He's boldly going outside

  Dear HCN,

I love optimists, I really do. I'm one myself. I'm especially fond of the quintessential pie-in-the-sky optimists like Dyan Zaslowsky, who recommends just saying "no" to whatever hot spot is being loved to death in your neighborhood (HCN, 9/16/96). Sometimes it's hard to tell whether someone is starry-eyed, or just loves the sound of their own high-minded voice. I'm happy to give the writer the benefit of the doubt.

Let's assume, just for fun, that everyone who cares about Elk Meadow or Rocky Mountain National Park or my own town of Moab, Utah, decides to give them a sabbatical. What do you think would happen? Peaceful bliss? I see the spot zooming to the top of the charts (with a bullet!) in the 8,000 or so industrial-recreation magazines that sell the outdoor experience.

For everyone Zen-ing out at home, 20 will rise to take his/her place and be damn grateful for the opportunity to fight over a camping spot or bed-and-breakfast reservation. We enviros have done so well that the forces of darkness we set out to defeat (evil corporate America) have come full circle, infiltrated and are killing the troops from within. Doubt it? Some "environmental" groups could give big business lessons, particularly in raising the most sacred green of all. (Check that mountain of catalogs in your mailbox for the coming $mas season.)

The only real hope is for the outdoor-adventure fad/trend to experience a paradigm shift. I'm rooting for the gen-Xers to convince the bleating mass that espresso shops are the venue for personal statements in the coming millennium. If the gear-and-gadget folks can come up with enough necessary accessories for personal vegetation, we're saved. Maybe the net can virtually preserve what's left of the real world by saving folks the trouble of being in it.

Staying out of places you love as a gesture of preservation in this consuming society seems to me just a little to the far side of futile. After all is bought or beaten down, the "environment" will still be there, patient as an old raven and stronger in the long run than everything we can throw at or into it. We'll be long gone by the final reckoning. So if it's all the same to you, Dyan, I reckon I'm gonna get mine and just keep quiet about it, while there's still a chance.

Steve Russell

Moab, Utah

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