People who are “doing it for the Gram” often harm the environment, be it animals, plants, or waters. Most of us get furious when we hear of such cases, but it seems that someone has decided to do something about it, using the Instagram account Public Lands Hate You. An anonymous man has started this account trying to educate people how to behave in nature, and his goal is to make them stop destroying everything around them for the sake of social media likes.
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This post is for our east coast friends who might be feeling left out. Don’t worry! The next wave of vapid behavior is headed your way soon! Pictures of people disrespecting the treasuredcherry trees of the National Mall in Washington DC are already starting to flood in. People climbing the trees, picking flowers, putting their cats in the trees (yeah, wtf?), and all sorts of other craziness. There are literally signs everywhere telling people what not to do, and people choose to do it anyways. I put together this simple set of 10 rules that I think a 5-year old can understand and follow. . 1. Do not walk off the paved or marked trails. 2. Do not walk on the grass. 3. Do not walk on the tree roots. 4. Do not grab the tree branches 5. Do not pick the flowers 6. Do not eat the flowers 7. Do not climb the trees 8. Do not put your cat in the trees 9. Do not put your dog in the trees 10. Do not put your sponsored products in the trees These pictures are just a few of the examples that I’ve been sent so far. Identifies have been obscured to protect the guilty. Except the cat. That cat is guilty AF and I DGAF! Someone find that cat! If you want to climb on a cherry tree, I have a GREAT idea for you. Go to your local nursery. Buy a cherry tree, then dig a hole in your front yard and plant it. Then spend the next 40 years nurturing it, caring for it, and loving it. Then go climb it. Break as many branches as you want! Carve your name into the bark! Tug on those branches for the perfect IG shot! Oh, what? Too lazy to put in the work? Or maybe you put in the work and love that tree too much to chance wrecking it? THEN DON’T DO IT TO TREES THAT AREN’T YOURS! And remember, education is the goal here. I personally do not engage in any kind of hateful or harassing speech and don’t expect any else to either. Don’t call people names. Don’t comment about their IQ. Don’t insult their mother(s). Be nice, educate, and try to have a productive conversation. And if that doesn’t work, there is always Plan B. #cherryblossom #badinfluencer #publiclandshateyou #yourpubliclands #protectyourpubliclands #actionspeaklouderthanwords #cutdownthemoneytree
Aside from the Instagram account, Public Lands Hate You also has a website. The person behind it says that he was “tired of seeing his favorite places on public lands trashed by people who didn’t know any better or just didn’t care.” He noticed the growing trend of sharing “super outdoorsy” photos on Instagram, which has led to lots of people visiting public lands – but treating them without any care or respect.
Recently, Instagram influencers have become the focus of Public Lands Hate You. It happened right after California’s “superbloom” was closed due to a huge number of tourists taking photos in the poppy field. It reminded me of the “zombie apocalypse” at an Ontario sunflower farm. In an interview with Jezebel, the person behind Public Lands Hate You said that there was one particular photo that “pushed him over the edge.”
“But the photo that really kind of got me more on the influencer path, specifically, and sponsored posts, was a girl in the middle of the poppies holding a can of Campbells soup. I’m like: who the f*ck thinks it’s a great to idea to haul up a plastic jar of soup, hold a can out and say, “This is a great hike, you all should buy some Campbells soup”? You’ve got to be out of your mind.”
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What would happen if we all choose to ignore the rules? What if we only stopped at red lights when it was convenient? Cut to the front of the checkout line when we were in rush? What kind of world would we live in? . Unfortunately, we now get to see first hand what it looks like when people choose to ignore signs telling them to stay on the trail. Ignore signs telling them to stay out of fragile ecosystems. Ignore signs telling them to practice leave no trace principles. . It’s sad to look at. It’s sad to see the physical damage that has been caused to this ecosystem in a matter of weeks. But I think it’s even more depressing to think that we share a world with people that think the rules just don’t apply to them. That they are better than everyone else. These people are out there right now, probably ignoring other rules that they think are below them. And although the impact might not be as readily apparent as it has been in our wildflower fields, those actions will have an impact. . . There is NO EXCUSE for this. Absolutely none. I don’t care if you “didn’t see the signs”. Do you go to a foreign country without doing some research and learning a few basic words in the local language? NO! So, if you live in the city, and want to go experience a different environment, do some basic research. Learn the local language, which in this case is the language of Leave No Trace. Seven simple phrases will have you acting like a local in no time. 1.Travel on durable surfaces (n popular places avoid areas where impacts are just beginning) 2. Leave what you find 3. Be considerate of other visitors 4. Dispose of waste properly 5. Respect wildlife 6. Minimize campfire impacts 7. Plan ahead and prepare . Each one of these has bullets has multiple parts, and I encourage everyone read them all at https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles Many of these pictures came directly from people who visited the superbloom. Thank @yiprocheresy, @llap8, @melissak7810, @ponce_70, and @peterbohler. . . #yourmomlied #youarenotspecial . #leavenotrace #walkercanyon #talkthetalk #walkthewalk #educateyourself #education #noexcuse #knowledgeispower #readthesigns #followtherules
It’s not known who the person behind Public Lands Hate You is. All we know is that it’s a 31-year-old man who lives in the Pacific Northwest, as he said in the interview. The man explained why he chooses to stay anonymous. Due to the nature of his account, he has been getting threats from people he’s called out so far. The man adds that these people have mainly been influencers who have lots of sponsors.
Despite the negative reactions from influencers, the main goal of Public Lands Hate You is education. “We want people to be thinking about behaving responsibly before they even leave their house to visit our public lands,” the man explains.
“So the next step is that we encourage people to reach out in person, and on social media, to anyone that they see breaking to rules, and provide them with information about why what they are doing is wrong, the impacts of that behavior, and what they can do next time to be better humans.”
Sadly, many people don’t seem to get the message and they react with threats and accusations. If the educational approach doesn’t help, Public Lands Hate You gets fiercer too, and puts them on the “wall of shame”:
“If we come across people or companies that are blatantly abusing your public lands and continue to be ignorant when the facts are presented to them, we will post them here for the world to see.”
Still, even though we can call this “fighting fire with fire,” Public Lands Hate You adds a disclaimer that it is not in favor of “public stoning.”
To me personally, it seems like a reasonable approach to tell people that what they’re doing is wrong and illegal. Anyone with lots of followers needs to think of the message they’re sending to all those people. And if they react by defending themselves, being rude or threatening… Well, then I think that public shaming is an appropriate next step. What do you think?