Go Play Outside; Nobody Else is

Ansel Adams-Autumn Moon

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." -that's a quote from a fifth-grader in an earlier post and it seems particularly appropriate now. A new study by Oliver Pergams of the University of Illinois-Chicago and Patricia Zaradic of the Environmental Leadership Program finds that park visits and applications to hunt, camp and fish in US National parks have decreased between 18 and 25 percent in the last twenty years.

Ansel Adams- The Tetons and the Snake

The authors were interviewed by the Nature Conservancy, who partially funded the study. They noted that while hiking and backpacking went up a bit, it was really just a very small countertrend, and that in general, people are moving away from nature everywhere. Their research indicates that nature is losing out to computers and video games, and note:

"Other research shows that the time children spend in nature — particularly the activities we looked at in this study — determines their environmental awareness as adults. We recently wrote a review paper looking at this phenomenon as well as at the effects of videophilia on childhood development. These effects are substantial and include obesity, attentional disorders, lack of socialization and poor academic performance." (the authors coined the word videophilia in an earlier report.)

"There seems to be a lot of interest in the green movement, but it doesn't translate to being out in the green," Zaradic said. "That's a problem at a time when many wilderness areas are threatened by urban sprawl, highways, mining, forestry or other developments."

::Nature Conservancy, via ::The Star

See also ::Get Outside and Play