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NATIONAL PARKS WILL BE OUR POST-PANDEMIC PANACEA
BY AUDREY PETERMAN

In the era of this pandemic, I pray continuously for people and our planet, for the purification and healing of all. I know that each one of us is experiencing it differently, but no doubt all are somewhat destabilized by the wholly unexpected turn life has taken.



 

Having devoted a quarter of a century to reminding people of the beauty and diversity of nature - and in particular our national parks and the world class opportunities they offer for re-creation and learning - I'm creating a mental picture of how I want the post-pandemic world to be. I plan to feed it with all my energy, returning to it often and filling in details:

 

In the post-pandemic world, our National Parks will become a panacea for all that ails us. Millions of people who've been quarantined for months will yearn to discover all outside our front door, beyond our city limits. We will long for the freedom of wide open spaces, of beauty that captures our imagination and takes us to the realms of heaven. All the dreams and plans we've put off for some nebulous future will snap into focus, and we'll want to experience things now. The future has been shown to be a very uncertain place that we cannot take for granted.

 

BP - Before Pandemic, the benefits of our taxpayer supported natural jewels has skewed heavily toward the white population. AP - After Pandemic, the human need will overwhelm the barriers of race and class as all seek out rejuvenation at its most basic level - in nature. I had the opportunity to meet E.O. Wilson, the eminent biologist and scholar who articulated the theory of 'biophilia.' It says that human beings need nature not just for play but to be biologically ok, because our species developed in nature. Having been involuntarily confined, the primal instinct for freedom and nature will be unleashed.

 

How exciting it will be for Black and Brown Americans to know that they have an ample supply, an overabundance of qualified people who share their cultural as well as national background, to lead them into the Great American Outdoors!

 

At our Diverse Environmental Leaders ( www.delnsb.com ) website we offer the services of expert tour guides, mountaineers; underwater explorers; birders; hikers, and a plethora of other specialists ready to lead the exodus into our 630 million acres of publicly-owned lands. Multiple other organizations such as Outdoor Afro, Latino Outdoors and plethora of others are equipped and ready.

 

What will our wake-up call look like 50 years from now, when today we cannot breathe the same air nor recognize each other behind our masks?

 

For the sake of the quarantined children, I invite you to join me in visualizing and working towards an AP world of greater caring and equity, beginning with the equal sharing and protection of our national treasures in the parks and public lands system.

 

For more information visit www.legacyontheland.com or email Peterman at audrey@legacyontheland.com .

 

Audrey Peterman’s new book, From My Jamaican Gully to the World,

Shares her love for nature and her journey through America’s spectacular public lands

Available at LULU.com and Amazon.com .

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