Saturday 8 September saw the 11th Opération Montagne Responsable, a day designed to raise awareness about reducing our impact on the environment, organised by Lafuma and its partners. This year's event struck a slightly different note, taking place not only on the Mer de Glace but also on footpaths at lower altitudes and down in Chamonix town centre, in a bid to be more accessible and involve as many members of the general public as possible.
Unlike the last ten years of the event, the idea was not to gauge its success on the total weight of rubbish collected (although this was still a central theme of the day), but to focus on all the positive eco-friendly initiatives that exist to encourage people to act individually, not just on one day but throughout the year.
With this in mind, 120 people took part in two walks – across the Plan de l’Aiguille to Montenvers and from Lac Blanc to the Col de Montets – led by mountain leaders from Mountain Riders and l’UCPA. The aim of the walks was to rediscover the beauty of unspoilt countryside and highlight how to protect nature by reducing our impact on it.
The walks ventured off the beaten track to pick up discarded rubbish, but this was more than just a litter sweep. The event was designed to inform participants about positive environmental initiatives and included breaks along the way featuring fun workshops and a concert by musicians involved with the La Tournée des Refuges initiative to entertain the walkers.
Down in the valley, there were also a number of stands on Place des Alpes in Chamonix town centre holding fun workshops designed to raise awareness among the general public about eliminating waste at source by changing our consumption habits. These included learning from Repair Café 74 how to repair things rather than throwing them away, making your own tote bag to replace plastic bags for everyday use from recyclable leftover materials used by Lafuma, tips on the right way to sort and recycle waste from Citeo + Sitom, donating old clothing to those in need through the Boutch à Boutch charity scheme, and also learning more about how waste breaks down and reusing waste to create works of art with Mountain Riders !
Besides the organisations involved in running the walks and the eco-friendly initiatives village, this event could not have taken place without the support of our partners and various people who worked with us to organise and run the day. We would like to thank the following:
- Chamonix Municipal Council and the Communauté de Communes de Chamonix, which provided logistical and financial support
- The Chamonix branch of the Club Alpin Français, which runs volunteer clean-up operations on the Mer de Glace all year round
- Compagnie du Mont Blanc, which allowed those taking part to use the ski lifts free of charge
- Chamonix Bus, which provided a bus to take walkers to the start of the Lac Blanc walk
- Mountain Riders, which prepared and organised the walks and the awareness sessions
- L’UCPA, which provided mountain leader supervision and accommodation for participants at a reduced rate
- Publineige, which donated free space for our event advertising around Chamonix
The end of this 11th edition of Operation Montagne Responsable hails a new era in which we must all be conscious of playing our part in adopting year-round eco-friendly initiatives and inspiring and involving the people we know and love to do the same... until next year's event ;-)