With the U.S. economy experiencing its worst downturn since the Great Depression, these will go down as dark days in American history. But, argues Nicholas Kristof in an NYT op-ed this week, there is one thing we can feel good about: nature.
Our national parks and forests don't contribute in GDP, but their value is immeasurable. But they need our help, now more than ever. Why?
For starters, they're under threat. Republicans have proposed opening more than 50 million acres of federal lands to logging, grazing and other uses. Meanwhile, public lands are being used less and less, so the political will to protect them dwindling.
"The wilderness trims our bravado and puts us in our place," writes Kristof. "Particularly in traumatic times like these, nature challenges us, revitalizes us, humbles us, exhilarates us and restores our souls. It reminds us that we are part of a larger universe, stewards rather than masters of our world. That’s the lesson you learn as you snuggle exhausted in your sleeping bag and fall asleep outside to the magical sight of owls flitting against shooting stars."
Read the whole piece here.
Photo: The Upper Terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Wikimedia Commons)