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IMPACT & INFLUENCE . It is both surprising and saddening to see what a difference walking just one mile can make, when it comes to the impact humans have on nature. . There are many beautiful tide pools in California, and most are easy to get to. I remember as a kid, how cool it was to discover sea urchins, sea anemones, sea stars, crabs, ...and if I was lucky, in the deeper tidal channels, maybe even a Garibaldi, (giant orange fish) or a small octopus! . In the last two decades, visitation to my favorite spots increased significantly. I didn’t think much of it, and certainly everyone has a right to visit these public places! But the impact of so many people has become very clear. On one such main beach, where β€œeverybody” goes, the tide pools are now, basically, wet rocks. You can still see a few living things here and there, just enough to amaze those who’ve never seen a tide pool. The truth is, they’re almost completely destroyed. Recently, I decided to explore further. . Indeed, walking just a mile more along the coast, to spots only accessible at low tide, suddenly you see what tide pools are REALLY supposed to look like: they’re teeming with life. Each pool is overflowing with creatures, each rock is almost completely covered in one type or another of seaweed, seagrass, algae, all manner of flora. . It is therefore very clear: human impact is significant. The stark contrast in terrain at my feet was so obvious, it almost made me think I’d wandered into an off-limits area. (Indeed, many areas are designated as β€œmarine conservation areas”, yet are actually still accessible, and very close to private property) . Bottom line: everyone has an impact. You may not have thousands of followers, you might not tag locations, but remember: if you visit a place where a lot of other people also go, your collective impact adds up. So, tread lightly! . If you are an influencer who tags locations, your impact is magnified. Every photo you post, every location you tag, will inspire hundreds or thousands of others to eventually visit that exact spot. So, the least you can do is SET A GOOD EXAMPLE, and remind those who follow to leave as little trace as possible.
"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding on to something. That there is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for." -Samwise . Please pardon my feeble attempt at seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know much about fear or oppression, but I'm learning about others' life experiences. . I am an incredibly fortunate person to be able to spend my free time watching movies I've seen a dozen times, and to travel around the country taking pictures. It seems like such a low bar, to think that not everybody can relax in their daily lives, or travel in their free time. . I don't even take luxurious vacations. I sleep in the dirt in the wilderness, because that's my idea of fun. A pretty modest life. . And yet, I don't even have any real close landscape photography friends who aren't white-ish. I didn't consciously avoid certain people. I'm just anti-social to begin with, as many landscape photographers are, and most of the time all the other landscape photographers I meet are bearded white men. . So, what's YOUR story? What can WE do to help make the future (of the outdoors, photography, and society in general) ..a more diverse and equal place?