Suddenly, every where you go selfie-seeking narcissists are disrespecting, trampling, and Instatrashing our most beautiful places. Every technology comes with costs and benefits. And right now national parks and monuments are paying a very steep price due to the lemming-like obsession with posting selfies to social media.
After a recent wild flower bloom, an LA Times headline captured the problem succinctly: Instagram-hungry crowds are destroying the super bloom.
But you don’t have to read the LA Times to experience Instatrashing. Just visit a beautiful place. Recently, my wife and I hiked for over 100 miles in the Canadian Rockies. We were privileged to share extraordinary trails with other hikers and experience jaw-dropping views of mountains, glaciers, alpine lakes, canyons and abundant wildlife.
We also encountered plenty of Instratrashing.
The woman in the overflow parking lot on the Trans-Canada Highway who sold us tickets for the 6.30 a.m. bus to Moraine Lake told us there’s a surprising number of people who get off the bus, go the to the “selfie-spot,” take their photo, post it to Instagram, and then get right back on the bus.
At Peyto Lake, there were huge crowds, so we walked about a mile down a trail to a beautiful promontory where there were a handful of others quietly enjoying the astonishing beauty of the lake and its glacier…
…until the professional Instatrash photo shoot commenced. The obnoxious photographer wouldn’t stop talking loudly and the model repeated over and over for all to hear: “Make sure you highlight my beautiful eyes.” When the photographer broke to change lenses, she’d start taking selfies with her iPhone. We and the others previously enraptured with the scene couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
A few years ago in Yellowstone, we witnessed a woman chasing an elk with her iPad. Havasu Falls. Mount Marcy. The Wave. Examples abound.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with using Instagram; however, I have a real problem with Instatrashing. There’s a generation of narcisists out there destroying beautiful places for their own gratification.
We all have a role
The whole experience has caused me to reflect on my own behavior. I have decided I will never again post location data or hashtags of really beautiful places, and I’m thinking of taking down some blog posts I have written about lesser know but stunning locations.
I hope you will consider doing the same.