We are all aware that the activities we carry out generate an environmental impact on our planet and that this will be greater or lesser depending on our behaviour.
Climate change, fires, desertification... seem to be news of distant places caused by large industries that only seek their own benefit and in which we can do little or nothing. However, surely on more than one occasion, when we have been taking a tour or visiting a place we will have found unpleasant panoramic views of real minivertederos or areas used as improvised canvases to record our passage through that place. There are many initiatives that are emerging organizing days of cleaning or conservation in which a good number of volunteers, handbag in hand, go around the corners chosen by collecting a large amount of garbage or restoring the damage found. Any of us can do our bit by following some simple guidelines that we all know and put into practice.
A quick glance at the relationship, which we may already know, which lists the time it takes to degrade the different wastes that we may find along the way, will help us to reaffirm our good habits, so that the footprint of our step remains indelible in our memory and will surely last in some social network or other, instead of in the place where we were.
Luckily there are many of us, and every day more, who are committed to caring for, respecting and preserving the environment and the natural and cultural environments that surround us wherever we go.
When we prepare the backpack we put in it the water, the food and everything that we might need. It is inevitable to generate waste when we carry out an activity, what we can avoid is that the place where we pass becomes a real landfill. Actions as simple as carrying a garbage bag where to throw the remains of the lunch, the empty containers or the tissues of paper that we use, will contribute to avoid stamps like those that for example we can see in the Way of Santiago, where it is habitual to find unpleasant corners turned into true public baths that nobody happened to clean and to sanitize.
Respect the flora and fauna, knowing that you are really the visitor and they are the inhabitants of the place where you pass. Who has not fallen into the temptation to cut a flower or feed the animals that come to us while we have lunch? This is their habitat and it is important to alter it as little as possible so as not to come across cases such as the Garganta del Cares where the mountain goats are true experts in the art of stealing sandwiches or whatever catches their attention.
Leaving a record of our passage through natural or cultural spaces without altering them is something that today is tremendously simple. Samples of love, signatures that attest that we have been in that place or simply objects of very diverse nature that for symbolic reasons are left to their fate in a certain point of the route, are part of the not few aggressions to historical or natural places, where we can find the imprint left by previous visitors. A photo uploaded to our social networks will surely get more diffusion than writing our name on a wall or a tree, besides that it will be easier for us to remember at any time that day without having to go back to it, not to mention that whoever sees it will be able to recognize us because does anyone know who Ivan and Toño (1998) are?
There are not a few places full of symbolism, mountain peaks, specific sites of the Way of St. James... all of them special for one reason or another for the people who pass through them. To this are added ancient traditions that some of them have and that in many cases have degenerated, making what used to be carrying a small stone from your house and leaving it at the foot of the Cruz de Ferro, today has become a real recycling point where they finish objects that have little to do with the spirituality that is supposed to this act. Every year we are surprised by the hundreds of kilos of waste that are removed from the Way only at this particular site, to which we must add many other points of the journey.
We have to be aware of the devastating consequences of small gestures that we do not give importance to but that can cause, for example, fires from which nature takes a long time to recover, preventing future generations from enjoying what we enjoy today and which unfortunately leave unrecognizable landscapes of great beauty and special environmental value, such as the one that affected the environment of the Ézaro waterfall among many others.