In order for us to remove 75% of plastic pollution from our trails from our trails and the wild places they take us to, (re)connecting people with nature in the process, we need to know a few things.
AN INFORMED STRATEGY
We need to know how much of this kind of pollution there is and where. This way, we can start to build an evidence-based strategy for removing it from our trails. Using citizen science to do this not only means that we don’t have to do all of the hard work ourselves, but we can engage local communities to take ownership over their wild places and reconnect with nature.
THE STATE OF OUR TRAILS
The State of Our Trails Report is “base camp” for this information, and is our way of creating, contributing to and being guided by science in order to achieve our goals. The data obtained will inform and be enhanced by all of our future projects. This data is collected in a quantitative manner, providing us with clear numerical evidence as to which areas need the most attention.
What cannot be obtained through quantitatIve research, however, is our “hidden agenda”. It’s one thing to try and remove 75% of litter, but if we don’t know why it was there in the first place, or how to go about changing that, then it won’t be too long before we’re back at square one. That’s where our qualitative work comes in, providing us with insights into the mentality of those who litter, their motivations for doing so and how we might go about changing that.
It allows us to work on that second part of our mission: reconnecting people with nature. Whilst still speculative, we think that the reason many people litter is they are not connected with nature to an extent that makes them care for it; They do not consider themselves as part of it. Simply put, if everyone was connected with nature, we’d be dead happy, but out of a job!
Our work so far has confirmed this in our sample. We have been able to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve our mission. We have motivated individuals to change their attitudes to litter through improving their nature connection using mountain biking as the catalyst.
In the words of the Holy Sir Attenborough “No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”. We intend to give the experience to those that haven’t had the opportunity, so they might begin to care more about it.