Subaru Promotes No Child Left Inside

I think it says a lot when a car manufacturer features an excerpt of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods in their quarterly owner’s magazine. 

Drive is usually full of interesting articles about going places with our cars and experiencing the country.  They cover maintenance tips and reveal new efforts about the latest cars (of course).  It reveals simple safety tips and draws attention to recalls and ways to save gas.  The writing also emphasizes the things that seem to typify a Subaru driver – using their cars to haul a lot of toys to have fun.  I know that identifies me! 

I find it so thrilling and inspiring that a car company would choose to discuss one of America’s most pressing issues, but one that has very little to do with cars.  In fact, its almost anti-car in the idea that Louv wants us to push our kids outside and away from the video games.  He encourages us to show our kids what is waiting for them in the backyard and in the fields and swamps and rivers and to then let them go and experience it in their own way. 

You could argue that Subaru owners would take the initiative, load up their Outback with kayaks and scuba gear, and take out little Mike and Jessica to the nearest ocean to get that kind of experience.  Or perhaps Subaru is hoping you don’t own that Outback yet and your forays into the natural world will show you just how much you do need space for three Trek frames and the helmets to go along with it (and a genuine Subaru kayak carrier too).  And that might be true.  You could argue Subaru is just jumping on the wagon of being green, organic, fluid, and earth-friendly.  And that could be true too.

But I still think its a revolution in direction and an amazing effort to spread Louv’s message to a wider – and potentially very receptive – audience.  It makes me a little proud to be driving one of their machines. 

Now if they would just commit to producing an alternative fuel Subaru that I can drive in 2012 when I’m sure my little Outback sport will be ready to retire.  I hope that its already in the plans and Subaru is just too modest to announce intentions and would rather demonstrate their commitment with an actual working product.  But I’m starting to worry that they aren’t climbing on board the hybrid or fully alternative bus to the future. 

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