by Whet Moser
[F]or the last 20 years Americans have been visiting their national parks less and less. From just 0.2 visits per person per year in the late 1930s, attendance rose to a peak of 1.2 visits per person per year in 1987. Since 1988, it’s dropped steadily, and is now back to the Carter-era level of 0.9.
Harold Henderson writes about a new study co-authored by Oliver Pergams, a conservation and evolutionary biologist at UIC, arguing that people spend less time enjoying nature than they used to. The culprit? The authors suggest the Web has a lot to do with it. I suspect the causes are many, but one thing we're all going to have to wrap our heads around eventually, not just in the context of the environment but in the context of damn near everything, is that the Internet represents an almost infinite expansion of things (no other word for it) competing for our time. As Harold puts it, "it's a zero-sum game 'cause we only get 24 hours a day."
Other local conceptual-environmental stuff you should check out: the first half of Discovering Where We Live: Reimagining Environmentalism focuses on Calvin DeWitt, an environmental studies professor at the University of Wisconsin whose attempt to live sustainably (in Dunn, Wisconsin, just outside Madison) is inspired by his religion.