One thing that everyone who spends time outdoors learns is to “take only pictures, and leave only footprints”. This is to help keep the planet in good shape, and to ensure that there is plenty there for everyone else to also enjoy.
While this is something that can, and should, be observed every day, Earth Day was first started in 1970 as a dedicated day to support the environment and a way to help make the Earth a healthier planet. As a part of this many people take on a task, planting trees and flowers, picking up trash, even just spending time appreciating the natural beauty that is the world around us. Since its beginning, it has become a time when people around the globe not only work to improve the planet, but also appreciate the beauty of the Earth around them.
One easy way to be mindful of the environment and how to keep it healthy is to pay attention to your interactions with the environment. How would nature look if everyone took pieces of it with them every time they went somewhere? There wouldn’t be much to enjoy. This is why digital images are a better choice of souvenir.
Photography provides a lasting image of a particular moment in time. This means that having a photograph of a place that brings pleasant memories, or even just a place that is pleasing to look at can provide a lasting piece of art that can transport you to another time and place in your mind.
Maybe it’s a favorite vacation spot, maybe it‘s a place that you’ve always wanted to visit, maybe it’s just an image of a place that brings you peace and joy to see. Any of these are good reasons to have that image in your home, or even your office. Think of that place you like to go to be outside, that favored beach or mountain vacation. Now think of that same place full of trash because no one cleaned up after themselves. No one wants to remember it that way, everyone wants the sand white, the water clear, the flowers bright.
An unintended, yet positive side effect of having images that show the beauty of the Earth, is the desire to keep those places in that same pristine condition, not just on Earth Day, but every day. The beauty seen in images doesn’t keep itself perfect, it needs help from the people that enjoy those locations. The beach wouldn’t look the same if everyone left their trash. The same is true of the woods, mountains, parks, even city streets.
Just as people don’t want an image of garbage in their homes, people don’t want to see garbage when they go places. The outdoor environment that is breathtaking in photographs will not stay that way if it is not cared for. One small task is all it takes to work on making Earth a better and more beautiful place. Pick up that piece of trash, walk the extra feet to the trash can, plant a flower or a tree, and take pictures as your souvenirs.
This Earth Day consider doing something you don’t usually do. Take the time to get involved if you aren’t usually. If you are, then bring a friend, plant an extra tree, bag some extra trash. Next time you go to the park, or out into nature, check for trash that isn’t yours. Take an extra trash bag so you can take the extra few seconds without making an excuse.
Until colonization of other planets is figured out, we only have this one, so let’s work together to keep it the best that it can be.
In honor of Earth Day, Masters at Art is offering 30% off "Awakening," a piece we feel captures the beauty of the season.