Why it's important to respect the environment and embrace nature while camping

It's vital you respect the environment and embrace nature on your next camping trip. If you don't, you might not have as much fun as you could and may damage the local area more than you should.

In this article, we explore what impact tourism can have on local environments, as well as tips on how to best preserve a harmonious balance with nature during your stay. Read on...

What impact does tourism have on nature?

All over the world, tourism provides many benefits. These include things such as steady income for local areas and increased awareness around local issues and projects. But the glutinous influx of modern holidaymaking can have its downsides. For example, travel contributes to air pollution and causes congestion along tight country roads.

Mass tourism can also result in poor behaviour from visitors, who might fail to respect local traditions, customs, and the surrounding wildlife. Moreover, the income generated by larger tourism companies and hotel conglomerates might create unequal infrastructure growth in your chosen destination, leading to an imbalance of wealth in the nearby communities.

The solution? Get closer to nature and respect the environment by pitching a tent at a local campsite.

Whether it's a solo adventure, couples getaway or family holiday, there's something uniquely wonderful about taking a camping trip.

Camping allows you to experience nature more intimately, plus a closeness to green space is great for mindfulness — particularly in a world of increased urbanisation. It also reduces the impact commercial tourism has on nature, creating a sense of harmony with the local environment rather than taking it over.

Tips for respecting and embracing nature while camping

During your holiday, continue to live in harmony with the local area throughout your stay.

Camping is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to holiday, but respecting the environment and embracing nature isn't as simple as choosing a tent over a mainstream hotel (or checking onto a flight or renting an Airbnb). Far from it.

Here are some tips on respecting the environment and embracing nature while camping.

Support local conservation efforts

The Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast

Whether it's a grand national park or a humble public play area, vacations are packed with volunteering opportunities, allowing holidaymakers to give a little something back to the area that is providing you with lifelong memories.

For example, East Devon (UK) is an area of outstanding beauty home to the well-cared-for Shrubbery Caravan & Camping Park. The area is protected to conserve and enhance its unique landscape, opening the door for many volunteering opportunities.

Many volunteer projects around the world don't set a minimum commitment, making it convenient for a happy camper looking to lend a hand on their trip. One such case is the East Devon Conservation Volunteers. This organisation (and those like it) are on the lookout for a helping hand to conduct wildlife surveys and assist in the humane control of invasive species.

Observe wildlife from an appropriate distance

Observe a Barn Owl from a distance with binoculars from the RSPB
Observe a Barn Owl from a distance with binoculars from the RSPB

Camping holidays are a rare opportunity to surround yourself with nature, but you must treat the wildlife with its due respect. After all, your holiday is their home.

To avoid disturbing dens and nests, particularly during critical breeding seasons, you should aim to observe from a safe distance. Alongside patience and lots of snacks, chances are you'll need a toolkit to make a success of such a rule. This includes getting yourself a sturdy pair of binoculars, so you can keep your distance from the local wildlife.

The bird charity RSPB recommends opting for 8X or 10X magnification as part of its tips to help you buy binoculars that give you a great view. As a general guide, the former is ideal for close quarter nature watching on the campsite; the latter is perfect for long-range observation but requires a more steady hand.

Practice zero waste camping

Zero waste camping
Zero waste camping

Sustainable (or zero waste) camping is the best way to approach your holiday with respect to the natural environment. It's essential to leave your camp exactly how you found it.

When you leave waste around the campsite, particularly non-biodegradable plastics, you disturb the natural environment. Organic waste, including food, is also a big issue. This is because the rot can spread disease and disturb eating habits in the local wildlife population.

What you leave behind on your camping trip can have a huge impact on nature, no matter how small. And while it might not be realistic to go totally 'zero waste', it's important to be mindful of leaving as little a trace as possible during your stay.

Summary: why you should respect and embrace nature while camping

Respecting the environment and embracing nature is all about enjoying your trip while minimising your negative impact on the local area. This is important because you want to maximise the benefits of tourism, namely supporting the local economy while avoiding the potential downsides, particularly disrupting the natural landscape.

From supporting conservation efforts and observing wildlife from a distance to practising no trace camping — we've explained how to take the extra step and give back to an area, providing you with so many lasting memories.

Please, keep our advice in mind next time you take a camping trip.