This week is the second ‘CITO week‘ of the year, where geocachers can earn a special, virtual souvenir for attending a CITO (Cache In Trash Out®) event. I hosted an event in my hometown of Bray, in conjunction with Bray Coastcare, a voluntary organisation who do a phenomenal job at keeping the beach, cliff walk and Bray Head clear of litter.
We had an amazing turnout, with the visiting geocachers, making their pilgrimage to Europe’s First Geocache, equalling the number of locals who turned out to help clean up. The number of enthusiastic attendees at the event got me thinking about the idea of CITO as an everyday initiative, not just something I do to earn a souvenir twice a year.
Why I Practice CITO
If geocaching is a game, then the earth is our game board. When I was a child, I loved playing board games (I still do as it happens!). Monopoly and Game of Life were my favourites, and the mother always made sure that when the game was over (or when one or all of us got bored with it), I tidied up all the pieces and put everything safely away for the next time.
As geocachers, we can’t play without spending a lot of time outside and close to nature. We also take in our surroundings more than the average Joe, as we look intently for geocaches. We’re excellently placed to spot and pick up litter as we go.
In the countryside, litter doesn’t have a friend. It doesn’t have anybody who’s saying, ‘wait a minute, this is really starting to get out of control.’
~ Bill Bryson
For me, it just makes sense to take care of the place where I play the game I love. Since I’ve started geocaching, I am considerably more aware of how crappy people can be, throwing their rubbish on the ground; an act which somehow seems worse when it’s in a beautiful forest or along a tranquil trail.
I’m happy to say that practicing CITO is another great thing that geocaching has taught me. I didn’t actively throw litter on the ground in my pre-geocaching days, but I also never felt the urge to pick up someone else’s litter.
While I may not always have time to organise or even attend an official CITO event, it’s nice to know that I can play my part to keep our game board clean, even if it’s only a small part. Every little bit helps, as they say.
Do you practice CITO whenever you’re out geocaching? Will you earn a souvenir for attending a CITO event this week? Let me know in the comments!
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