Is Social Media Damaging Nature?

If you spend a lot of time outdoors and in nature, you should be aware of the Leave No Trace 7 Principles. These principles are a guideline for helping to promote the enjoyment and sustainability of our outdoor spaces. But more recently, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has come up with some new guidelines for our modern age as a response to an ever growing social media culture.

Is Social Media Damaging Nature?

Social media plays a huge role in the places that we visit. It is a wonderful tool for inspiring new generations of adventurers, as more and more people want to visit the locations they see in their social media feeds. But the dramatic rise in footfall in some areas is having devastating consequences to the natural environments, so the LNT centre created these new guidelines for sharing your adventures online:

Tag Thoughtfully

Avoid geotagging your specific position and instead, tag the general location. Whilst it might seem insignificant, tagging can have serious repercussions, such as greatly increased ground erosion. Not tagging a specific location encourages others to explore the whole area and open there eyes to more possibilities than just travelling to a location to recreate a single image.

Be Mindful Of What Your Images Portray

Whether it’s stepping over “no entry” signs to get the best view or setting up camp next to a mountain lake, there are so many examples of bad outdoor practice on social media. And the biggest problem with this is that many of the people that see these images don’t know that what they are doing is wrong. I recently photographed an elopement in one of the most Instagrammed locations in Austria and it really upset me how many tourists didn’t give a second thought to walking through people’s private gardens in order to take pictures. And with every image that is posted online, more and more people come there and do the exact same thing, stepping past the Private Property signs because they see everyone else doing it.

Give Back To Places You Love

Invest your own time and energy into the outdoor spaces and places you care about. Find out how you can support national parks and conservation projects.

Encourage & Inspire Leave No Trace In Social Media Posts

Educate yourself on the LNT principles and spread the word about them when you post on social media. Encourage others to do the same.

Author: Cat Ekkelboom-White

Cat is the editor of We Are The Wanderers as well as a photographer for Wild Connections Photography and mentor at the Adventure Wedding Academy.

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