"Videophilia" Killing Outdoor Life
As people spend more time communing with their televisions and computers, the impact is not just on their health, researchers say. Less time spent outdoors means less contact with nature and, eventually, less interest in conservation and parks.
Camping, fishing and per capita visits to parks are all declining in a shift away from nature-based recreation, researchers report in Monday’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“
Declining nature participation has crucial implications for current conservation efforts,” wrote co-authors Oliver R. W. Pergams and Patricia A. Zaradic. “We think it probable than any major decline in the value placed on natural areas and experiences will greatly reduce the value people place on biodiversity conservation.”
“The replacement of vigorous outdoor activities by sedentary, indoor videophilia has far-reaching consequences for physical and mental health, especially in children,” Pergams said in a statement. “Videophilia has been shown to be a cause of obesity, lack of socialization, attention disorders and poor academic performance.”
The research was funded by The Nature Conservancy.
By studying visits to national and state park and the issuance of hunting and fishing licenses the researchers documented declines of between 18 percent and 25 percent in various types of outdoor recreation.The decline, found in both the United States and Japan, appears to have begun in the 1980s and 1990s, the period of rapid growth of video games, they said.
UPDATED: Related story - Communing without Nature.
I’m reading The Creationists by Ronald Numbers, which offers perhaps the only definitive history of creationism. Ironically, theologians in Darwin’s day and soon after were quick to embrace an old earth and, in many cases, some form or aggregate of evolutionary theory (which had been around for years before Darwin). They just didn’t like natural selection and common ancestry with apes and monkeys, which were Darwin’s real contributions to the theory.
The literal 6-day, 6000 year-old Creation and present Flood Geology is a recent invention, adovcated by George McCready Price, a Seventh-Day Adventist in the 1920s, and popularized by Duane Gish (fundamentalist-Baptist) and the late Henry Morris (Independent Presbyterian*) in the 1960s. This has coincided not with any “evidence against” evolution or a 4.5 billion-year-old planet, but with the growing pentacostal, fundamentalist, and evangelical movements in America.
As people’s lives become more enveloped in human inventions, as more people have longer commutes between work and home, as television viewing and videogaming takes up more hours, as rural grocery stories disappear**, as fewer children have unsupervised free time and experience a disconnect with nature, is it any wonder that, in this era of the Total Makeover, Americans paradoxically see nature as designed, a “machine” like our clocks and mousetraps, an artificial and passive entity – the same way that television has taught us to regard ourselves?
Is it any wonder that we have completely lost sight that nature is natural, alive, self-replicating, self-organizing, and through us, self-aware?
*“Faith alone, Christ alone, Grace alone, Scriptures alone.”
(**See also "Food Deserts")