By Benny Braden
Let’s talk stewardship for a minute. As photographers, content creators, and outdoor enthusiasts, we have countless opportunities to share what we love and are passionate about with others through various social media platforms. But how much time are we spending to help educate the next generation on the ethics and behaviors expected of them when they are in the outdoors? After all, someone took the time to teach us. So why aren’t we passing that information along? When was the last time you shared what you were doing with your trash after you were done cooking and eating? Or shared what trash you found on the trail and that you were picking it up and packing it out?
We all see the negative impact that social media can have on our outdoor spaces and public lands. People are spending more time outdoors in record numbers, which is amazing! But some of them don’t have the information to do it responsibly. You can be the difference maker and help bridge the information gap through educating others on Responsible Stewardship Ethics.
Exercising the Ethics of Responsible Stewardship is easy and something we all can do together. The core values of Responsible Stewardship are rooted deep in the belief that together we all can foster these ethics to make all public lands and outdoor spaces cleaner and better places that welcomes everyone to enjoy responsibly.
The Responsible Stewardship Ethics:
- KNOW YOUR IMPACT: Know and understand the effects of your impact on the areas you visit both physically and digitally.
- TAKE ACTION: Once you see something, it becomes your responsibility. Take action, get involved, and volunteer with a stewardship organization, community action group, or park.
- EDUCATE: Educate others through your actions. Lead by your example and educate the importance of caring for all areas.
- ADVOCATE: Use your voice and social media platform to raise awareness of problems facing our outdoor communities.
- DONATE: Donate to organizations or groups that maintain, manage or preserve public lands, green spaces, or parks.
- TAG LIGHTLY: Consider your digital impact before hashtagging and geotagging posts on social media.
- FOSTER STEWARDSHIP TOGETHER: Responsible Stewardship is something everyone can do. Together we can make our outdoor areas better and more inviting to all.
Feel free to save and share these Ethics on your social media accounts. Our mission is to “Educate Through Action” the importance of caring for our public lands and outdoor paces. We can do this TOGETHER.
Picking up litter and caring for your local outdoor spaces can be both fun and rewarding. In fact, during October, Responsible Stewardship hosts its annual Erase The Trace Challenge. You can get entered to win prizes just for removing the negative impact others have made. This year, over 20 outdoor brands (including Appalachian Gear Company) will be giving away more than 70 prizes to help reward you for Fostering Stewardship in your local outdoor spaces and making them more inviting for everyone.
To learn more about the #erasethetracechallenge and how you can make a difference in your community and local outdoor spaces, visit www.responsiblestewardship.org or https://www.responsiblestewardship.org/events-/erasethetracechallenge