Oliver Pergams, visiting research assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Patricia Zaradic, director of the Red Rock Institute in Pennsylvania, made headlines in early 2008 with a study showing that a steady decline in nature recreation since the late 1980s correlated strongly with a rise in playing video games, surfing the Internet and watching movies -- an unhealthy trend they called "videophilia."
Now Pergams and Zaradic, along with Peter Kareiva, chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, have found that only people who engage in vigorous outdoor sports, like hiking and backpacking, tend later to become supporters of mainline conservation groups, while those who only go sightseeing or fishing do not. Their findings are reported Oct. 7 in PLoS ONE, an online publication of the Public Library of Science.
The researchers found that the amount of time one spent hiking or backpacking in nature correlated with a willingness, 11 to 12 years later, to financially support any of four representative conservation organizations: the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club or Environmental Defense. The typical backpacker gave $200 to $300 per year, after the dozen-year lag.
"For the first time, we've shown a direct correlation between outdoor recreation and investment in conservation, and we know what types of outdoor activity are most likely to lead to conservation investment," Zaradic said.
Surprisingly, the more time one spent fishing or sightseeing in natural areas, the less likely that person was to support these particular conservation causes.
"Apparently not all outdoor recreation is equal in terms of who is going to be an investor in conservation," Zaradic said.
The researchers conclude that there are effectively "two Americas" when it comes to nature exposure and support for conservation. Environmental groups depend on a very narrow base of support from elite, active outdoor enthusiasts -- a group that is predominantly white, college-educated, higher income, and over 35.
"There's a much broader market -- more diverse and urban -- that can be tapped by conservation organizations," Zaradic said. "Those groups haven't been spoken to in a way that attracts them."
Pergams agrees the finding is a wake-up call to environmental groups that their base is shrinking, as giving can be predicted to fall during the next decade with the decline in hiking and backpacking since their popularity peaked from 1998 to 2000.
Also boding ill for the conservation groups is an economic study Pergams published in 2004 that showed that support for conservation depends on the broader economy and can be predicted by GDP and personal income. Pergams is concerned that the current economic crisis will add to the conservationists' woes caused by declines in hiking over the past dozen years.
"It's a 'perfect storm' of lower personal and corporate income resulting in less conservation support, compounded by effects from the past decline in hiking and backpacking," he said. "It's tough times ahead."
Pergams says the key to conservation awareness and support is to reach children early with broad-based educational programs that introduce them to vigorous outdoor recreation.
"If you never get out into nature, you're not going to care about it when you get older," Pergams said. "The kids are where it's at, and we're losing our kids to other influences -- they don't go outside."
Paul Francuch | EurekAlert!
WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology