Environmental Investing

another great shot from Hike Rino. New York.

Thoughts from the Trail: Environmental Investing

Enjoying a hot cup of coffee with a clear view of Mt. Mitchell thoughts of the Appalachian Trail began creeping back into my mind. There is probably something else I should be doing right now but past memories from the Appalachian Trail keep me anchored in place. I have been sitting still for way too long. One conversation in particular forced me to put down my coffee and begin writing.

It was a hot and humid day somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic section of the trail. Paul and I were struggling through the summer heat when one of us brought up the topic of investing. Before starting a clean-up effort along the Appalachian Trail, investing was only for money. Invest young and reap the benefits in years to come. It was hard to talk about investing because neither of us invested any of our money into the market while on the trail. We drifted into thinking about the future and how we would invest. After three months of backpacking through the mountains it is only natural to start thinking about the future and what we would do next.

During our talk, the small mountain across the valley snuck up on us. It wasn’t as small as we thought. We started to climb. Our breathing became heavier and the conversation took a backseat. Our breath was needed for a more pertinent task. Slightly dizzy and shining with sweat, we crested the top of the ridge. The trail leveled and our conversation continued.

“I think we’re investing right now” I said.

“Oh yeah, How is that?” Paul said looking back.

I continued, “Well for starters time and energy are as good as gold out here. We are putting a lot of time and energy into cleaning the trail. Every person who is hiking behind us should be getting a richer experience. If we came back through, wouldn’t we have a richer experience? That would be a nice return on our investment.”

Paul broke in “I agree.  Also, I’ll never forget how good it felt to make it to the top of that ridge!”

We both laughed. Paul realized what I meant. He quickly summarized my idea into a few words.
“So we are Environmental Investors? We take our energy/time and invest it into the natural environment. In return we leave a richer environment and priceless experiences that can’t be taken away.”

“EXACTLY!” I yelled.  

Still smirking, we started up the next climb.

Your thoughts?

What do you all think about environmental investing? Should it be a part of our investment portfolio? Would it get you outside more if time outside was valued as an investment?

Seth "Cap" Orme


  1. Hey Cap,

    first of all, I gotta say that enviromental investment is a great thing! Actually everybody should do it. Just imagine how clean the trails would be if everyone(!) was picking up a little something along their way. You guys inspired me to do so, and I hope you will inspire a lot more.
    The point that bothers me the most, is the fact that people use mother nature as a trash bin in the first place. It's just mindblowing to see how careless some folks are. So I think we should also invest our time and energy to teach people the consequences of their behaviour. Like Sebastian Copeland already said, we gotta show them how beautiful our planet is, so that they hopefully become emotionally attached to it. Because thats the foundation of motivation to do something beneficial. If you they don't care about our planet, they don't give a damn what happens to it and do whatever they want.

    The Caretaker aka Hikerino

    (that was actually my trail name since Maine and I tried to live up to my name ;))


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