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16.4.05

Nature Entertainment

Katherine Wroth points to the Today show's list of 50 things to do before you die. She points out that 15 of them are nature-related:

watch whales migrate; go whitewater rafting; see wild game on an African safari; dive the Great Barrier Reef; travel the Nile in Egypt; swim with the dolphins; helicopter over a Hawaiian volcano; feed sharks; ride a mule down the Grand Canyon; gaze upon a magnificent waterfall; walk the Inca trail at Machu Picchu; explore the Alaskan wilderness; dive in a submarine; scale a famous peak; explore a rainforest.


What struck me about this list is that they're all entertainment experiences. Nature appears on this list solely as the object of aesthetic appreciation. That's not necessarily unique to nature, as most of the list is entertainment-based -- a bias that is perhaps understandable, given that such experiences are easier to come by (many can be simply purchased) and much easier to put on TV. But where's the nature equivalent of an accomplishment like "write a song or poem for someone you love" or "volunteer overseas" or "say a special thank-you"? Something like "learn organic gardening" might not have the same romantic cachet as the things on Today's list, but it would make you feel good rather than just entertained.

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