Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

November 12, 2007

Top 5 Socially Responsible Hobbies

I find myself using that phrase more and more. Socially responsible. For me, most things that I find to be “socially responsible” also fit into the category of moral or christian values. Just a couple of years ago, I sincerely thought that living socially responsibly had nothing to do with being a christian, but now I see that we are in fact called (yes, by God) to live as responsible people on this earth. (We’ll eventually write a blog showing some scriptures along these lines.)

So when I say “socially responsible hobbies,” they shouldn’t conflict with the teachings of Christ. And when I talk of using little energy, riding a bike to work, or recycling as ways to live “socially responsible,” those things are also justified by things that I find in scriptures. Ok, now that the explanation of the title is over, I can start the actual blog.

Oops, one more explanation to the title…this blog is totally not a top 5. I didn’t even try to think of 5 hobbies that make the list, but I do have one. And I have another few (golf, scuba diving, snow skiing, and karate, to name a few) that probably wouldn’t make my cut, mostly because of the exorbitant costs those hobbies demand. So here’s one that, in my opinion, has to be in the top five socially responsible hobbies.

Backpacking. (Disclaimer: we just went backpacking, so there may be some bias here. Sorry.) I’m not talking about car camping, where you park, walk ten feet and set up a tent and make a fire, and go back to your ginormous SUV and turn it on to warm your lazy self up if you get chilly. :) I’m talking the kind where you carry a 30-70 lb pack (depending on how light you are and how far you’ll be out), walk several miles (a full day can get you about 10-15 miles if you’re in decent shape), set up camp, then continue hiking (even if back to the car) the next day. Here are the reasons I feel it deserves a “socially responsible” award:

  • Inexpensive. Backpacking requires an initial investment of a tent, sleeping bag, mat, backpack, flashlight, some cookware, and most of us already have warm clothes for winter, and that’s about it. No entry fees, airfares (as long as we try and hike locally), memberships, or training costs. The only thing you have to buy for each trip is food, which we have to have anyway! Ask a friend how much they spend on their golfing or scuba diving habit…it can be outlandish. I also know someone who spent over $5,000 on dance lessons/events in one year. eek!
  • Exposure to the beauty of God’s creation. Not so much directly a socially responsible reason, but it does bring us close to the wonder and majesty of the universe, and causes one to respect it more.
  • Teaches how to live simply. Being out in the wild with just the basic needs for survival (food, water, and shelter) teaches us that we don’t have to have that steak dinner at Chili’s to live…that we won’t die if we turn off our heaters and bundle up…and that pretty much everything our society tells us is “necessary” for survival just isn’t so. We could all live on so much less, and until all our neighbors have enough to survive, Christ calls us to live simply and share our excess with those folks.
  • Exercise. Ok, that’s not so much a socially responsible reason, but it’s a good one nonetheless.
  • The motto: “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” Backpacking does very little damage to the earth (if you obey the rules), and is a place where you’ll find many others who care about respecting the globe.

Ok, that’s all I can think of for now. I’ll ask Amanda to post the pictures of our trip this weekend. For now, let me know if you have other ideas about the topic of socially responsible hobbies.



  1. Dan,

    Good thoughts. A nice thing about this vein is that families with young children or people with disabilities can modify backpacking and still meet the same goals. We have a beautiful city park with nature trails behind our house. It takes no equipment, and the kids are happy “exploring” in the middle of the city, for free (well, except for the tax money that sustains the park…). This doesn’t quite expose us to “less,” but it does cut down on waste.

    If you look back at the early Christian Tradition, one doesn’t find a great preoccupation with conservation, but the earth was also not nearly so raped then as it is now. Certainly, we’re called to treat the earth kindly, responsibly. The thing is, that if most people would even do some little things, it would make a big difference. Just something as simple as recycling, changing light bulbs to energy efficient ones, taking shorter showers, planting indigent flora to avoid excess water waste on golf course lawns, etc…. it wouldn’t take extreme measures by anyone if all would just adjust on the easier things.


    Comment by kevinburt — November 13, 2007 @ 5:21 pm | Reply

  2. Absolutely, Kev. I found a neat little article about things that are both voluntarily simple and ecologically sustainable…pointing out that not everything in those two categories overlap.


    She mentions some of the same idea, indigent flora, turning lights off, etc.

    Comment by Daniel and Amanda — November 13, 2007 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  3. cool stuff, Daniel and Amanda. I have you subscribed in my google reader, so I don’t come over to comment much, but I am reading. After camping last weekend, I have the bug myself. Choosing to take a tent and a sleeping bag instead of finding a hotel is another way of utilizing your hiking and camping gear and not contributing to the disposable culture. Of course, I parked right by my campsite and it got down to about 24 degrees, so I ended up getting my lazy bum back in my car (though it is a cheap pontiac sunbird rather than the mentioned SUV.)

    Keep up the excellent posting!


    Comment by Bryan — November 14, 2007 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  4. I like the ideas and the new layout of the blog. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Dawn — November 15, 2007 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

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