The traditional summer camping holiday is a New Zealand institution when we pack up our tents, stretcher beds and Christmas gifts and enjoy or endure whatever the fickle summer weather brings. Many New Zealanders awake from their urban slumber and venture to their traditional river, lake or beach for a “return to the land experience.” The annual summer camping trip is often our first childhood experience of the outdoors, and many family photograph albums throughout the country share similar pictures of catching that first fish, cooking on an open fire, or the family tent that terrible year it snowed!
These experiences define our understanding and knowledge of the New Zealand landscape and our biodiversity. They can also make us reflect on changes that have occurred in those special holiday places that we often guard and share with our family and friends. It may be changes to lake levels, weed invasions, the local water quality, or subdivision that has changed that favourite holiday place inexorably. Instead of packing away those reflections with the tent for next years holiday, perhaps its time we all acted on our environmental reflections. By utilising our experiences of environmental change we could challenge our environmental consciousness for the new year. Ensuring that we can maintain the traditions and treasures that make our lifestyle and landscape unique. Now that would be a great New Years resolution.