The Impacts of Rock Climbing on Climate Change: A Comparative Study on Carbon Emissions and the Ethics of Nature Based Recreation

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Savage, Reuben
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
This thesis seeks to provide data on carbon emissions for the various disciplines of rock climbing (bouldering, sport climbing, trad climbing) and discuss the ethical implications that participation poses under the lens of utilitarian ethics. Climate change is the focus of much political and economic debate, and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment is often the center of attention. This research provides more data on how individuals’ enjoyment of rock climbing might potentially hurt the environment and what that means for those who spend their time outdoors. This study calculates carbon emissions related to climbing gear based on the life cycle assessment of raw materials used in their production, as well as those emitted by travel to a climbing destination in a standard passenger vehicle.