Week #1

For lovers of nature and justice

Since the creation of the National Parks, the outdoor world has been accessible only to able, white, cishet males. Yet nature doesn’t discriminate, so we must take to the trails! Each week I will have 3 stories for you about this outdoor revolution and the people who are leading it. 

Yosemite Finally Reckons with Its Discriminatory Past

Summary:

Jake Bullinger explains in Outside Magazine how Yosemite National Park, and many other National Parks, were founded off the backs of Native people and their land. John Muir is quoted saying the Native population in Yosemite was “most ugly, and some of them altogether hideous.”Finally this summer, after years of fighting, the park granted the Southern Sierra Miwuks rights to access and use their land.

Notes:

It may have been more prudent to have asked a Native person write on this topic, but Bullinger highlighted this issue to the best of his ability. 

Unlikely Hikers Hit the Trail

Summary:

The New York Times’ Alyson Krueger tells the story of Jenny Bruso, who started the Instagram page Unlikely Hikers after she realized that she was out of place on the trail.  Bruso is plus-sized and queer, and she found that the people she was surrounded by in the outdoors were mainly white, straight, able-bodied, and skinny. Ambreen Tariq’s Instagram page Brown People Camping is another example of the movement to break down the typical idea of what an outdoors-person can be. Although reports in past years show that the majority of visitors to National Parks are white, this number is slowly becoming more balanced as people of color are encouraged to join.

Notes:

To learn and hear more from people like Bruso and Tariq, listen to She Explores podcast.

Improving Children’s Access to Nature Starts with Addressing Inequality

Summary:

Anna Leach of the Guardian breaks down the deeply rooted issues in the UK that cause certain children to experience the outdoors and others not. She explains that although technology is a large cause of this issue, it is also driven by racism. Leach interviews several people who highlight the effects that nature can have on children who have never before been in the woods.

Notes:

This topic is also applicable in the U.S., as children, especially in the inner city, lack the resources to get into nature. Additionally, the writer does not touch on the long term effects of nature deficit, which may include mental health issues, lack of knowledge about the environment, and more.