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Wilderness Blog

Whither the Wild Child?

Ask any wilderness advocate where it all began for them, and they'll almost certainly recount a childhood memory. There's even scientific evidence for this. Studies in the fields of environmental education, developmental psychology, and sociology have all shown correlations between people's childhood experiences and their level of concern for the environment as adults. In one U.K. study of people in conservation-related fields, 97% of those surveyed said their outdoor experiences as children were the most important factor in shaping their environmental views.

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Does Wilderness Exist? Does It Matter?

I didn't grow up outdoors; I was born and raised in New York City, and though I've lived in Colorado for three years now you might still fairly wonder why I'd be starting this blog on "wilderness." Indeed, a few years ago during an unnerving "conference call" interview for an environmental journalism fellowship, I was attacked on just that basis. "So why does someone from New York care about the environment?" one of the interviewers asked me, in a mildly accusatory tone. I'm still not sure whether he really wondered or if it was just a leading question. But once I got going, I was unable to stop listing reasons, and I think another interviewer finally cut me off. Despite the fact that we may be witnessing "the end of nature" as a force entirely independent of humans, nature still inspires awe. People, wherever they live, instinctively sense that it is to be revered, even as they opt to pollute it and pave it over. Why?

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