Port Renfrew in the fog is a mysterious place.

The Outdoors Guy: Joie de Vivre

Sooke's outdoor specialists reminds us to stay active and mentally healthy this winter

There is a danger in becoming a character in a story called “joie de vivre” or “joy of life” and the danger of following distraction can lead to becoming someone else. The distractions in life isn’t your fault, we have been inundated with the pressure to succeed by empirical data culled from the importance placed on our GDP. The gross domestic product is the primary indicator used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It counts things like the quality of lock for our doors and the jails for the people that break them, it counts the destruction of the redwood trees, the loss of our natural wonder and chaotic sprawl.

Botanical Beach is quiet this time of year and lies 1.5 hours west of Sooke in Port Renfrew and is home to the Northern Pygmy Owl, both the Downy and the Pileated Woodpeckers among other birds. There are a variety of signs to tell you more about the different types of wildlife in this area. The 2.5 KM Botanical loop only takes as long as you want it to; the dogs and I took about two hours because hey, we’re on dogtime.

Speaking of time, back in ’68 Robert Kennedy delivered a speech about the GDP and the importance of prioritizing one’s life. The Gross National Product (GDP) represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period to measure the success of a countries economy. Unfortunately such commercialism flies in the face of a more holistic human development concept that has happiness and wellbeing at its core.

Hoping there is no tectonic shift as the dogs and I cruise through some of the trails. The environmental youth team of the Pacheedaht and the T’Souke first nations carved out the trail’s through the Sitka Spruce and the Western Red Cedar. If you have been up to Tofino and Uckelit you can expect to see a lot of the same rugged west coast coastline. The water Churns in rhythmic chaos while the giant waves roll onto the shores of Botanical beach. Expect to get wet, this area receives about 13 feet of precipitation a year.

During the sixty-sixth session of the UN General Assembly a panel discussion on the theme of happiness and well-being took place and a resolution was created recognizing that the gross domestic product indicator by nature was not designed to and does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people in a country. Conscious that unsustainable patterns of production and consumption can impede sustainable development, and recognizing the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and well-being of all peoples.

Robert Kennedy, said that GDP is a misplaced metric and suggested that the emphasis of our success should be by measured the joy of kids at play, our wisdom, our passion our devotion to the people we love and our empathy to which creates a more vital and happy everyday life.

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