According to the Nature Conservancy, fewer Americans are spending time in outdoor activities, which could have a serious impact on our environment.
This was one of the stories on the NBC evening news last night.
The Nature Conservancy conducted research that revealed Americans are spending more time with indoor activities, such as the Internet, electronic games and movies and less time at outdoor activities such as camping, fishing and hiking. In fact, the percentage of the American population enjoying the outdoors is at an all-time low.
Although I haven’t seen the research, my own observations of how people spend their leisure time tells me this is probably true.
The reason this is worrisome is that with fewer people spending less time at nature-based activities, nature will become unappreciated and unexplored. If we learn everything we know about nature from the television, our first-hand understanding and appreciation of the importance of clean air and healthy soil and forests and abundance wildlife is diminished.
It’s interesting, too, that participation in outdoor activities is down at the same time there are record numbers of people who are overweight and obese.
I wonder how many of us consider visiting a local nature park, hiking or going to the seashore among the weekend entertainment options of movies and eating out? I know the last time I suggested a hike to Calvert Cliffs State Park to a friend-who-shall-not-be-named I was met with the “you must be mad” expression. We went to an Indian restaurant instead.
So what do we do to reverse this trend? How can we as individuals encourage outdoor activities, particularly those that respect the environment and encourage conservation efforts?