A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTALISM V

This same ambiguity obtains even as we move further toward a respect for Nature for its own sake. A leading environmental motivation is that Nature provides a wonderful place for human recreation. Lakes are for fishing, boating and water skiing. Rivers are for rafting. Bays are for jet skiing. Forests are for hiking, camping and biking. Mountains are for skiing. Coastal dunes are for dune-buggy-ing. Wilderness is for inspiration. Some of these activities are certainly a step in the right direction in that they recognize that Nature offers something inherently beneficial for humanity apart from what we can extract from her bounty. Nature experienced as left to itself—as wilderness—is understood as contributing to human flourishing. However, many of these activities are destructive of the environment itself and of the beneficial ambiance Nature provides. Others render the participant oblivious to that ambiance, while destroying it for others. That recreation that takes Nature itself as its inspiration is perhaps the closest we can come to achieving a balance between respecting Nature for its own sake while still approaching it in terms of its usefulness.

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