like nature sceneries at all. And hiking does require some sort of fitness level to be done competently and enjoyably, so it does qualify as a healthy hobby.

And when you’re exposed to all that beauty in the Swiss Alps, it’s hard not to think about environmental causes and the matter of taking care or preserving what Mother Nature has to offer.

However, there’s a real tendency to let those aspirations remain a desire and not become a reality. Are you guilty of this? Or are you like Tony?

More Reasons to Hike

Photo taken at Reculet

Here’s the good news – hiking is an eco-friendly way to get around, especially up in the Swiss Alps. It doesn’t involve gas emissions or require any other source of energy but your own – that is if you’re truly practicing the leave no trace ethics.

Further, in the Swiss Alps, there are ways to get around that isn’t as tough on Mother Nature – there are solar-powered ski lifts and electric vehicles that can ferry you from one point to another.

That being said, hiking, instead of going on a road trip by car or some other motor-powered vehicle, is kinder to the planet. And you can count yourself as among those who are doing something, even just a little, for Mother Nature.

But that’s not the only thing you can do for the preservation of the environment.

What Others Have Done

I take my own bags to the grocery store,” said one blogger. “I use cloth napkins and hankies and refuse to use paper towels, opting instead for sponges and rags. I print out proof sheets from my computer on the backside of discarded paper. When I used to drink coffee, I used the same paper bag day in and day out for café con leches-to-go, my record being 65 days worth of caffeine-carrying with one single bag.”

Meanwhile, 60% of the voters in Graubuenden have voted against hosting the 2019 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz. Although no specific reason behind the rejection was mentioned, it appears that the sporting event’s impact on the Swiss Alps landscape and environment was one of the factors considered.

We’d like to hear what you have done or are still doing for Mother Nature, especially on your hikes. Let us know in the comments!


3 thoughts

  1. I’m like Tony. I was on the Costa Blanca and I picked up one piece of glass from a beach. When I went snorkelling I tried to see fish and saw very few and those that I saw were no bigger than my hand. At one moment I did see a jellyfish, or at least that’s what a sea turtle would have taken it for. It was a plastic bag so I grabbed it with my hands and scrunched it up and put it in my semi-drysuit sleeve. I continued snorkelling and when I was walking back to the car I saw a plastic bag and picked this one up too. During that activity I picked up two pieces of rubbish.

    On other activities I have picked up litter. It’s not something that I do daily. What I do consistently is take away everything that I transported with me for food and drink. Sometimes I reuse the same bottle for a multitude of hikes before throwing it away.

    Recycling is something that I have been doing for years. I also frequently drive people with me to activities to lower the group’s carbon footprint.


    1. So glad to hear about your own eco-friendly moves, Warza! Your personal efforts do contribute to Mother Nature’s preservation. Hopefully other people from your own circle of influence can follow your example!


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