Assuming our Nation is indeed experiencing an eco-revolution the question is ‘are we or are we not experiencing a present-day crisis?’
Richard Louv in his book, Last Child in the Woods, reminds us of the fragility of our Nation’s green heritage; and, in fact, Louv attributes public apathy, the lack of being plugged in, to a present-day population who are more in tune to the ‘world web’ than the living green that surrounds them. To test Louv’s theory, I conducted an unofficial survey of my neighboring community’s use of a scenic view, our generational property’s wetland known as Hoehns Lake.
Located in the city of Richmond’s west end, this property is one of few remaining green corridors. In the center is an eight acre lake which combined with surrounding ‘living green’ provides an extensive habitat. Completely wrapped by urban/suburban development, abutting home lots were purchased at premium prices because of their scenic view. Still, as these properties are survey, a startling result is identified: only 31% of abutting properties appear to participate in outdoor recreation, an equal 31% not only severely neglect but are litter with discarded vehicles and trash; and the remaining 38% although not neglected, does not reflect use.Assuming this relatively affluent neighborhood is typical of the population nation-wide, I’d say Louv’s theories are accurate.
Responding to his research, Louv founded the Children and Nature Network, www.cnaturenet.org, a consolidated effort by policy makers, business leaders, researchers, physicians, parents, educators, agencies and other organizations that have a focus of eco-influence on the well-being and health of our Nation’s children. On the other hand, does the public as a whole have an understanding of eco concepts involved in influencing our Nation’s well-being and health? While barely a newspaper, magazine or other form of media can be picked up without seeing the word, green, all are challenged by local TV stations to ‘go green’ and in other forms of media, see ‘green’ advertisement range from food to cosmetics, landscape to building, clothing to home furnishings and am even enticed to host ‘green’ weddings. Still, when visiting the state of Maryland, a difference is noticed – the lack of the use of the word, green. So, are there regional differences?
As a matter of fact, I’d say 'yes'! For, when the state of Maryland's versus my home state of Virginia’s effort to clean up the Bay is compared, my state is by far the loser. Why? The average U.S.A citizen presently has a total ecological footprint of about 25 acres, meaning if everyone consumes similar to the average American, it would require several additional Earths to support modern-day lifestyles. So, the question is if you measured your ecological footprint, would your accountability fall into the category of the 31% who actively use outdoor green space or 31% who chose to litter and neglect or the 38% who appear apathetic? If you, similar to Louv or me, survey your community, would you discover an eco-revolution or a present-day eco crisis?