I tend to think of Americans as pretty outdoorsy. But apparently I’m wrong when you look at the statistics as to which countries are the most outdoorsy. The Scandinavian countries, like Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden win that contest. Now which matter more in this contest? Protecting the environment or actually going out and experiencing nature? Maybe liberals in America would say both, but Republicans might say liberals are hypocrites because they don’t protect the environment.

I don’t think of myself as a truly outdoorsy person because I live in the suburbs and don’t go camping that often, don’t garden, don’t exercise outdoors as much as I could, and don’t go hiking as much as I used to. But I don’t feel too envious of these people because I think a lot of outdoorsy people do not truly care about the environment. I’m not saying I’m the most ecological person out there, but it makes me kind of weary when I see people proclaim to love the outdoors when they’re really just all attitude.

It’s a lot of work to reduce, reuse, recycle. I compost, hang my clothes outside or inside to dry, try to walk to do my errands as much as possible, cook local and vegetarian food, mow with a hand powered mower, don’t buy much, etc…

But a lot of people think I’m outdoorsy because of this eco-friendly attitude. I’m somewhat of an environmental activist, and love, or try to love nature, and am really easygoing about that kind of thing.

I wonder how Americans continue to be stigmatized for polluting the Earth with cars and material possessions and also love nature. Because we have so much nature in this country, it seems that if you’re an American, you must do something that speaks to your love for the outdoors.

When I was hiking in China, in 2001, I couldn’t help but notice, Chinese people hiking in high heels, skirts, and nice clothes! You would never find anyone in America doing that, no matter, how rich they were. Granted, the hiking paths in China were paved, or at least the ones in the park we went to, so maybe it’s a different frame of mind there.

I feel that here in America, it’s our outdoorsy attitude that binds us together, no matter how divided we are. I mean how could you not be even a little outdoorsy with all the national parks we have and environmental activism we have? I mean, look how many people flock to the shore every summer?

It’s funny how extreme the divides are though. People can do the craziest outdoorsy stuff in America and then other people barely do anything. I like to think that in Scandinavian countries, there’s more of a happy medium between being ecological and outdoorsy because maybe they’re far less people to worry about.