Should campers do more to protect the environment?

Malvern HillsSeeing a place of natural beauty disrespected or even damaged by humans is upsetting to most people, however for fans of camping and motorhome holidays the issue is even more pressing. Those that have enjoyed campaing in the UK for years will have probably noticed how landscapes, weather and even plants and animals have all changed, with a big cause being environmental factors.

The truth is that without the help of everyone we will eventually see some of the UK’s most beautiful locations become defunct. Furthermore, local wildlife, vegetation and even waterways could also be affected. This is why anyone who enjoys camping in any form is constantly reminded to respect the areas they are visiting by adhering to rules concerning environmental protection such as disposing of waste properly.

However, even though most campervan and motorhome owners are respectful of the environment, are we really doing enough? In a recent interview, survival expert and celebrity Ray Mears said that people should be taught more about the wild and how they can protect it. “We have generations of people who have grown up in towns and many of them only know the town and that’s a great sadness,” he said.

“They would say, ‘No, there’s nothing missing, I’m happy’ and I wouldn’t argue. I’m not saying they’d be unhappy but I do think they haven’t had an opportunity that perhaps they would enjoy.” Mears suggests that more emphasis should be placed on the Scouts as not only do they know how to survive in the wild but also how to protect it. “That organisation is incredibly underestimated,” he says. “Its reach… it has the opportunity to touch and inspire young minds in a way that few other organisations can,” he said.

“I would like to see society give it more of a role. It used to be in the past that communities would look to the Scouts for help at events so they could take pride in their uniform. I think that is something we could do again.”

Even though motorhome, campervan and camping enthusiasts aren’t a national organisation as prevalent as the Scouts (though we are sure some would disagree!) they can still band together to work towards the same goals. Staying safe while camping requires a bit of know-how and respect for your environment, which is something all motorhome and campervan owners strive to achieve.

So how can campers do more to protect the environment? There are some obvious answers, for example making sure you only stay at campsites that are environmentally friendly and provide adequate waste management services. However, there are other tips that you may not know about that are becoming increasingly important, especially as wild camping is rapidly gaining popularity.

You may think that wild camping is better for the environment as you do not have facilities such as toilets that use chemicals, or electric generators that provide unnatural light, however the truth is that wild camping can endanger the environment just as much as staying in a campsite.

For example, while wild camping you may be tempted to pitch up near a waterway, however this could actually upset the natural wildlife who use the water to bathe and drink. Campers have also been warned to avoid going near animals in general while camping as you could disturb their natural habitats, or worse, accidently pass on your scent which could lead to them being abandoned by their mothers if they are particularly young.

It’s also important that you are mindful of plants near where you set up camp, as even small changes such as you walking through them could affect their natural balance and lead to certain variations dying out over time. You should also resist the temptation to make your camping area more comfortable by moving branches, rocks, etc. as this damages the landscape in the long run.

Looking after the environment is everyone’s responsibility, however motorhome and campervan owners should take it upon themselves to lead the way so that areas of natural beauty remain in tact for generations to come.