Why is tourism trekking harmful to the environment?
Well, for one, it is filled with tourists. these are a bunch of people, who have been living in a city for the most of their lives, and the closest they have come to spending time in the wild is when they went on a NCC/scout training camp in school.. But honestly, we all know that it is not much of a wild as much as it is a small town with a lot more quiet than a typical city. And in some outstanding cases, it’s a place that doesn’t have reliable electricity supply. So, they don’t know the first thing about the wild/forest/mountains. Namely, some things degrade and get converted to become part of the soil and some things don’t . Sure they have read about it all in their class rooms, and colleges. They have learnt how plastic doesn’t degrade at all and how organic waste degrades. But it’s a memory that has to be retrieved if they are explicitly making a decision. Sure they realize nature has to be preserved. But seriously they are here only because they are sick of their day jobs and the dirty,polluted city they live in and would be happy to leave it for a change of scenery. i.e: to look at trees, plants and fields instead of having to see concrete buildings wherever they turn.
For two, these are mostly weak in terms of stamina. Sure they can sprint fast and better than quite a lot of people .Sure they can hit a cricket ball/tennis ball harder and may be even accurate. But they don’t know how to keep hitting continuously after an hour. They don’t know the pleasure/difference of knowing that point where you’re doing things by routine/habit/practice of muscles, and that point where you’re just too tired to pay any attention to what you’re doing. Sounds innocuous right? well, it’s not. Definitely not in the mountains/forests. It’s the difference between placing your foot on a rock just too smooth and twisting your ankle versus being able to jiggle and adjust when you do step on the same rock and avoiding a sprain or god forbid, ligament damage. Sure they know that endurance is about knowing your body’s current state of hydration, state of glucose level etc.. But seriously, they are closer to stopping every half an hour to pull out diabetes monitor to check glucose levels than knowing when they are thirsty enough to take water to avoid cramps vs to wet their throats. (aka, when to take a sip of water swirl it around in the mouth for a few seconds and swallow, slow enough for it to wet the throat vs when to gulp down swallows of water, without stopping to breathe, as if you’r e afraid the water will evaporate away).
For three, So for all these reasons, they are out of their comfort zone, the moment they land or get off the bus. The moment, their fancy trek-shoe clad feet hit the ground, they are hit with sensory inputs, they have never seen before and their short crippled attention spans and cognition, struggle to make sense of what’s happening , what’s important, what’s safe what’s not safe and what’s meaningful. As a result, on a rather simple jeep trail, through the mountains, they have to be shepherded through a path that doesn’t have too many stones/plants/thorn in the way. They need to be told to watch out for 1 foot drops. They need to be treated like you would treat your 5-year old, when you’r e taking him through a short hike trip to catch a ride to town. Except, these are all adults, and all the more cynical for it. Not to mention, growing up in city leaves a stronger and deeper cynical instincts towards other people in general*. So all in all, it’s mostly a thankless job and the only reason i can imagine taking a group like this on a trek, is to figure the hell out as to handle people in my workplace. Hoping i’ll pick up some skills that come in handy at the office, and some skills that help me identify friends, indifferent observers and enemies. Anyway, getting back to the topic, due to all of these, you’ll have to be instructing these people in all of these. (safe moves, clean spills/litterings vs polluting littering plastic etc..)
Infact, with ctc doing fitness tests, i sometimes think, they should also do working memory tasks. As it is a rather complex job for these types to not pollute the environment and navigate the trek route/path without injury.
*– It’s actually ironical if you think about it. The city folk are extremely cynical towards other people, while more trusting of terrain, forest, etc.. they are just used to better infrastructure. On the other had the mountain/rural folk are more cynical towards inanimate beings than towards people.
Disclaimer: If you read that and pictured me as a very fit, no bullshit, unsophisticated, guy who traipses through mountain climbs easily, well, I’ll just say, i’ve now spent half of my life in cities and the rest was spent in a small panchayat village that’s closer to a town. And I wish you were right about me. :-)