Some Ideas To Help Our Public Lands
This year has seen some very unfortunate behavior in our shared public lands. Human waste left in campsites and trails, increased litter and, sadly, extreme vandalism. A recent news article highlighted the "unprecedented graffiti" taking place in Zion National Park, and particularly the Narrows section.
I've been thinking a lot lately about what is taking place with public lands, not just in regards to the issues of litter, leaving poop all over and extreme vandalism, but also the attack on them by large corporations and, sadly, our own government. Speaking with a Forest Service ranger a few weeks ago, he made an interesting statement: "They aren't yours, they are ours." This hit me pretty hard and as something profound. They aren't mine, they are ours. This statement, I feel, adds to the gravity of the responsibility we all have for their protection and preservation long term. If they are treated well and respected, we all prosper and enjoy them. If they are hurt, we are all collectively hurt. As my spirit guide Edward Abbey once wrote: "Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”
I stand firm that outdoor popularity is far outpacing awareness, but sadly it feels that things are taking a turn to more and more self-centeredness and total disregard for the Natural World. Social Media, for as much good as it can be, sadly has contributed to this notion of self-centeredness and disregard for nature, wildlife and fellow humans. Stewardship and outdoor ethics should not be a political issue - we all live here and play a part in their preservation. What more, these are shared and sacred places that we should all feel accountable to protecting and preserving.