Fewer folks are regularly getting out in nature, study says —

Fewer folks are regularly getting out in nature, study says

Grist Magazine, February 5, 2008

 

Kids -- and adults -- these days are "videophiliacs" who prefer their nature through the TV screen rather than personally experienced, says a new study estimating that U.S. folks' participation in outdoor recreation has dropped as much as 25 percent over the past 20 years.
 
Researchers looked at four metrics: visitation to public lands, number of fishing and hunting licenses issued, time spent camping, and time spent backpacking and hiking. Only day hiking has increased since the mid-1980s, and just slightly. "We were surprised by the results, and in some sense, quite frightened," says Patricia Zaradic, coauthor of the research, which was funded by the Nature Conservancy and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
The trend bodes ill for human health, and ain't good news for the planet either: warns coauthor Oliver Pergams, "We don't see how future generations, with less exploration of nature, will be as interested in conservation as past generations."

sources:  Houston Chronicle, Associated Press, Reuters, ScienceDaily
see also, in Grist:  A chat about Congress' efforts to restore environmental education funds
see also, in Grist:  A review of Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods, and an interview with the author
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