Outdoor Education - The importance of outdoor environments and the
experiences they offer society: environmental issues
People also expect increasing education and training, higher health
standards, a wider range of government services (including the management
of national parks), safer and better food, sewerage, electricity and
household appliances, and improved forms of transport, travel, information
and communication. However, we are now re-examining the balance between the
standard of living and the quality of the environment. Environmental issues
need to take precedence over wealth creation and raising living standards.
The real challenge of our time is getting the balance.
Land-use issues are often distinguished by their extraordinary complexity,
polarisation of opinion and the diverse and frequently highly technical
matters that must be considered. Accurate and accessible data are often
lacking, debates are frequently unstructured and superficial, and the terms
used, such as conservation, development and sustainability, lack precise,
widely understood meanings. However, what is evident is that we need debate
and discussion before any decision is made about our fragile and shrinking
Most of the advantages of maintaining wilderness relate to direct use of
such areas by individuals - largely for self-reliant recreational use
including solitude, inspiration and challenging activity; and use by
society as a whole - contributing to nature conservation, scientific and
educational, and water resource uses. While many of these values can be
derived from a range of natural areas, many of them are maximised in the
wilderness. In addition, there is value in retaining some areas at a
minimal level of development to maintain the spectrum of environmental
settings from highly developed through to undisturbed. It is also important
to ensure that future generations can enjoy wilderness if they wish.
Wilderness has values arising from its intrinsic worth - therefore areas of
wilderness should be kept for their own sake.
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