Almost 75 years after some far-seeing citizens mobilized to save Missouri’s long-ravaged outdoors, another group has mobilized to make sure Missouri’s outdoors in another 75 years is not concrete, bad air, and contaminated water.
The Outdoors Summit organized by the Missouri Conservation Federation has drawn educators, conservation group representatives, some government officials, and outdoors-minded private citizens. They’ve come up with a plan to guide conservation work for the next 75 years.
Federation Executive Director Dave Murphy says the basic issue that has to be addressed is the relevance of the outdoors to future generations. He points to a new survey that shows only 30 minutes a week are spent outdoors by the average young person in the United States.
So a key question is what the out of doors has to do with the quality of life for a person who is never outdoors. He says a Yale University professor had athe ansower—that there is an "absolute internal connection with every person and the outdoors." That means, he says, that our quality life and our health–physical as well as mental health–and spiritual lives are dependent on having a first-hand relationship witht he outdoors.
One of the speakers forecast, however, that there will be a growing engagement by people with the outdoors as more and more people move from cities to rurals areas so they can be more connected with nature. He sys that will probvide a better undestanding and appreciation of the outdoors.
Murphy says that observation underscores the idea that the quality of life that today’s outdoors provides will not continue at this level unless serious actions are taking. He hopes the summit’s 10-point priority list sets things in motion.
The top ten priorities:
1. Teaching Missourians about the outdoors
2. Ensuring clean, abundant surface and groundwater
3. Connecting families and communities to nature
4. Supporting and funding outdoor resources and activities
5. Conserving plants, animals and habitats
6. Acquiring public lands for outdoor uses
7. Helping private landowners
8. Ensuring clean air
9. Developing an organizational structure for outdoor leadership
10. Promoting stakeholder input
(Bob Priddy’s full interview with Dave Murphy is attached to this story.)