Do you notice the plastic all around you? Plastic is everywhere in our lives, but some plastics are more harmful than others. When plastics make their way into natural places, they can become an issue for local animals and plants, as well as being unpleasant to look at. When Sandra and Carla noticed all the plastic in the Dublin mountains, they decided to do something about it.
We never realised how much PLASTIC POLLUTION there is on the hiking trails in the beautiful mountains surrounding our city. So on our walks we started picking up as much plastic as possible. There was never a walk where we didn’t find pieces of plastic.Sandra Pascoletti
So, the Plastic Free Camino was born!
How did Sandra and Carla plan their Plastic Free Camino?
The pair had already decided to walk a section of the Camino together. They chose to walk the Camino Frances route from Estella to Burgos – a total of 172 km. Then, they added the extra element of picking up all the plastic they saw along the way.
It made sense for us to continue our commitment to plastic-free walks while walking the Camino because the Camino is a spiritual, cultural, historical, natural and adventurous experience that belongs to all of humanity.Sandra
Before starting the project, they had no idea if the Camino trails would be especially polluted. They did find a fair amount of plastic along the way, but they were also pleased to see that some stretches of the Camino de Santiago were almost completely clean, which they were very happy about!
Reflections on the Plastic Free Camino
More than just the physical act of picking up plastic, the trip was also to raise awareness of plastic pollution in general. The pair talked to many people about how plastic impacts the world as they walked.
Our initial intention was to move everyone to preserve nature and all that we cherish as beautiful in this world: our mountains, our beaches, our woods, our fields, etc. – symbolically embodied by The Camino de Santiago.Sandra
They also had many interesting thoughts and realisations of their own as they walked, for example, about the metaphorical sense of what they were doing – picking up a weight that others had chosen to drop.
Many people approached us as we walked, both locals and pilgrims, to ask us about our initiative or just say “Thank you”. The feedback we received was at times very different from what we had expected. A couple of pilgrims chose to share the road with us and that helped our morale.Sandra
There were aspects we hadn’t anticipated and some lessons for us to learn along the way. If being a pilgrim is challenging… being a pilgrim on a mission is even more challenging!
The journey proved much tougher than we had anticipated. We underestimated the physical demands of our initiative. The foot pain after 5 days was unbearable. Frustration caught us at times…
But we didn’t stop the Plastic Free project! We didn’t because we were aware we were doing something important.Sandra
Final thoughts about the project
By the end of our trip, our perspective on the project had shifted and our message had evolved.
In our videos, we show that our PERCEPTION OF PLASTIC is not realistic. We have become accustomed to seeing it along the roads. We take it for granted. Eventually, we stopped seeing it. The reality is that there is much more plastic than we think.
Each of us is responsible for the waste we produce and everyone should put into account to have to carry their own load, rubbish included, when they’re out and about.
If you see something that’s not right, don’t turn a blind eye. Voice your concerns. One powerful tool we discovered is Twitter. Take a photo, put it on Twitter, use effective #hashtags and @mention relevant people (politicians, associations, companies, etc.)Sandra
This Camino Talk
In this video, Sandra shares some of her insights and thoughts about the Plastic Free Camino Project with Follow the Camino.
She talks about:
- how they chose the Camino route that they walked
- why they decided to focus on plastic waste
- how the Plastic Free Camino went
- what they learned and felt along the Camino
- and what they would do differently if they were to do it again.
Learn more about the Plastic Free Camino
Walk the Camino Frances route yourself
If you would like to walk this section of the Camino yourself you’ll find it in stage 2 and stage 3 of the Camino Frances route. We can also arrange longer or shorter sections for you, as well as changing the start and endpoints of your walking holiday. It’s all 100% customised to you!
We would love to talk to you about your journey, so please get in touch with us to start planning!
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About Camino TalksCamino Talks is a collection of interviews about the famous Camino de Santiago. We talk to the people that make it so special and share their stories with you. By Follow the Camino
31st August 2020