Survival ethics |

Survival ethics

Wolf Uberbacher
Vail, CO, Colorado

With summer just around the corner, lots of folks will be heading into the outdoors.

The beautiful valley is certainly a great gateway to many different wilderness areas. We can be very grateful to live in such a unique place with all the beauty of nature at our fingertips.

My admiration goes to the folks who take good care of our public land by protecting it and being good stewards.

On another note, may I voice a concern? In the past couple of years, I’ve seen some changes in the behavior of certain outdoorsmen. It is disturbing to see an increase of abuse on our public lands. Here are just a few things I’ve witnessed:

Illegal trail blazing, offroading, camping too close to water, polluting streams, cutting switchbacks while hiking, smoking during fire bans, disturbing animals (particularly during calving season), illegal structures and people living illegally in the national forest.

According to my analysis, all of this may be related in some shape or form to the TV survival shows.

The TV survivalists are shown in different survival situations. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with it if it is shown in an environmentally sound and constructive manner.

But quite often, the survival shows are portrayed in an insensitive way to Mother Nature. At the least, these shows are rather comical and amusing. At worst, it may be a wrong message to the audience.

In their pursuit of making these shows popular and exciting, the producers often forget about preserving nature.

Rather than showing love and respect for our wilds, they are portraying it in an overdone and destructive manner that includes snaring and killing animals, cutting live trees for shelter and intruding and altering sensitive habitats.

Viewing these shows on TV, the average outdoorsman may get the wrong idea that it is OK and cool to go out in the wilderness, get lost, live off the land, abuse it and play havoc with Mother Nature.

Anybody who does not respect and understand the basic laws of nature and doesn’t play by the rules should have no business setting foot into the wilderness in the first place.

If you are ever in a real survival situation (with no TV support crew), you have to be very self-sufficient.

On the subject of survival, the average survivalist usually possesses the basic tools and know-how and uses whatever is available. Preservation of the environment may not be a priority.

On the other hand, a great survivalist goes a step further. He does not need or have any elaborate equipment – he uses only what he needs.

He is always mentally and physically prepared for anything and, above all, uses common sense.

He leaves no trace of impact, protects rather than destroys the environment and leaves it a better place than he found it.

He truly respects and preserves as much as he can. He lives in harmony with nature and becomes part of it. He is positive and kind to himself and others and does not panic even under the most dire circumstances.

The survival or emergency becomes an opportunity rather than a mishap. For instance, instead of being lost, he is just temporarily misplaced.

He will not only survive well but certainly will reach a higher level of consciousness from that experience.

May we all be good stewards for this beautiful land.

Wolf Uberbacher


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