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?
No, this isn’t yet another story about my poo-obsessed brother. I have a rotten, nasty cold.
Despite the recent claims of Cold Ease, Zicam and other cold-ameliorating medicines, my cold is not less severe or lengthy. I…Feel…Like…Crap.
I dutifully got my flu shot. But what I really needed was a cold shot. No such thing. Stupid scientists.
So this is just a friendly reminder to protect yourself, along with the tips you’ve heard before:
- Avoid people (like me) who are sick. It’s not just because you’ll get sick too. We are really cranky.
- If you are sick, stay the heck home. No one wants to see you. You’re probably cranky.
- Do not share: dishes, towels, silverware, telephones, pencils, cars, subway cars, busses, airplanes…Well, do what you can with this one.
- If you work in an office, use alcohol. No, don’t drink it. (At least before 5 p.m.) Use some cotton puffs and clean your phone, keyboard and other shared work surfaces regularly, particularly if someone else comes near it. I used to do this twice a day in the bacteria- and virus-infested ad agency where I used to work before retreating to my sterile home office. Some of this had to do with some of the creative department staff. (Another story.)
- Manage stress, which lowers your immunity and may make you more susceptible to illness. Maybe you should drink that alcohol earlier than 5 p.m. after all.
- Boost your natural immunity with regular exercise and a healthy diet. I did it and it didn’t work for me, but hey, it might work for you.
- Forget what the germ doom-and-gloom-scientists say about super-bugs developing immunity and use that miracle hand sanitizer about 50 times a day. After all, we’re talking about a COLD here.
- Go ahead and take those immunity-boosting vitamin concoctions that you pour in water and that taste like, well, crap. It can’t hurt.
So, I’ve done my public service hours for the month. Live long (and cold-free) and prosper.