First off, let me define what I mean by environmentalist: a person who cares about the environment enough to take measures to protect it, a person who believes that outdoor reflection influences development, someone who actively and openly appreciates what nature gives us, these are all environmentalists. I’m interested in these people.
1) We’ve got to have the same religion (and you can have more than one)
Nature is my religion. My spirituality is rooted thousands of feet above sea level. I speak for the trees, and I work my hardest to protect the landscapes I grew up in. If a dude doesn’t appreciate the efforts I go to in order to educate others about the importance of environmentalism and keeping nature natural, I’m not sure I’d be willing to invest.
2) How can he truly care about me if he doesn’t know my soul?
My soul is composed of the sounds of a windstorm in a forest, cascading waterfalls, singing birds, ocean waves, the deafening silence of snowfall, and the unrivaled early-morning awakening of life after a good night’s sleep under the stars. I belong to Wilderness, and I put nature first. If a guy isn’t familiar with these aspects of life, he doesn’t know my soul.
3) Backpacking is a spiritual activity, not a physical activity
If a man isn’t an environmentalist, I’m not sure that he’ll get the full experience of backpacking through true Wilderness. I’m constantly backpacking (for work and for play) and I don’t believe that someone can get much satisfaction without being able to appreciate the landscape around them. Once you learn to read the windblown branches of trees, to listen to the end-of-season dwindling trickles of a creek, to translate the mixed songs of the native wildlife, and realize that every footstep you take is leaving a trace, then you begin to understand.
4) Who do you want to be on a mountaintop with?
When I climb mountains, I want to be with someone who appreciates the enormity of it all, knows or is genuinely interested in the geologic processes which made that mountain, and wants to stay for awhile to recharge and reflect. There’s a certain calmness that overtakes you when you’re on a cliff or a peak. If that overwhelming calmness doesn’t make his soul sing, then we aren’t listening to the same song.
5) Disrupting nature isn’t cool
If you’re reading this, the odds are high that you respect the outdoors. I’m not sure I need to explain this any further.
6) I NEED SILENCE!
I cannot be with someone who doesn’t let me hike through a forest in silence. I won’t tolerate someone who overlooks intricately woven ecosystems. In order to fully absorb the healing energies of nature, I’ll need someone who’s able to let me do so in silence. Ultimately, the guy who will win my heart needs to respect nature just as much as he respects me.