Saturday, July 11, 2009


THE 7 PRINCIPLES OF the Leave No Trace have taken the mountaineering and outdoor community here in the Philippines by storm and they have adopted these, to the letter, as their guiding maxims. Well, that is good. I myself would happily endorse it...if you are Caucasian or a westerner or just a plain urban creature who suddenly is fascinated by the outdoors.

Yes, why not? Don't westerners are pampered too much by their societies and don't they throw waste a hundred cubic times more than their southern neighbors? Don't their countries contribute greatly to the thinning of the ozone layer? Of global warming?

For me, I have some reservations about this LNT. It is just another ideology of a dominant western culture imposed on third world countries in a global-wide reach. These western countries SHOULD practice LNT by all means for theirs is a fragile ecosystem. Remember, they have lesser plant species inside of a square kilometer than those from the tropics. That is where the idea of LNT was born. I think.

The earth is shrinking – age wise – and it has been almost sucked dry by man's greed and left to fend for itself. Industrialized countries led by the United States and by the European Union have been slowly cutting it to size and it came to a point that their own kind developed an advocacy to protect the environment and organized conscience groups to counter their own excesses.

They have identified areas that are prone to pressures from man with his unquenchable thirst for more natural resources and unabated development. These areas are found in highland forests, grasslands and water systems. They are the last frontier of wilderness and the free outdoors. This is where the idea of LNT was born. I am most certain of this.

The Philippines doesn't need LNT. So does Guatemala or Madagascar or tiny Cook Island. What we need is to educate new people and that is taken cared of already by the Basic Tropical Mountaineering Course. Why impose a western ideology upon our members that is designed for temperate settings when we can fend off for ourselves with our own native version and common sense?

Of course, there is some sense in LNT. It is not found in the words and paragraphs. It is in the spirit of these principles. And these will vary according to regions. But, please, don't make these as a rigid system.

For simplicity, the following will apply anywhere:

Take nothing but pictures,

Leave nothing but footprints,

Kill nothing but time;

and, if I may add -

Gather nothing but memories.

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer


Anonymous said...

Nice article, enjoyed the story of your friend, and your philosophy. There's a guy just moved to banilad cebu city, Will, an excellent bushman, guide/medic and climber. you can find him through "The Gustavian" Banilad..
Enjoy more adventures and keep nature intact, as our mother is being brutalized....

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