4 days ago
Social media is changing the way we experience the outdoors. Oftentimes, not in a good way. We’ve been focused on capturing moments rather than experiencing them, and nature pays the price. There has been an increased desire for responsibility, accountability, and sustainability on this platform, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Especially for those with a large audience, we should be showcasing how to be respectful in the outdoors. This means following the rules/laws, respecting wildlife, leaving no trace, and considering the ethical implications of the photos and stories we share. I’ve learned a lot in my years here on Instagram. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve had a campfire too close to water sources, I’ve camped in an area that I shouldn’t have, I’ve gotten too close to wildlife. I’m sorry for those actions. I’ve made a lot of wrong choices, but thankfully, I’ve been able to grow and learn and realize that I need to do better. Above all else, respecting nature should always be our goal. We should adopt an attitude of humility and seek to learn how we can protect these beautiful places that we love to explore.
I get it, though. I do. I know this platform places pressure on photographers to create new and exciting imagery. I know it’s hard to have your voice heard. I know it can be tempting to behave unethically in the wild, even in a small way, to make a photo that much better. But, I think we need to stop and realize how absurd that really is. A social media platform is not worth harming nature or potentially encouraging others to harm nature or themselves by participating in unsafe behaviour. We need to slow down. We need to detach ourselves from the burden of serving the social media crowds. We need to get back to the heart of why we seek nature. It’s not for the photos. It’s not for the engagement. It’s for the beauty, the peace, the experience.
Yesterday saw a hugely unethical action in the outdoor world. We responded; loudly. Let’s continue to hold each other accountable. Let’s seek to be better at experiencing the outdoors. We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.