Torin Ozbun — best essay from Lake Pend Oreille High School

Back before the modem civilization that we now consider to be a part of our lives, people identical to us in almost every way lived in the wilds, jungles, and forests. We may not consider that a very appealing life in the modem age. But these people thrived, loved, and lived life to the fullest while being able to fulfill their desires and their ambitions in life without what the modem world considers necessities needed to live a life full of prosperity and contentment.

I believe the wilderness has a lot to teach the modem world, while it may not be anything new, our most valued lessons were learned back in the days of the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Incans, whose very culture derived from the forest itself. Black Foot Indians, Nez Perce, are another great example, they thrived in their age without the great threats they since the Europeans, who were much more advanced. However I don’t believe the lessons we have to learn from the wilderness have anything to do with the technological era that we’re now experiencing.

Most people in this age have forgotten what it means to be able to survive in the wilderness, away from the technology that we now have; there were no cars, no restaurants, or 3 story buildings. How many people that live now could even start a fire without a lighter or a torch?

I’ve done some research on what people would consider our human rights and I’ve even wrote several essays on it and wrote my own speculations on what our human rights are and what they really mean. These are some rights that I quoted which most people would definitely consider as human rights; every women, man, and child were

created with the right to be valued. With this basic right, comes the right to justice, to freedom of expression, to be free from hunger, to learn., to dignity, self-esteem, confidence, a sense of worth, and the right to be loved.

Even animals have the same rights although perhaps expressed a little differently. Wolves have territories that they inhabit, as do tigers, and bears, These animals each have their own rights to their own areas, they have the right to justice, to take aggressive measures towards others intruding on their territory. Freedom of expression; they can be themselves in the area that gives them their own sense of worth. They can be loved by their mate and by their little ones and through them keep their dignity, self esteem and the confidence that they’re fulfilling their life’s purpose.

So what did these rights derive from? Nature, the wilderness, we survived in the wilds until the age came that we were able to get through it, or conquer it in a sense. So what lesson does the wilderness have to teach us? That every man, women, and child were born equally, everybody has the same chance to live their life the way they want to. Back in this era aggression solved competition. Now, intelligence is what we compete with, we attempt to outwit the other.

While we may have adapted to fit our more advanced surroundings, we have not changed our very instinctual habits; we compete with each other. We strive to do our best as an individual, and we try to be the best of the best regardless of what it takes.

These are our innate instincts that we gained from having to survive in the wilderness, while we may not have to any longer, these characteristics are bred into our genes, as such, we can no more be rid of the lessons that the wilderness has taught us than we could be born alive and healthy with no brain in our skulls.

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Sandy Compton has been program coordinator for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness since 2009. He is also a storyteller and author of both fiction and non-fiction books, and the publisher at

In addition to his other duties, he runs the FSPW All Star Trail Team (, which works on Forest Service trails in the Scotchman Peaks. He is a trail surveyor as well, and a C-Certified Crosscut Bucker/Feller and USFS National Saw Policy OHLEC instructor.

Sandy grew up on a small farm/woodlot at the south end of the proposed wilderness and lives there still. He is also board member of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and a planning team member for the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute.

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