Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sometimes the biggest news is the most obvious

As video games replace outdoor activity,
interest in nature could decline
WASHINGTON: As people spend more time communing with their televisions and computers, the impact is not just on their health, researchers say. Less time spent outdoors means less contact with nature and, eventually, less interest in conservation and parks.

Camping, fishing and per capita visits to parks are all declining in a shift away from nature-based recreation, researchers report in Monday's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more here.

10 comments:

DJ Tanner said...

These reports never concern me. There are plenty of people on the hiking trails and ski runs I frequent. I'd like to see a lot less of them. The more playing Wii the better.

cshort said...

Maybe the rest of us should go out more often to get the numbers up. It's practically our civic duty.

Let's start a circle of boss-calling to get support for the idea.

AndyW said...

I hear the next-generation Wii will feature a face-shot generator for the powder skiing game. Unfortunately, it will also come with a surprisingly-thick branch generator for the tree skiing.

Zen said...

As one who has long been involved with litter issues in our communities, these stories do concern me. It is clear that the ongoing degredation of our public spaces is directly linked to the disconnect that has developed between people and the land.

Cyber Doug Bruce said...

I've created my own sim-city with privately funded virtual parks - complete with cyber trails and CG duck-filled ponds. It's much more entertaining and cost effective than real nature. I'll post the hyperlink to my on-line Cyber-TOPs referendum.

Teleken said...

Stay home, play Wii, eat crap food and get sick. The only hike they do is our insurance rates.

Andy, it should also have an out of control skier/boarder who runs over your skis generator.

Zen said...
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Zen said...

Except people forget that our national forests, wilderness areas, even monuments and national parks are NOT guaranteed protection in perpetuity. Even the Wilderness Act can be repealed.

If the American people disconnect from the enchantment of the land, if it becomes a distant thought of no consequence, if it becomes little more than a public commodity that could be sold off to the highest bidder in exchange for a bigger tax rebate funding another shopping spree in the electronics department at Wal-Mart, we very well could lose these lands.

John Muir understood this logic when he founded the Sierra Club in 1892. He understood that if the people did not know the land, they would not be compelled to act to protect the land.

Don't think it cannot happen. For more than 20 years in this nation, there has been a growing effort within segments of the GOP to privatize our national forests. Former presidential candidate Bob Dole publically supported a total sell off of the national forests. So does the editorial staff of the very newspaper that hosts this blog.

IMO the only thing keeping that from happening is people who see more value in preservation than in the profit selling these lands off will bring.

This should be a clarion call for all outdoor movements to get people, and especially children back out on the trails, the lakes, the rivers and introduce them to the priceless beauty and grandeur, restorative and healing qualities of these grand open lands. These are things that trump any dollar amount.

But only if the people KNOW they exist.

(sermon over) :0)

Erik said...

ZEN,

If they were sold to private conservation groups, such as the Sierra Club, these lands could be better managed. They may eve get aggressive at removing pests (beetles) and thinning out some of these overcrowded forests to prevent large and devastating forest fires like the Hayman fire.

Perhaps even sensible rules like allowing a firebreak to be bulldozed in order to stop a fire. You may recall that the Gov refused an offer by a private citizen to bulldoze, for free, a firebreak of the hayman fire before it had gotten out of control.

Zen said...

Ya because the Sierra Club has so much money to buy these lands. I'm sure they could outbid Georgia Pacific and Weyerhauser.

Privatization, fragmentation and isolation are not the answer. Community coming together is. I for one still believe in the dream.

As for the Hayman, well I hear all kinds of flashpoint & what-if arguments, Erik. Truth is the whole Hayman event was much more complicated than most think. A bulldozed line would not have stopped that fire - that guy's idea was an idea of desperation & not reason.

Neither for that matter would a thinned forest, which though a good idea in practice, is no guarantee. The fury of the grass fires in ID, OK and TX of recent years prove that.

In 95 degree heat, single digit humidities and 60 mile an hour winds, nothing short of a land raked to the bare earth would have stopped it. You must remember that trees at that time were recording the lowest bark and needle humidities ever recorded in that forest.

Have you been back out to the Hayman burn area? It's beautiful.