Green trails – what, why and how?

Green trails in a nutshell

If you have trekked with us, you would know how Green trails is an integral part of Indiahikes.  It wouldn’t be an overstatement when I say that we value Green trails much more than our profits.  So what is it all about? Green trails is our mission to revolutionize trekking in an eco-friendly and sustainable way such that our impact on the environment is minimum.  

It is our effort towards reducing our Carbon and Ecological footprint on our treks.  What is Carbon footprint? Simply put, carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of greenhouse gases we produce directly or indirectly.  So what is an Ecological footprint?  To explain it simply, and I quote from footprintnetwork.org here, “it measures how fast we consume resources and generate waste compared to how fast nature can absorb our waste and generate new resources”.

 

Why Green trails?

Ten years ago, you would have hardly thought trekking in Himalayas as your vacation plan. Today, it is one of the most popular activities, so much so that people plan their vacation around a trek.  With that, trekking routes are seeing an increasing number of trekkers and tourists.  With increasing traffic at such remote places, environmental problems arise.

One distinct issue is litter. With a growing economy and improved transportation, we see changes in mindset of trekkers as well as locals.  Nowadays, right from paneer and maggi to biscuits and ice creams, a variety of options await trekkers at the remotest of places.

Green Trails

 

At Indiahikes, we address this by taking steps to undo damages done in the past and present

  • We do this through our “less in, more out” policy. We, along with participation of trekkers, collect garbage from the mountains. So far we have collected about 1500 sacks of litter from all our trek slopes.  In specific, we have collected about 2,130 kg of segregated garbage just from Roopkund this season, all thanks to the collected efforts of our trek leaders, staff members and our wonderful trekkers.
  • We believe that all waste is not waste if we segregate. So, we collect waste, segregate it and divert it for recycling, reusing or re-utilizing purposes. We want to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
  • We are looking to develop systems that reduces packaging wastes to a minimum if not nil.
  • All our staff members undergo training to think and follow green practices.
  • We conduct awareness programs for local villagers to rope them in practicing green way
  • We carry this out consistently at all our campsites.

The Government is doing all it can, but progress is slow and disjointed. At Indiahikes, we are dedicating efforts towards partnering with local governments to aid in addressing these problems at a larger scale.  I can confidently say that we are the only company who consciously reduce number of batches, batch size and consistently move trekkers towards other slopes so that our carbon footprint is minimized.

Recently, we established a segregation unit in our Sandakphu trek base camp village Jaubhari towards making it a model clean village.  With that working wonderfully, guide association, range rover association, other stakeholders and the Forest office have all come together to set up such units along the trek. They have also planned on other supporting initiatives to ensure that minimum waste ends up in landfills.

What do we do about it?

We understand that this is not the only way to reduce our carbon footprint. That is why we consistently put efforts to include as much local produce in our menu as possible.  Not only that, we buy food in bulk to avoid excessive packaging.  This is one major way we reduce plastic waste that we generate.  We just simply don’t bury our organic waste.  We give it the right conditions so that composting can happen.  We are also moving towards producing our own energy using solar panels, harvest rain-water and generate bio-gas for cooking or heating.  With our rain-water harvesting set-up at Lohajung, we were able to collect 70 L in 10 mins in good rain. Our aim? We are slowly progressing towards a time where we do not tax/harm natural resources and instead give back to mother earth.

We believe that 10 years down the line, mountains that we visit today should be as beautiful as it is today, if not better. That requires consistent effort from every person traversing through these beautiful mountains.  As trekkers, we look up to you as our partners in carrying out this mission.  Right now, the biggest missing link is collaborative efforts.  As the green trails coordinator, my wish is to see that this collaboration happens and that it happens soon.  Collaboration could be your active participation in your treks and also your indirect contribution by sharing ideas that we can implement.

We have now reached a point where our past is catching up on us.  We have a chance to alter our future for the better. We shouldn’t miss it.

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Lakshmi Selvakumaran

Lakshmi Selvakumaran

Lakshmi Selvakumaran is the Green Trails Coordinator at Indiahikes. She holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. She's currently working towards making trekking a more sustainable sport by bringing in fresh innovations and ideas that leave no carbon footprint in the mountains.

9 thoughts on “Green trails – what, why and how?

  1. How can I be a part of indiahikes? As a content writer and a volunteer? And what are the prerequisites?

  2. Hi Team,
    I am someone who has personally witnessed deterioration of several of my go-to escape destinations with the influx of organised tourists.
    It has always been a concern for Indian tourism to strike a balance between economic growth of local entities with tourism industry and environmental protection. Particularly more in the serene sensitive ecosystems of Himalayas.

    Green Trails initiative comes across as an innovative, effective approach at restoring the ecosystem to its initial state.
    The idea is practical, easy and more importantly – sustainable. Congratulations to Team Indihikes for the initiative.

    We are two film enthusiasts who wish to capture the initiative, on ground and on the trek in a short movie. I would like to accompany the next trek and add my 2 cents to the effort. I spoke to the executives at India hikes and was advised to go for Roopkund in September . Please publish the dates of the next planned Green Trails excursion to RoopKund so I can prepare accordingly.

  3. hi
    i am from Kashmir-I look forward to be a pat of an upcoming trek.I am delighted to see the inspiration behind all great events….

  4. Hi, I am Dina and an environmental engineer by profession. I am interested to be a part of the green trails. However, I cannot find the dates for the upcoming green trails for this year. Kindly help.

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