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How And Why Instagram Crowd Is Ruining Nature

According to Wikipedia ‘Instagram is a mobile, desktop, and Internet-based photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly or privately.’ As of September 2017, it has reached a new milestone of about 800 million active monthly users.

Developed by Facebook in 2010, it quickly reached the ladder of success. It offered the most unique concept of its time, a Facebook of photos. Saying goodbye to long statuses, it offered a rich insight into the visual aspects of human nature.

People loved the idea. It made them expressive. Frankly speaking, how hard is it to take a picture? Just take a camera, insert a caption and whoosh!

Instagram worked like dominos effect. Slow and steady, more people got connected with it. People who saw the pictures, naturally got fascinated by their content.

Let’s Talk About Nature

Mother Earth is awesome in all its regards. There’s so much we don’t about her and it holds a database of fathomless secrets inside her. Oceans, seas, plateaus, deserts, mountains — there’s so much we don’t know about.

One of the reason, the world became a more stolid ‘global village’ is through Instagram. All of us can agree that news media can be a little biased. But, social media is independent in all limits. Even if your media is portraying something bad about another country, you now have social media at your disposal to explain to you the real deal.

This is the age of information technology and everyone has a smartphone these days. It is easier to sit inside your American toilet and scroll your news feed with pictures of the Hunza Valley from Pakistan, Machu Pichu from Peru and beautiful Bali from Indonesia.

However, this has created a problem.

Too Much Exposure = Too Much Visitors

If one looks from a broader perspective, this is really not a big deal. At least, not as big as a country cares. I mean come on! People coming from all over the world, increase in your domestic revenue, acceptance of global culture, everyone happy.

Sadly, this is not the case. People are careless in general. When they see a beautiful aspect of nature, they cherish it, sub-consciously marring the beauty of it, till they realize it’s too late and then articles of this sort are published on the web to create awareness among the general public.

The following examples will help understand how Instagram is ruining nature.

1. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a beautiful island, located inside Indonesia in South East Asia. People from all over the world travel the wonderful place in search of versatile culture and natural scenery of mountains, forests and beeches.

In 2016, the tourist visits were up by 18.59%, higher than the targeted estimate of 4.4 million. Nusa dua, Tanah lot and Kuta are by far the most important places inside Bali.

The disturbance of ecosystem is directly related to imbalance of human nature. More humans mean more waste, more consumption of oxygen and more debris. Then again, five fingers are not equal. Illiterate people simply don’t care about their surroundings and throw waste on beaches.

The locals, initially were very happy with the visit of customers. More exotic people in their indigenous island meant more business of their commodity. But ultimately, when the same tourists were observed throwing garbage and were not careful enough, concerned citizens felt overwhelming stressful.

There is also another side of story. With a greater tourist influx, the ratio of supply and demand got imbalanced. Not all tourists are equally rich. Tourists complained about local shops trying to rip them off, in order to compensate for economic crisis.

2. Hunza Valley, Pakistan
Naran-Kaghan and Hunza valley have been underrated, till they have been discovered by the fanatics of Instagram.

Situated in Pakistan — the country many people used to fear flying towards, is now becoming more and more tourist friendly due to recently discovered heaps of natural beauty.

Babusar Top, Altit, Baltit fort, Skardu, Fairy Meadows — the list goes on and on. Initially, it was just a local attraction. With time, it became a national hotspot and now, it is slowly turning to be a victim of globalization.

The roads to such places are through mountains. Congested roads often become a victim of land sliding. If there’s a work in progress, traffic is halted and one can say the long line of cars for about 4 hours.

The local Hunzakuts, when interviewed report about the mess the outsiders spread in their community. Hunzakuts are known for their keeping of cleaner ambience. When tourists are seen throwing garbage near rivers, lakes and anywhere else on garbage cans, they politely go up to them and say to them

Don’t make our Hunza unclean

3. The Horseshoe Bend
The Grand Canyon! Now go 7 miles upstream from Grand Canyon and witness a bendy place known as ‘The Horseshoe Bend. The place portrays a river, gracefully cutting a piece of sturdy, hard rock inside the middle. The cut is majestic in a sense that one can see about 180 degree bend along some places, yet the place fits perfectly in the frame of an average smartphone.

The not so best part is that there’s a large crowd around you, who wants to capture the same exact shot.

Checking up on the stats of 5 years before, The Horseshoe Bend only saw about a thousand visitors per year. But now, over 4000 people a day come to see the natural beauty, take selfies. This produces traffic strain. It is a sheer headache to find a sound parking space.

The administration is taking notice of this and has started the construction of a shady parking space, along with signs of safety for all tourists. The only concern is that the original beauty which led so many to this place, will gradually fade away due to rapid influx of visitors.

Instagram and Basic Human Psychology

Instagram is a source of emotions. It is a stimuli of human psychology. If person A has lots of money, human psychology of person B wants the same thing. It’s like our environment has an effect on us. Social media is an environment — a platform through which people express themselves. You just scroll your newsfeed and see your friend at a random place. Sub-consciously, you will feel the urge to just go over there and have a picture.

Travel photographer, Knepper holds the view that some of the best secrets of earth are getting exposed through Instagram. It is a good thing but Instagram is loving nature to death.

Even if social media fame is not hampering the natural beauty, doesn’t mean it is safe from ‘social media famous.’ A lot of people do hideous things in the name of getting famous over social media. Casey Nocket, a graffiti artist found the wrong kind of fame after portraying graffiti on 7 national parks as part of her art project.

Another lunatic, Trev Lee broke into Yosemite National Park in 2013 — the time when government shut down the park. What he did was built huge campfires on top of famous mountains, knowing that a fire ban was in place by the park. The park administration was compelled to fight the third largest wildfire in California’s history.

All of these people share one trait in common — they all were caught after posting photos of their crimes.

These types of problems aren’t new. The increase of tourists directly led to vandalism, which is why governments from all over the world try to take care of their natural heritage.

Our Two Cents

It is good to travel. It is nice to see new places. But one should always be in their limits. People of this era have the tendency of taking cliched photos to get social media famous. Just because the sign says, no photograph allowed or poop on the sideways, you will always see people doing the same exact thing. Illegal areas of forests, where tent pitching is not allowed often receive a great many number of trespassers, who in their own mind think that this is an adventure of some kind. These are same people we hear about something bad happening to them. Sometimes they are arrested for disrespecting the local culture and sometimes they are the ones who undergo unpleasant encounters with wildlife animals.

What they don’t realize is that all protective measurements are for their own safety. What’s worse is that they’ll post the photo on social media and incite the craving of such torment able acts in the hearts of their audience. As a result, more and more people will start doing stuff like this.

Our two cents are just about three words. “Use your head.” Only sheep go with the flow. Think why are you doing about what you are doing? Do you have any logical arguments to justify your actions? What if your actions are becoming a source of pain for planet earth and indigenous people? When you go towards the way of logic, you become concerned citizens of your community and this helps creating the greater good.
Source 1 || Source 2 || Source 3

Originally published at www.iot-records.com.


How And Why Instagram Crowd Is Ruining Nature was originally published in IoT Records on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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