Which will be more valuable for the child?
Which will be more valuable for the world?
In the years after World War II, Americans packed up their young families and Army surplus camping gear and headed into the national forests to hunt, fish, and hike. Going to the woods was part of what it meant to be an American. Today, however, visits to the national forests are off 13 percent.
James Johnston, a policy analyst with Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics in Eugene, spent the last year camping out in 67 national forests and talking to 400 people. He concluded that while fewer people may be using the woods, fewer trails and campgrounds are open and there are more people riding noisy off-road vehicles. “They think that it’s harder to find solitude,” he said of the people he talked to.
Coupled with the decline in visits to national parks, the trend makes nature lovers nervous at a time when the growing global population and climate change pose huge threats to wild places. “We only value what we know and what we love,” said Richard Louv, author of “The Last Child in the Woods.”
Although their surveys don’t address the question, they attribute the decline primarily to the older and more urbanized population, and increasing popularity of electronic entertainment and to rising gas prices.
To a large extent, I credit my parents for my love of nature. They weren’t the outdoorsy types–we didn’t go fishing, hunting, or backpacking–but they had me in cub scouts and boy scouts, they sent me to church camp in the mountains (Christikon, in the heart of the Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness), we went on occasional camping trips with family friends, and we took drives through Yellowstone National Park, even if we never got very far off the road. None of these took a whole lot of effort on their part, but these things gave me a lasting appreciation of the value of nature.
Grace and Peace
Half-Life Counterstrike cover from Wikipedia: Personal computer game
Subalpine fir picture from Wikipedia: Abies lasiocarpa