NOLS Instructor Molly Absolon reflects on the evolution of environmentalism in the U.S., calling for a renewal of the energy and commitment of the 1970s, the era when NOLS began developing the minimum impact camping techniques that evolved into Leave No Trace ethics.
“The first Earth Day, which was an environmental teach-in, took place on April 22, 1970. Organizations like the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) were beginning to develop minimum-impact camping practices that eventually evolved into the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a nationwide organization devoted to protecting our wild lands from unnecessary degradation.
It was a time when the desire to protect our planet from the damage wrought upon it by human beings was at the forefront. At least among America’s educated elite, the idealized belief that humans could lessen their impact, reduce pollution and protect the planet was an accepted and important value.”