A Search for the Ways and Means to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Outdoor Programming
View the full, original document: asap-originaldoc-10-30-09
View the full document, Version 2: ASAP 2 0
As Sustainable As Possible: A Working Model to Assess and Improve the Sustainability of Outdoor Education and Recreation
Developed by the Sustainable Backcountry Travel Class, Department of Outdoor Education, Northland College, Fall 2007
Presented at the Wilderness Education Association’s National Conference, San Diego, California, February 14, 2008
By: Hilary Bulger, Paul Sveum, and Paul Van Horn
What does it mean to be sustainable? What does sustainability itself even mean? The terms “sustainable,” “green,” and “organic” have become the cultural phenomenon of today. Once people began to realize the projected idea that taking away from the land more than what could be given back was detrimental not only to the health of the planet, but also affected humankind as well, the revolution began. Ecological consciousness has spread, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to create a more sustainable society. One of the hardest industries to restructure is the outdoor recreation industry. So much of what the outdoor industry represents and supports involves some very unsustainable, anti-“green,” non-organic processes, opposite of the values held by the majority, if not all, of the individuals in the industry.
The process of formulating a cohesive and comprehensive program intended to make people examine their practices in hopes of inspiring change is a grand undertaking, especially when it is centered around a term whose own definition is often up for interpretation: sustainability. We looked to the Natural Step for our working definition of sustainability, or what it means to be sustainable. The Natural Step defines sustainability from an eco-centric point of view; where all species, people included, and the ecosystems they live in have the right to life on Earth.
© Paul Van Horn, 2008