More than half the school-age kids in these two-earner families
spend NO time in the backyards and most parents only enter the backyard
to perform chores, like taking out the
trash. Swimming pools go unused. People say their "schedules are
insane" and they don’t have time to use their gardens. But they’ve
gotta eat, right? One parent says "It seems so easy to serve a meal
outside yet opportunities slip away as schedules get tighter."
And the person who avoids the backyard because it looks like work?
Clearly not a reader of gardenblogs. I agree with Rick Anderson that
if that attitude is normal, I’ll pass on normalcy, thanks. Also
Christopher’s distaste for exercising in sterile gyms – hear, hear.
Like rats in mazes, going nowhere, accomplishing nothing except the
perfection of the body.
But let’s look closer at the UCLA study. First, only 32 families
were studied, and they earn between $59,000 and $500,000 per year,
which the researchers say is enough money to "shape their indoor and
outdoor spaces". Well, that’s quite a spread, maybe too much of one
for purposes of this study. No doubt families earning half a million
annually can afford nicely "shaped" outdoor spaces, but supporting a
family in LA on $59K/year? Not so much. Granted, working couples with
school-age children ARE busy, so maybe they don’t eat outdoors because
they never sit down to a meal as a family – indoors or out. And it’s LA, so they’re probably eating in the car.
But it’s hard to argue with the good UCLA researcher on this point:
"I wish people would think deeply about how we work hard to buy a lot
of stuff we don’t need and then spend time maintaining it and we don’t
take advantage of simple things like just taking a few minutes to relax
in the backyard."