There’s been a buzz
Around this idea of there being a lack of diversity in the outdoors. This absence of variety in outdoor spaces has made appearances on my social media feeds, a popular podcast I listen to, and of course, in print.
The outdoors—Where is this, and how do I get there? As I see it, the outdoors exists outside of a space made up of four walls and a ceiling. However, I believe we’ve adopted a new definition as to what it means to be outdoors.
A new and unnecessary definition. A unique and ever-changing description based upon ideas formed by viewing a commercially driven machine created by consumers. Now we’ve allowed such entities to define being outdoors along with what it looks like to be outdoors.
If you walk your dog
Around your local park, have you achieved the marker of having been outdoors? Maybe it’s when you find the local, by name trail and complete it that you’ve been outdoors? Are we outdoors once we leave our homes via bicycle for a nice ride, or is that being outside?
It’s a disappointing premise, having to decide the boundaries of being considered to be outdoors. Nonetheless, it’s the task at hand. This idea that there’s a lack of diversity in the outdoors should lead to many questions. Questions like how, who, when, examples, and most importantly, proof!
One argument to be made. That argument is in stating the truth! If you believe that there’s a lack of diversity in the outdoors, direct said disdain at how the outdoors is advertised by industry leaders and small businesses alike—however, no issues here with attempting to make an honest dollar. Capitalism is not the problem.
Defining the outdoors
By standards of e-commerce and box store advertising is the problem. We’re allowing a case to be made for lack of diversity against a victim of no voice. Meanwhile, the outdoors is patiently awaiting a court-appointed lawyer, and here we are, standing around pointing the finger at anyone but ourselves.
No one thinks to step up for the outdoors against this media-produced hyperbole. The outdoors is, has, and will always be for everyone. That will never change.
The real issue
No one speaks up. To be associated with those who don’t welcome others is a death sentence—constantly evading the broad brush of social non-conformance accompanied by a forehead branding in the overused bold script annotating your failure to adapt to the current times.
Honestly, I can’t blame them, the companies, that is. They can either endorse and proceed forth amicably as not to create an enemy. Or, they can decline and see if they can weather the ensuing storm of signs, endless emails, and an overflow of DM’s. Even if you make it through the storm, are you strong enough to build back better? There’s much at play here.
Let us remember
The outdoors has NOTHING to do with any of this! Enjoy this gift, the outdoors, in all of its beauty. Adventure, explore, recreate, and always leave it better than you found it.