June 8, 2020

Over-Shared →

Berating people for trashing natural sites for a selfie might be the wrong approach

For someone like me, whose life has been fundamentally shaped by a fascination with nature and the desire to protect it, reading articles about how social media fuels its desecration is very difficult.

At the same time, I think that Lisa Chase is right to caution against undue anger. In her recent piece for Outside Magazine, she writes:

I sense and share your despair over our current state of affairs. The ill-prepared selfie acquisitors don’t know what we know, what I learned in my twenties when I was a young editor at Outside: stay on the trail, pack out what you packed in, bury poop at least 200 feet from the stream, tread lightly. Nobody taught these newcomers to tread lightly. At their point of entry to the natural world—where they went for the picture that shows they were there—they don’t yet see it for the vulnerable temple it is.

Vulnerable temple” is such a beautiful and apt understatement.

Her point is well taken though. It’s not fair of me to expect others to have the same reverence—or even basic respect—for nature as I do, particularly if their introduction to it has been as little more than the backdrop for a selfie.

Maybe it’s on us to teach them, not berate them.

I don’t know if I can put all my frustration aside, but I appreciate the reminder to temper it with kindness and try to sculpt it into something more productive: the motivation to help others see beauty in the natural world.

I’d love to share glimpses of it as a source of awe and inspiration that has value not simply because it provides us with resources, but because it is valuable in and of itself.

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