31st May 2018

Sustainable Adventuring?

Robin Willmott RobinWillmott Expedition Guide

When Simon and I started inversion, we wanted to promote environmentally-friendly adventure travel.  We want to help protect the beautiful places we visit - for future adventurers, for future generations.  We have a personal and moral responsibility to look after the pristine environments we are lucky enough to explore.  We also have a direct business interest in creating sustainable adventures, and leaving as little trace as possible on the trail.

I felt strongly that until we could demonstrate tangible and credible policy, to claim green credentials would be hollow.  We are now ready to make specific environmental commitments which we hope will make a real difference.

Fear not - we are fully aware of the obvious contradiction.  Our adventures are mostly overseas.  As an expedition guide I fly a lot.  My carbon footprint is big, and the environmental impact of my plane travel is significant.  We are currently looking for the best carbon offset solution to suit our business, and we make a commitment to implement a strategy by 2019.  In the meantime, we will look for other ways to lessen our environmental impact, and we will strive to make meaningful improvements.

We have just completed our first Selvaggio Blu Trek, Sardinia, led by our inspiring guide Tania Noakes.  It was a great success.  The team loved the rugged terrain, turquoise sea, and the tough physical challenge.  At the end of the adventure Tania and I completed an environmental impact assessment, and we found ourselves to be lacking in a few crucial areas.  In future we will; 

1. reduce our use of plastic.

On the Selvaggio Blu we must cache water in advance of the trip.  Fresh water is very limited on this limestone coastline.   For one of the camps we used a 20-litre jerry can filled from a local spring but, for a number of reasons, we didn’t think the jerry can would be practical for the water caches.  We bought 44 two-litre plastic bottles of water to keep the team of six well hydrated for five days.  We recycled every single one of those 44 plastic bottles, but next time we can do much better.  We'll be back in Sardinia in October, and we will use collapsible water carriers for the water caches.  We want to help protect the beautiful turquoise Mediterranean Sea, and the wonderful creatures that live in it.

2. carry out our poo when we can’t bury it.

The Sardinian coastline is a fragile ecosystem.  Human waste on the trail is not only unsightly and unpleasant, it has a negative impact on the unique ecology, the flora and fauna.   We firmly support the seven principles of the Leave No Trace campaign.  In certain parts of the trail it is possible to safely bury solid human waste.  In the caves and on the rocky plateau, it is not always possible.  On the next trip we will include poo disposal bags on the obligatory kit list, and pack out to the next possible disposal point.  Yuk, right?  Not necessarily.  The Wag Bag from Cleanwaste is a brilliant biodegradable and sanitary solution which controls odours.  It is widely used in the USA, where some national parks insist that you carry out your waste. 

3. encourage our clients to avoid using wet wipes.

Wet wipes are a convenient way of keeping clean in a remote environment when showers or fresh running water are not available.  However, as the wipes often contain plastic, and do not disintegrate in water like loo paper, they have a huge environmental impact. We now encourage our clients to avoid wet wipes altogether, and bring an additional small trekking towel and biodegradable soap

With these three small steps we hope to lessen the environmental impact of this particular adventure.  We also make a commitment to constantly monitor the environmental impact of all of our amazing adventures, and where possible, make changes that really count.