This terrific article, Roger on Running: Running for the Environment, from Runner’s World perfectly encapsulates my thinking about how runners tend to have an intimate connection with the natural environment, and this is why we generally tend to be more supportive of environmentalism. Indeed, if running can be said to be our “religion”, our favorite forest is like our “church”. According to the article:
In the original story of Pheidippides, the big moment comes when the running messenger meets Pan, the goat-footed Nature god, who asks him to tell the city people of Greece that they have been negligent in their worship. So it was a runner who made contact between wild nature and human civilisation, a runner who reminded humans of their responsibilities toward the natural environment. I want to celebrate some 21st century running events that do the same.
It isn’t just the beauty, and quiet of the forest that draws us in. We relish fresh air, and no one needs this more than endurance athletes. This is why deforestation pains us so; trees are natural air purifiers, taking in CO2 and releasing oxygen, besides providing food and shelter for animals.
To me, running through a forest is one of the best ways to commune with and experience nature. The sound and feel of the wind, the sweet music of a stream, birds chirping, animals scurrying off as you run by, and last but not least, the pungent aroma of life and decay in the forest. And let’s not forget the thousands upon thousands of hues of green, brown, yellow, red, purple, and everything in between! Nothing beats running through the woods, nothing is more invigorating, even when I get lost.
To lose it all to greed is a disgrace. It isn’t just runners or hikers who benefit from forests and the natural world. Air pollution is said to kill about 7 million people a year around the world(it’s too bad no one records how many animals it kills). Rapid industrial development, overpopulation, destruction of forests, and above all, over-dependence on automobiles are the main causes of outdoor air pollution.
Realizing that one of the main drivers of deforestation is agriculture, especially for growing animal feed to produce meat is one of the main reasons I went vegan. A vegan diet uses land and resources much more efficiently – How your diet could change the world.
I don’t know about you, but I feel reborn after a day in the wilderness. If you are interested in doing more for the environment: Ways Runners Can Be More Green and Protect the Environment