Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Outdoor activities on the decline

Found this fascinating article on the other day: Video games replacing outdoor activity.

The Nature Conservatory funded a study on outdoor activity and found some startling numbers about camping, fishing, hiking and hunting in many countries around the world, not including Canada.

It was discovered - particularly in the US - that outdoor activities are in a sharp decline, most notable camping and fishing. Day hiking was up, but only because the study found many campers had switched to day hiking.

The decline appears to have started sometime in the 80s and 90s - as video games and the internet were rising in popularity and appeal.

The article also mentions that along with a decline in outdoor activities comes a lack of interest in environmental issues, nature conservation and preservation of public land space (something we might already be seeing in California?).

The reason why this is so interesting to me is that in Canada -- in my part of Canada anyway -- outdoor recreation seems to be skyrocketing. Sure, Alberta has had an influx of people over the past few years, but many of them seem to be adopting the outdoor lifestyle that is so popular here, leading to the need for new land use regulations.

I'd be curious to know if the rest of Canada follows this trend we see in Alberta.


zhakee said...

I live in California and I can tell you that the kids and teens I meet are all pretty much glued to electronic games or the television. I live in a rural area, where all sorts of trails and wild places abound, yet so many kids here chose to be sedentary, and these kids have a huge assortment of great places to go. Some do get out and about, but its usually on quads or machines that go fast on the nearby reservoir. Quite sad.

Michelle said...

You know, the more I think about it and the more I look around -- it's still all-adults on the trail. Granted, there are a lot of people in their 20s, but there are hardly any kids. Maybe it's the time of year. I hope so.

I'm not sure what the answers are anymore. Kids clearly need to get up and about more often, but who is going to make them do it?

Daniel B. said...

Wow, I really hope outdoor activity is not on the decline!! I think it is important for people to get outside! Get back to the basics, remember what it's like to not have a roof over your head, or a floor beneath your feet!

Michelle said...

I know, it's a little unnerving. I think there might be a lot to the part where they say people who aren't active in the outdoors start to lose their appreciation for them and begin to not care about conversation.

The outdoors is the best therapy around!