National Parks and Recreation Month: Combating Nature Deficit Disorder

national parks and recreationThis July marks the 30th annual National Parks and Recreation Month. These government-based organizations offer outdoor activities including golf, fishing, swimming, skateboarding, and biking. They partner with valuable outdoor, conservationist, and educational organizations. They develop and maintain local parks and trails with free access to the community. Our Parks and Rec departments are an important part of our local communities and serve millions of visitors every year.   Not only do they encourage us to get outdoors, they also ensure we have free, easily accessible places for our favorite open-air activities!

As our daily schedules become increasingly busy and our entertainment choices continue to draw us inside, human beings are spending less time in their outdoor environment and are at risk of losing touch with the outdoors, nature, and wildlife. Today’s youth spends less time in the outside air than any preceding generation. national parks and recreation - nature deficit disorderDecreasing nature-based activities leads to the development of Nature Deficit Disorder, a concept first introduced in 2005 by Richard Louv in his best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods. This is not a medical issue per se. Rather it describes humans’ increasingly lacking relationship with the environment and results from too little time spent outside. Many people facing Nature Deficit Disorder are not aware of the problem. Parks and Rec departments play an important role in combating these issues. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to educate community members and facilitate outdoor fun – our time outside is key to building empathy for the environment and protecting our planet.

The National Recreation and Park Association conducted a national survey entitled “OUT is IN.” The purpose was to gauge American adults’ opinions and behaviors concerning outdoor time. The survey included 1,005 adults nationally and the findings are surprising. For example, 3 of ten adults admit to not spending time outdoors on a daily basis. Supporting Parks and Rec and spending time in their resources can combat these issues. As the summer months come along, do your part to overcome Nature Deficit Disorder – get outside and encourage your friends and family to do

To learn more about the OUT is IN survey, see their infographic below.

national parks and recreation - are you getting enough outdoor time?

Resources:

National Parks and Recreation Association

Education.com

Children and Nature

Patagonia’s Worn-Wear Campaign “If it’s broke – fix it!”

by Heather Kallevig

Patagonia's Worn-Wear CampaignImagine a simpler world, not so long ago, when everyone was capable of wielding a needle and thread. A tear was repaired, shoes were “gooed”, and consumers sought products that were built to last. Today, we see a slightly different culture. Modern society is a consumer driven, materialistic world, in which a clothing company’s main goal is to encourage shoppers to buy. Clothes go out of style, fall apart, or lose their owner’s interest. For a company dependent on a steady stream of sales, these are desirables.

What if, however, we saw yet another shift, using our modern technology and innovation to build better products, market longer-lasting, livable styles, and encouraged consumers to develop a healthy relationship with their “stuff?”

Patagonia's Worn-Wear CampaignThis spring, Patagonia is taking a momentous step in making this clothing possibility a future reality. Patagonia, a company known for their commitment to social responsibility, has introduced a pioneering approach to marketing using conscious capitalism. Rather than encouraging people to buy more goods, they are advocating effective use, regular repair, and bonding relationships with our high quality goods.   This is the start of a clothing movement. They’re calling it the Spring 2015 Worn-Wear Tour, and it rests on the back of a wood-repaired biodiesel truck. Their mission states:

“Out to change our relationship with stuff, this spring Patagonia’s biodiesel repair wagon will travel coast to coast repairing clothing for free, teaching folks how to fix things themselves and selling used Patagonia® clothing. Bring us your tired, well-loved clothing for repair. If you don’t have any, we’ll supply it. Fix it and you can keep it. Join us for local food and drink, and celebrate the stories we wear.”

Patagonia proposes a commendable mission, to change our relationship with clothes. Moving from a culture where we own innumerable items that are expendable, to one where we possess a simpler closet of well-loved goods.

To join the movement, visit Patagonia’s website and watch their “Worn-Wear Stories.” All see their summer schedule and consider getting involved. Finally, consider a few steps you can take in your own life and use your purchasing power to enhance the movement.

Step 1: Purchase quality

Patagonia's Worn-Wear CampaignAvoid goods that are cheap and likely to fall apart after a few wears. Instead of buying four $10 shirts with a short life, save your money for one $40 shirt that will last years.  It may cost more in the long-run, but you’ll have the chance to wear that shirt and develop a relationship with your clothes rather than throwing it out.  Think of your favorite shoes when you were a kid – didn’t you wear them through the soles?

Step 2: Limit your number of outfits

Patagonia's Worn-Wear Campaign - Live SimplyWhile the many different clothes combos on Pinterest are cute and fun, it does not mean you need each of them in your closet. Pick your favorite clothes, items that are versatile with a few fun favorites thrown in.

Step 3: Choose activities that don’t include shopping

Even if you don’t plan on buying, time spent in stores or malls inevitably leads to acquiring new stuff. Rather than spending your time at stores or the mall, get outdoors and make some memories.  Outdoor activities not only encourage us to step away from consumerism, they also encourage a healthier lifestyle based on sustainability and minimalism.  So get out and discover!

Patagonia's Worn-Wear Campaign

To learn more about Patagonia’s Worn-Wear Campaign, check out this link or share your stories at Patagonia’s Worn-Wear Stories

Drones are the Next Step in Conservation

by Heather Kallevig

Drones are the Next Step in Conservation

In their early phase, drones had the ominous reputation of militant tool. Today, these devices are finding uses all over the globe, and many of them are useful. I was very interested when I read this article by Suzie Boss about the use of drones for conservation. Many countries, particularly  are using them to protect species whose existence on this planet is at risk. In India they’re using it to protect tigers from poachers, in Belize they’re tracking illegal fisherman, and in the rainforest they’re monitoring plant health. The use of drones for conservation is endless. To learn more, check out this article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review. It’ll make you cheer for drones!

Taking Flight for Conservation

by Suzie Boss