An alumnus of the Loyola Mountaineers, environmentalist Gregg Yan, has proposed that alongside regular positions in each hike like team leader, tail, and first aid officer, there should also be a green officer that is in charge of making sure that the hike is carried out in an environment-friendly way. Yan adds:
By designating a GREEN OFFICER, mountaineering teams can turn every climb into a cleanup climb. The Green Officer should be spared from carrying heavy kit items like tent bodies or ground sheets. Additional training on bird watching and botany will add value to the position.
In engaging with other mountaineers in social media, the former WWF Philippines officer elaborated his proposed idea on Facebook:
1. The Green Officer is a squad-level position (i.e. he or she is only designated as a Green Officer only for a climb, like a medic or a scribe or a scout). This is different from the Environmental Officer, who is a line officer and responsible for the environmental training and activities of a mountaineering org,
2. All other climbers will look for trash. The Green Officer carries the bag where they place the trash they find within 2M of the trail. The bag must not look jologs. It must look cool. It must give pride to the bearer.
3. It’ll turn every climb into a cleanup climb – ensuring that the impacts of mountaineering (trail scuffs, etc.) are positively offset by the physical removal of litter.
In the end, the solution would of course be to wean humanity away from disposable plastic and foil items – but until that time, this measure should do wonders for the RP mountaineering community.
What do you think of Yan’s idea? Suggestions and insights for further discussion are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting below.