I've been following Nicholas Kristof's series of opinion pieces on nature deficit disorder at the New York Times.
His first article addresses the general problem of Nature Deficit Disorder in children. We've discussed this issue before on the blog but I do wonder if one of our great failings in the environmental education movement has been an inability to articulate the 'why' aspect of preservation.
One problem may be that the American environmental movement has focused so much on preserving nature that it has neglected to do enough to preserve a constituency for nature. It’s important not only to save forests, but also to promote camping, hiking, bouldering and white-water rafting so that people care about saving those forests.
His second article takes a deeper look at what we as adults can do to 'recharge' our soul through experiences with nature. To Mr. Kristof, this involves backpacking and he gives a 10 point how-to guide:
1. Follow Robert Frost and take the path less traveled by, for that makes all the difference. In the evening, camp where no one else is around. You don’t need a campground: just stop anywhere that is flat. Indeed, the ground in the woods and fields is much softer than the packed dirt of campgrounds. But when you leave in the morning, make sure that you leave no trace.
Backpacking is also my favorite outdoor activity; I just spent a week rafting the Green River and certainly have that 'soul' recharging feeling he is referring to. What types of outdoor activities do you participate in for a nature recharge?