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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Plastic Ethics

posted by on August 20 at 12:14 PM

My new tent came with one of these:


It’s a “PLASTIC ETHICS REFERENCE CARD”—so sayeth the Leave No Trace website—a 3x5 plastic card explaining the seven Leave No Trace principles. These principles (and their 36 subprinciples) include:

-Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.

-Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.

-Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

-Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

I had a problem with this last one on hikes as a child; my father was given to say, “You’re shattering the tranquility.”

The principles also include leaving animals alone while they are mating, which is considerate.

The PLASTIC ETHICS REFERENCE CARD has the recycling symbol on it, but it’s my understanding that 99 and 44/100% of plastic—recyclable or not—ends up in landfills or the Great Pacific Garbage Miasma. Truly, how many recycled polarfleece garments and how much recycled fake lumber does the world need?

Dear Leave No Trace: Your PLASTIC ETHICS REFERENCE CARD is unwanted by me, and others, I’m sure. How about living up to your name and putting it on paper?

RSS icon Comments


If these were put on paper, they would become uselessly soggy when the mama grizzly, unaware of your approach due to your unyielding respect for silence, removed your innards with a copious flourish of gore.

Posted by Ziggity | August 20, 2008 12:17 PM

Feel free to mail them to me. I always can use some more light reading for the bathroom (and as it is made of plastic I can safely read them in the bath).

Posted by elswinger | August 20, 2008 12:18 PM

Take it with you and leave it in the woods. That'll show 'em.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 20, 2008 12:25 PM


Posted by NapoleonXIV | August 20, 2008 12:28 PM

The only choice for a cellphone in the woods is on vibrate.

Anything else, including the sound of your favorite song when your cell blasts "Rape Me" by Nirvana, is a good reason to introduce the "hiker" to "gravity" off a cliff.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 20, 2008 12:49 PM

What?!? You mean you didn't purchase a dye-free, 100% cotton canvas (or hemp-fiber) tent? Why do you hate nature so much?

Posted by JC | August 20, 2008 1:00 PM

Any area near a lake is technically a lacustrine not a riparian environment.

Posted by kinaidos | August 20, 2008 1:01 PM

@3, that's naughty.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 20, 2008 5:09 PM

Is there any part of Western Washington that isn't within 200 feet of some sort of body of water?

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | August 21, 2008 6:33 AM

Plastic Ethics
A found poem by Bethany Jean Clement

The seven Leave No Trace principles.
Shattering the tranquility.
The Great Pacific Garbage Miasma
Living up to your name

Posted by elenchos | August 21, 2008 10:29 AM

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