Frank Wolf
Credit: Frank Wolf

I like clean air. I like clean water. I also need to spend at least an hour or two every day immersed in these elements. Paddling down a river, running across a creek, cycling through a puddle or skiing down a slope while inhaling glorious lung-fulls of tree-filtered oxygen makes me feel truly alive. Anyone who regularly spends time recreating in the outdoors would agree.

Clean air and clean water are not only fantastic for adventuring, but they’re also the most essential life-sustaining ingredients on this planet. Without these, we have nothing. There’s no price you can put on them. If you can’t breathe and you can’t drink water—you’re done.

As people who love adventuring in the outdoors, we’re all accidental environmentalists. Because of what we love to do, we’ve put ourselves on the front-lines of preserving the wilderness areas that provide the clean air and clean water for the entire planet.

It would be great if we could leave wilderness alone for its own sake. But the generally anthropocentric view our species has of this planet means we need to use it in some way. Thankfully, the simple act of passionate participation in activities that require wild open spaces also helps to protect them.

Intact wilderness areas filter and provide clean air and water, so our demand to recreate in these areas helps everyone, whether the couch potatoes of the world realize it or not. And I’m not criticizing couch potatoes—in fact, I welcome them. Come join us! The more of us that get out there and enjoy the wild, the more power we have to protect.

Outdoor retailers that you support with your hard-earned money realize this too—and many wield their power on your behalf. A great example of this is the recent boycott of the giant Outdoor Retailer convention in Utah by outdoor gear powerhouses Arc’teryx and Patagonia in response to that state’s attempt to repeal the recent creation of the Bears Ears National Monument.

So get out there everyday—bike, hike, ski, climb and paddle your heart out. One day you may be a revolutionary environmental advocate—but until then keep following your passion, support ethical outdoor retailers and enjoy the fresh air and water.


Frank Wolf's journey to becoming an "accidental environmentalist:"

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