My old Scoutmaster would always tell us to leave our campsites better than we found them. Because of this, we’d go around and pick up all the little pieces of trash we could find–even if they were there before we got there or had been in the forest for years.
In Scouts and in outdoor-adventure programs like Outward Bound they maintain and enforce a strict “leave no trace” mandate when it comes to a group’s responsibility to the land.
But it’s actually more powerful than this: As my Scoutmaster emphasized it’s about leaving a space better than we found it. It’s about “leave no trace” of us +1.
I was reminded of this yesterday when listening to an interview with Mick Ebeling.
Ebeling speaks about how his philanthropic work may have originated and been inspired by his father’s insistence on this same sort of “leave-things-better-than-you-found-them” mentality (about 25 minutes in). He talks about how he would go on camping trips with his family and that his father would make him go around and clean up all the trash on surrounding campsites that had been left by others.
Ebeling speaks on how this influenced him and is probably one of the main reasons he has made such an amazing impact on the lives of others.
His company is Not Impossible Labs. Check it out. And listen to his story on the podcast. It’s worthwhile.
Hearing his story really reminded me about how this mentality is more than land stewardship. It should be connected to how we treat everything.
There are some bad things that happen that we can’t prevent but there are far more bad things that are easily preventable and will be eliminated when more of us choose to adopt a “leave no trace + 1” mentality.
Everyone and everything is connected. And Ebeling has reminded me about the large-scale impact this small idea I learned during Boy Scouts could have on the entire world.