Outdoor Activities That Can Either Help Or Hurt The Environment

There seems to be a general correlation to outdoor recreation tied to greater environmentally responsible behavior, which is true. But remember it goes further than that. It’s contemplating and in turn remembering the human to nature relationship. How can we live in harmony with the outdoors, respecting nature, and not looking to take from it, but truly leaving it better than when we started.


Plant Seeds, Grow Food

It is astounding how satisfying it is to plant seeds and in as little as a few weeks time, be able to harvest and enjoy fresh food that you created together with the earth. Many people are not in-touch with where their food comes from and have maybe never even grown something from scratch. Whether you only have room for some planters and pots, a windowsill, or a plot in the backyard, a garden can be grown anywhere. Check out these great tips on how to plant.

Birdwatching & Feeding

Start by first building a bird feeder. This too is another deeply satisfying endeavour. And if you are able to hang the feeder close to a window, you can be rewarded with extra magical moments by getting to view nature up close in action. Then grab a book on local birds so you can learn about the many different varieties that live right in your backyard. It’s fun to do the same when taking nature walks, looking skyward for all manner of various species of birds. Here are some recycled bird feeder ideas you can make yourself.


Taking walks outside can come in all forms. From urban hiking around neighborhoods and parks, to visiting national state preserves and trails, planning weekend hiking adventures. This is such a wonderful way to connect with the outdoors, leaving electronics and devices aside for the moment. Possibilities open up to explore and relish the moment. Earth Day has also tasked all of us to join in the Great Clean-up this year, picking up waste on our walks. Learn about ‘plogging’ and how you can help nature at the same time as enjoying it.

Bike Rides

A biking experience in your same town and city can become a totally new adventure once you’re on the ground with a set of wheels. Taking your time as you pedal around the city, suddenly the world comes alive. You notice finer details, smells, sounds, and sights. Many cities offer designated bike paths and trails for families to explore.

Farmer’s Markets

This is a fantastic eco-friendly activity that helps the environment on many levels. From purchasing locally grown produce, to supporting small businesses, to helping your health in the long run. Meet local farmers and entrepreneurs in your community and help the environment by buying local, as well as enjoying nutritious treats you can feel good about.

And The Not So Positive Activities…

Park Overuse

National parks and land preserves are subject to increasing levels of recreation and tourist pressure. Environmental impacts include:

  • Travel associated emissions
  • Accommodation impacts 
  • Gas related recreational activities 
  • Soil erosion and compaction
  • Damage to vegetation
  • Disturbance to wildlife
  • Water pollution
  • Increased fire frequency
  • Vandalism
  • Noise pollution

To minimise these impacts requires regulation and surveillance of access and activities, physical protection, and education. The goal is to encourage low-impact activities and discourage high-impact types such as use of motorized vehicles, and building new accommodations and construction.

Off-Road Vehicles

Off-road vehicles (ORV) crush vegetation, terrify wildlife, leave rutted trails, and cause erosion. Increasing numbers of thrill seekers are running four-wheel-drive cars and trucks, dune and swamp buggies, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and fat-tired bikes called all-terrain cycles thru once pristine nature trails. All of these related activities are damaging to the environment. Better to enjoy the same trails on your own two feet.


An hour of water skiing or boat racing creates nearly as much smog as driving from Orlando to D.C. Boat engines produce high amounts of air pollution, especially hydrocarbons, which then react to form smog. The average boat engine causes considerably more damage than a car because they have far less emission controls. 


Quite hazardous to the environment, golf courses gobble up the land, furthering the depletion of wildlife habitats as well as causing environmental damages. Courses are regularly doused with pesticides and fertilizers that runoff into waterways and pollute them with toxins. Plus the constant use of water to keep the grass green is a tremendous waste for a purely recreational activity. Consider the environmental effects of playing on golf courses when choosing your outdoor activities. More information here

Bottled Water

Just a reminder, for any outdoor activity you undertake, please consider not taking plastic bottled water along. It has such a gigantic negative impact on the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills and ultimately the ocean, as well as causing devastation to ecosystems where the water is bottled. Simply fill up your reusable bottles before you head out into nature.

Seasonal temperatures offer so many wonderful environmentally friendly activities to enjoy. Remember you can make a difference in the impact you have on the environment by choosing eco-friendly options. Imagine if millions of Americans took the same actions. There could be noticeable shifts to our environmental situation rather quickly. Thank you!

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