“The campsite rule: Leave the campsite in better condition than you found it.”
If you were in Boy or Girl Scouts, the campsite rule was one of the basic lessons you learned. It’s simple to mentally grasp and requires just a little bit of extra effort to implement. In a nutshell, before leaving the campground: extinguish any leftover campfire embers and bury the ashes; pick up any litter and dispose or carry it out with you; if prior campers left any rubbish behind, dispose of it too. The idea is to leave the site cleaner and safer for the next people. It’s good outdoor housekeeping.
The campsite rule can be applied to almost every aspect of our lives, from cleaning our home or apartment to interpersonal relationships. Now would be a good day to implement the campsite rule to our planetary home, because today is Kyoto Protocol Day. (After adoption and ratification, the agreement went into force on February 16, 2005.)
“In short, the Kyoto Protocol operationalizes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing industrialized countries and economies in transition to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets. The Convention itself only asks those countries to adopt policies and measures on mitigation and to report periodically.”–Karsten Würth/Unsplash
As a whole and individually, the protocol and similar policies aim to make us more accountable for how we treat the environment. We are encouraged to be mindful of our lifestyles and how they affect our local and global ecosystems. This will hopefully help us move away from environmentally harmful consumption and pollution patterns.
Those of us who have been active in the environmental movement since around our teens have seen how our words and efforts have been lost on the biggest transgressors. The overconsumption trend slows in fits and starts. Environmental protection measures are implemented and enforced in half-hearted ways. Reversing our habits has been an excruciatingly slow process.
It’s not only in terms of global climate change, it is mindful use of our geographical space to grow food for our rapidly multiplying human population. Something needs to change or nature will do it for us. There have been numerous symptoms of the state of nature’s ill-health for several years. They promise to become more severe in the years to come. If we continue in the same unenthusiastic or environmentally hostile manner we won’t have the society we love. In fact, civilization is at risk if we destroy the environment.
Warnings about our demise have been floating around in modern society for the past several decades. These warnings go largely unheeded. Many folks are tired of hearing and reading them. There are contrarians who increase consumption and pollution. I wonder if there is a way to get past such a self-destructive mindset. If you’ve read this far into this little article, you know I’m preaching to the choir.
We must discover ways to involve and engage the naysayers in the effort to preserve the environment and save the Earth. After all, the forests, the wetlands, rivers, lakes, oceans, mountains, the atmosphere, and the climate are excellent teachers if we take the time to listen to their lessons. What lessons will we learn that will help preserve our global home?
A good start would be to practice the campsite rule every day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. “Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.”