Be a Change Maker with Heather Porter from Hike It Out
When you're out hiking, climbing, camping and enjoying any adventure, it's important to make sure you look after the environment and minimise your impact.
Coming across rubbish is unfortunately seen too often. Luckily, it's legends like Heather Porter who are actively doing something about it. Heather is the Founder of the Hike it Out campaign. Hike it Out is an environmental awareness campaign aimed specifically at building a hiking culture that holds everyone responsible for their own rubbish, and any they find along the way; it’s that simple.
Meet Heather Porter.
Who is Heather Porter?
Demographic wise I'm a 25year old Event Coordinator living in Sydney, but really, I'm So much more than that.
I'm a lover of nature, the outdoors and experiences. I'm inspired, empowered, passionate and curious. I'm an Adventure Racer, a mountain biker, kayaker, hiker and a Scout. I have an adventure lifestyle blog and am the Founder of the Hike it Out campaign.
How did Hike it Out originate? Was there a particular moment or have you had the idea for some time?
I had been "Hiking it Out" for a long time before the idea came to me. I always knew I wanted to create a community project which was environmental based and targeting litter. I was sick of seeing so much rubbish around when I was out exploring. I was doing my best to pick up what I could, but knew I couldn't make the impact I wanted on my own.
In creating the project I threw around a lot of average ideas before I thought of Hike it Out. I specifically remember the moment it came to me. I sat at my computer and said, "Ok Heather, let's brainstorm a project". When nothing good came I gave up and had a shower, then had my light bulb moment while washing my hair.
Once I had it, the campaign came to life and was launched just 3 days later. I think anything created with passion tends to flow effortlessly, particularly when you feel you're doing good in the world.
What is the aim of Hike It Out?
Our vision is to influence all people outdoors to be responsible for their rubbish, leaving all natural sights litter free. Our mission is to be adventure inspiring and environmentally focused targeting waste and pollution. The project must make a difference and benefit the community. To achieve this we are re-setting the standards of picking litter up when you see it.
We have developed a pledge designed to set the intention to be mindful and reactive when outdoors.
"I pledge to be environmentally focused when outdoors to minimise my impact. I pledge to Hike it Out with my litter and any extra I can take, aiming to leave all natural sights better than I found them".
Ultimately, if everyone who adventured genuinely took the pledge, the world would be a cleaner place.
We recently hiked in the Royal National Park and passed Wedding Cake Rock where there was mass attention from social media and unfortunately also lots of rubbish left behind from viewers which we collected. Is it tourist locations where the most rubbish is found or does it extend further? Thoughts on this...
Tourist locations are definitely the worst affected areas. Take the Blue Mountains for example, the whole area is clean and well maintained, except the ground below popular lookouts or platforms. People just drop rubbish over the edge and think nothing of the effect it has. Another problem area is Mermaid Pools in Tahmoor. It's a popular water hole which attracts hundreds of people in summer leaving the site scattered with empty beer bottles, chip packets, broken thongs etc. It's devastating how much damage tourists can leave behind.
In saying that, campsites do also cop a lot of litter. Most of it is rubbish from dinner and meals. It baffles me that there are still hikers out there who go to the effort to reach a destination to appreciate it, and then leave rubbish behind. This is why it's so important for us to also pick up what we can, because unfortunately there will always be tossers, and we're trying to reduce their impact as much as our own.
Where do you hope to take Hike It Out as it unfolds across the country?
Ultimately, I'm hoping everyone will Hike it Out every time they go outdoors.
So far, people in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have taken the Hike it Out Pledge. I’d love to see these numbers and locations grow across the nation and watch the Hike it Out attitude become the norm.
It’s a simple message so I’m just exploring different ways of getting it out there to keep people more informed, engaged and involved.
Hike it Out week is November 6-12 and aims to inspire and educate people to get involved by connecting hiking companies, promoting environmentally friendly products, and sharing responsible adventuring tips.
3 simple tips to reduce our impact when we're out on adventures:
Pack a plastic bag so you can carry out litter. The one thing I always hear is "I didn't have anything to put rubbish in"
Invest in reusable products. Use refillable bottles or bladders instead of single use plastic bottles, and reusable food pouches or tupperware instead of zip lock bags for food.
Re-package items at home so there’s less rubbish to bring back. Wrappers always seem to fly away or get forgotten.
Where can we find you and learn more about the campaign?