Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Earth version 1.0 is more important than ever


Two kinds of people inhabit the United States: people who know the nation needs more federally designated wilderness and people who don't know—yet.

Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson knows, and that's why he's championed the creation of a Boulder-White Clouds wilderness area for more than a decade.

Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus knows. That's why he's called on the president to use his power under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make the area a national monument.

Yet, their advocacy hasn't carried the day on an issue that's languished in the partisan ponds of Washington, D.C., politics. That's where ideologues stop visionaries and purists block pragmatists these days. The impossible politics have left federally owned wilderness lands in Idaho only partly protected.

The clock is ticking, and not only for Simpson who won't be in Congress forever. It's ticking down on a human population in danger of forgetting that it needs spaces free from the hand of man for its own physical and mental health.

The ubiquity of electronic devices today makes it difficult for people to get off their backsides and into a pair of hiking shoes for an encounter with Earth version 1.0. This version has no electrical outlets, no glowing screens, no Facebook, no YouTube and no texting, sexting, tweeting, MP3 playing or gaming.

With Earth 1.0, minds don't operate on overload. They float, observe, wander and rest while human muscle and bone do the work. Stress drops away like paint peeling from an overheated wall.

Researcher Ruth Atchley of the University of Kansas recently released a study that showed that people from all walks of life from age 18 to over 60 who spent as little as a long weekend in nature improved on standardized measures of creative intelligence by up to 50 percent. Atchley and fellow researchers compared the performance of backpackers before they hit the trail and after and discovered the huge difference.

Yet, telling highly wired people that they would perform better if they lost the headphones, the computer, the tablet, the music player and the smart phone for a while is like telling a heroin addict that he or she needs to switch to aspirin.

Instead of lectures, people need wilderness experiences. And we need them soon, before we forget we need them at all.

Protecting wilderness requires more than lines on a map. It requires giving new generations contact with Earth 1.0—the 3-D Milky Way, crashing creeks, high, ridged walls and sturdy creatures of the Boulder and White Clouds mountains—as intimate as their contact with their computer keyboards and touch screens.

The research is in. We must protect wilderness so that wilderness can protect us from ourselves.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.