This was published about a year ago but it recently popped up again in my social media and I thought I'd share.
- More than mere jargon, stoke has become an ethos, claiming the best life is one lived with unbridled enthusiasm and the uncomplicated pursuit of experience. For those of us who identify with modern outdoor recreation culture, stoke has increasingly begun to mediate our relationship with the natural world.
- In the face of the daunting planetary environmental challenges ahead, can stoke really save us? I suspect the answer is a hollow no.
- By developing what sociologists call place attachment — a sense of identity and dependence on local landscapes and the ways they enrich our lives — we can move beyond the myopic view of the natural world as a playground, and towards something more sustainable and morally defensible.
I've been working in a backcountry education position for the past couple of summers, and this type of thing pops up frequently in my conversations with my peers. We are driven by stoke but also by place-attachment. In our jobs, we constantly preach "conservation, recreation, education!", but does it work? Does the crazy stoke-driven shit that we pull in our free time overpower our place-attachment? I really want to believe that our tiny seasonal staff has convinced at least some of the thousands of visitors that pass though our facilities to see conservation and recreation from this place-attachment lens, but I worry that stoke continues to overpower. Scary thoughts for a scary future.