Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
We’ve been sayin’ it for years: Get the kids outside, and you’ll solve a multitude of world problems, from obesity to a foundering environment to egotistical jerks. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof agrees in his blog on the Times website:
My Sunday column argues that young people suffer from “nature deficit disorder,” and that environmentalism needs to be focused not only on preserving nature but also on getting people into it. If we’re divorced from nature, then there’s simply no constituency for it.
I also profoundly believe that a dose of nature is the best way to gain some perspective. You can think you’re God’s gift to the world, but you’ll still end up getting blisters on a hike if you’re not careful, or falling out of your raft in the rapids. Nature is very good at bringing us back to Earth.
In his broader column, Kristof relates lessons learned while backpacking around Mt. Hood with his daughter: sleeping under stars is great until it starts to rain, most kids should get rained on more, and they would do well to learn what happens when they lick a banana slug.
For parents eager to get their kids outside but unsure of how to start, Kristof even offers this sage wisdom:
My own advice: ultralight backpacking beats all, and www.backpacker.com is a good site to get some basic info.
Sounds like a brilliant man to us.